AN UNPARDONABLE GAFFE

October 17, 2010

Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of J&K State has indeed made history. No other Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir has ever taken exception to anyone saying that J&K State is an integral part of India. Omar has not only chided the BJP for doing so but has gone further to make an assertion over which both the separatists in the State as well as the Pakistani media have gone into raptures. 

 

In a recent statement in the State Assembly, Omar has said: Jammu and Kashmir State has acceded to India; it has not merged with India.

 

Fact is that all the over 500 princely states, including Hyderabad and Junagarh which Omar specifically mentioned as being different from Jammu & Kashmir, have become integral parts of India after independence and had signed the same Instrument of Accession that Jammu and Kashmir signed. And over the last six decades, it is not the BJP alone that has described Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of Indian territory but every single leader of the country from Pandit Nehru to Smt. Indira Gandhi to our present External Affairs Minister, Shri S.M. Krishna who have affirmed this.

 

In fact, Pakistan’s DAWN of Oct. 8 front paged S.M. Krishna’s assertion by pitting it against Omar’s speech in the Assembly.

 

It would be in place to recall that the unanimous resolution on J& K adopted by both the Houses of the Indian Parliament way back in 1994 has affirmed:

 

“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”.

 

It is this same resolution which goes on to state :

 

“Pakistan must vacate the area of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied by aggression”.

 

The demand for Omar Abdullah’s resignation that was being made till recently was on the ground that he had totally failed to deal with the situation in the valley created by stone-pelting mobs. There were elements willing to attribute it to his administrative inexperience.  But this latest speech of his reveals that he is  not just an administrative failure, but that in so far as J & K is concerned, he is totally out of tune with the national mood. The earlier he quits the better it would be for Jammu and Kashmir as well as for the nation.

 

In his Assembly speech, Omar Abdullah also referred critically to BJP’s demand for repeal of Art. 370. Since the days of Dr. S.P. Mookerji, we have been committed to Ek Pradhan, Ek Nishan and Ek Vidhan (One President, One Flag, and One Constitution).

 

The Kashmir movement launched by Dr. Mookerji and his death in detention accomplished the first two objectives, namely One President and One Flag. The third objective, One Constitution, is still to be achieved. And we are determined to achieve it.

 

But not many may be aware that even in the separate Constitution that J&K State has by virtue of Art. 370, Sec. 3 reads as follows :

 

Relationship of the State with the Union of India–The State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India

 

In his book, The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, former Chief Justice of India Justice A.S. Anand has commented on the above section :

 

In 1951 the State Constituent Assembly was convened to give “its reasoned conclusions regarding accession”.  The dispute regarding Kashmir had come to a standstill at the U.N.O. The Assembly in Kashmir, in order to end the uncertainty about the future of the State, after due consideration, ratified the State’s accession to India in 1954.

 

In 1956, when the drafting of the State Constitution was being finalized, it was deemed necessary to incorporate the ultimate position of the State in respect of the sphere of its accession as a “permanent provision” in the State Constitution. It was with this idea that section 3 of the Constitution was adopted.

 

The words used in this section are “is and shall be”. These leave no ground for thinking that the people of the State ever had a doubt about their affiliations with India. The section is merely the affirmation of their desire to be “integral part of the Union of India”.

 

Why then, Mr. Omar, are you upset that BJP says this ?

 

****

 

Two headlines of last week’s dailies read as follows :

 

            “RAJA IGNORED PM, LAW MINISTRY’S ADVICE

            ON 2G SPECTRUM, SAYS CAG “

 

            “NOTHING MOVES WITH0UT MONEY, SAYS APEX COURT”

 

Both these above headlines relate to news reports about corruption – the first involving a Union Minister, and the second summing up the Supreme Court’s severe strictures about the horrible corruption prevalent in the Central Government.

 

The Comptroller and Auditor General has reported that A. Raja’s Telecom Ministry carried out the entire spectrum allocation in 2008 in an “arbitrary manner” ignoring the advice of the Law Ministry, the Finance Ministry and even the Prime Minister. 

 

The C.A.G. has assessed the loss suffered by the country of this arbitrary approach at a stupendous Rs.1.40 lakh crores! This C.A.G. assessment may well make this spectrum scam the biggest scandal since independence.

 

The C.A.G. Report says:

 

“The Telecom Ministry  for no apparent and logical or valid reasons ignored the advice of  ministries of finance and law, avoided the deliberations of the Telecom Commission to allocate 2G spectrum, a scarce finite national asset”, says the report.

 

“Despite all agencies having knowledge of scarcity and underpricing of spectrum, the entry fee for issue of licences continued to be pegged at the rates determined in 2001,” it says.

 

CAG has rejected telecom ministry’s argument that spectrum allocation was done in accordance with the policy laid down by the previous government.  “The claim that policy of predecessors was followed is wrong. The Cabinet in 2003 had directed auction for all allotments in future,” the CAG said.

 

So for as the second news item is concerned it does not involve any top ranking politician as does the first one. But even though it relates to a middle ranking governmental official, the Supreme Court’s comments reflect how angry and exasperated even the country’s highest court feels when it repeatedly runs into corruption cases.

 

The S.C. Bench comprising of Justices Markandeya Katju and T.S. Thakar said: “It is very unfortunate that there is no control over corruption in the country. There is rampant corruption particularly in the departments of Income Tax, Sales Tax and Excise. Nothing moves without money.”

 

With unconcealed sarcasm, the Bench added: “Why not government legalise corruption so that a specific amount is fixed for every case. Let us say if a man wants his case to be settled, he can be asked to pay Rs.2,500.” That way every individual will know how much bribe he has to pay.

 

*****

It is highly gratifying that immediately after the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has announced that the allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement in connection with the games would be probed.

 

The country hopes that the probe would be thorough, and that no wrong doer would be spared. And there would be no search just for scapegoats.

 

For observers within the country, the rich haul of medals by Indian sportspersons, and the successful execution of the spectacular functions on the opening and closing days may have somewhat compensated for the months long negative publicity the CWG had been receiving before the games began. But judging by what Indians living abroad have had to tell, the sum total of the publicity overseas has been very negative.

 

However, it was a very happy coincidence that the final day of the Commonwealth Games placing India at Rank 2 after Australia came simultaneously with the three fold triumph of India in Cricket :(1) Victory over Australia in the 2-test series, (2) ranking of India as number one among the cricketing teams of the world and (3) Sachin Tendulkar’s peerless performance.  All sports lovers naturally felt great that day.

 

 

L.K. ADVANI

New Delhi

October 17, 2010

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