May 2016 News

It Is Only With Love That We Can Hold Kashmir: CJI TS Thakur

10 May 2016

New Delhi: 'The generation of Kashmiri Pandits which had attachment with Kashmir, who lived there, are going. The future generation is happy outside and sees it only as a historical fact - we belong to Kashmir. They are well-off, they are doing extremely well. Which Kashmiri Pandit is going to go back to Kashmiri?' said Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, a Kashmiri Hindu himself, speaking at a book launch on Monday. The book, Unravelling the Kashmir Knot, has been written by Supreme Court advocate Aman Hingorani and posits a persuasive legal solution to the imbroglio. In the instrument of accession signed by the then ruler of the state Hari Singh, says Hingorani, there was no provision for a 'plebiscite' or an appeal to the 'wishes of the people' to validate the state's accession to India. Consequently, Hingorani says, India could appeal to the International Court of Justice for a resolution of the issue. Sceptical about a purely legal alternative, Justice Thakur said that the Kashmir issue was too complicated to allow such 'readymade' solutions. Speaking, he said, 'not as the chief justice, but as an ordinary citizen who still has its roots there', he added, that Kashmiris had rejected the two-nation theory which had been the basis for the Partition of the country. 'We have been living together for centuries. In my area, Muslim villages were slightly away but in Srinagar they lived next door, had common walls. They never faced any problems.' Reminiscing about the Kashmir of his youth, he added, 'Until 1989, Kashmir was peaceful. The women would go out decked in jewellery, and no one would touch them. There were no weapons. I remember in Jammu, they used to make fun of Kashmiris. These people are cowards - the worst thing they can use as a weapon is a kangri, they would say.' The problem, was not also, entirely Pakistan's support for militancy in the state, he admitted. 'How many of us can vouchsafe that Kashmir was given the same kind of democratic freedom that was given to other parts of the country? In Kashmir, we've heard that mayors are elected, but there were deputy commissioners who would be the returning officers who would reject all the nomination papers and declare the candidate of a particular party as elected and therefore the government would be formed even before the vote being cast.' Finding a solution, he said, appeared to be very difficult as 'Jammu wants Article 370 to be abolished. Ladakh wants to be centrally governed, and Kashmir valley wants independence. And within that valley, the Hindus want a separate conclave for themselves'. The only way out, Justice Thakur felt was to embrace inclusiveness. 'When we rejected two nation theory we went for an inclusive society. We need to nurture it. It is only with love that we can hold Kashmir,' he said.