'Legal Validity Of J&K's Accession Unquestionable'

18 September 2008
The Times of India

New Delhi: Attacking 'stray voices' in the media for 'questioning the wisdom of retaining Jammu and Kashmir as a part of India', a group of top retired defence personnel and civil servants on Thursday said that such people were playing into the hands of the nation's enemies. 'Kashmir is an inalienable element of India's civilisational identity and symbolises the fundamental principles on which the modern Indian state has been built,' the group said, adding the legal validity of the state's accession to India was unquestionable and was in accordance with the popular will. Calling upon all political parties to come out unambiguously against secessionism in any form, the group said in a joint statement, 'No responsible government can ever compromise the country's territorial integrity by even contemplating the secession of Kashmir.' 'This is not a trifling issue. If the Indian state is seen as weak enough to let Kashmir go, other states and disaffected groups within India will only get emboldened,' said the statement signed by 20 eminent persons. The group, which issued the statement at a joint press conference, included former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarthy, former IB chief A K Doval, noted journalist M J Akbar, former Union home secretary Anil Baijal, Air Chief Marshal (retd) S P Tyagi, former secretary in foreign ministry Rajiv Sikri, former director-general of NSG Ved Marwah and chairman of Essel Group Subhash Chandra. The statement said India had successfully overcome all secessionist threats faced by it. No responsible government could ever compromise the country's territorial integrity by even contemplating the secession of Kashmir, it added. The group referred to a unanimous Parliament resolution in 1994 to the effect that the 'state of Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means'. The resolution had also stated that 'Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression'. Reminding the media of its responsibility in treating such issues, the group said: 'Freedom of expression does not mean unbridled licence to flout the law of the land by airing or fanning seditious views.' Talking to the media later, Doval demanded a National Data Bank where details of all terrorists’ movement and their modus operandi could be stored.