Beig Says India, Pak Betrayed Kashmir23 March 2011
Srinagar: Asserting that 90 per cent of the people killed in Kashmir over the past twenty years were innocent, senior PDP leader and former deputy chief minister, Muzaffar Hussain Beig, on Wednesday used constitutional arguments to demolish the BJP’s stand on Article 370, and accused New Delhi and Islamabad of playing false with Jammu and Kashmir. In his speech to the state assembly today, Beig said that Kashmir owed its status as an international issue to the Indian move to take it to the United Nations, and said that mistakes had been committed by Kashmiri leaders too which forced some youth to take up arms. Beig said that prior to his accession to the Indian union, Maharaja Hari Singh had made an appeal to India and Pakistan not to disturb the original configuration of the state and to accept its special status. “Pakistan upheld this pledge, but India did not accept it. And later, the pact was violated because of Pakistan,” he said. “What compulsions did the government of India have to take the issue to the United Nations? That is why it was internationalized,” he said. Beig said that that the spirit of bilateral agreements like Tashkent and Shimla has been broken, and that was why the region was gripped by uncertainty. “Pakistan is exacting revenge from India for Bangladesh, and Kashmiris are paying the price,” he said. Referring to the massive toll of human life in the state since the eruption of militancy, Beig said that ninety per cent of the fatalities over the past two decades had been innocent Kashmiris. “Some of my friends demand the abrogation of the Article 370. Ifthey argue that turning the clock back (on the Kashmir issue) is impossible, how does the question of scrapping the Article arise?” “Article 2 of the Indian constitution provides for any state to accede to the union with own its terms and conditions. Article 355 of the Indian constitution in force in our state entitles the central government to use the military if it feels that the country’s integrity is under threat in Kashmir. So why are my friends impelled to attack Article 370, or oppose the posts of prime minister and sadr-e-riyasat in Jammu and Kashmir. “This approach indicates Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s argument that India is holding on to Kashmir by military might,” he said. Beig asserted that constitutional provisions existed (in the state)to change the nomenclature from chief minister to prime minister in Jammu and Kashmir, but that the centre would have to be approached for sadr-e-riyasat, as Jammu and Kashmir did not have the required statutory authority. “There have been repeated betrayals of our state. Even Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was betrayed when his associates were suborned, and he himself was jailed even when he was the prime minister of the state,” he said. “This makes it amply clear that India does not trust Kashmiris. The way forward cannot be found unless we build the bridges of trust,” he said.