Vimarsha: Article 370 and Resolution of Kashmir Problem with Gen (Retd) SK Sinha, former Governor, Assam and J&K
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On Nov 20th, 2014, VIF organised a talk by General (Retd) SK Sinha, former Governor, Assam and J&K on ‘Article 370 and Resolution of Kashmir Problem’ under its Vimarsha series of public discourse. With Shri Vijai Kapoor, former Governor, Delhi in the Chair, General (Retd) NC Vij, Director VIF, set the ball rolling elucidating the nature of festering controversy around Article 370 of the Constitution granting special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. The controversy, which has continued to simmer for over six decades, has been further exacerbated in recent times due to upcoming Assembly elections in the state. General Vij said while over the years, Article 370 has become an emotive issue for people across India, any attempt to tinker with it at this stage, especially when elections are round the corner, would only lead to flaring up of communal passions. His views on Article 370 and Kashmir also found resonance with the other two speakers, both advocating the need to maintain status quo for the time being as regards Article 370. Kapoor said while it is important to preserve Kashmir’s diversity, tackling issues such as unemployment, education, health, infrastructure etc. should be the Government’s top most priority in the state. He, however, underlined the need to remain watchful about Pakistan’s continued efforts to destabilise the state.

General SK Sinha, who as in charge of logistics and Airlift had played a major role in throwing out Pakistani raiders from Kashmir in 1947, recounted his personal experience of fighting militancy in the Valley from the start. He gave a detailed exposition of the prevailing politico-military environment leading to accession of J&K with the rest of India and subsequent adoption of Article 370. He thought it unfortunate that Kashmir should remain the only state whose accession to India is not complete. Recalling the unanimously passed resolution of the Indian Parliament asking Pakistan to vacate its illegal occupation of parts of the state’s territories, General Sinha rued the fact that we never made efforts to reclaim those territories. Part of the blame for the messy state of affairs in J&K rests with Nehru, soft-pedaling the communal and divisive politics of Sheikh Abdullah. After the Tibetan uprising in 1959, a large number of Tibetan Muslims were settled in Kashmir and granted voting rights by Sheikh Abdullah while he denied the same rights to Hindu refugees from West Pakistan. Worse, India did not even provide moral support to the people of Gilgit Baltistan during their uprising against Pakistan’s illegal occupation in 1947.

General Sinha said the strong Modi wave currently sweeping across India is unprecedented in history. He also expected BJP to fare better in the upcoming Assembly elections in J&K, boding well for an amenable political solution to the issue. A lasting peaceful solution to the vexed Kashmir problem can be found only through dialogue and consensus. The session concluded with an interesting question and answer session.

Event Date 
November 20, 2014
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