‘NC played historic role in making Kashmir part of India’
24 June 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: The National Conference played a historic role in making Muslim majority Kashmir a part of secular India, a political resolution adopted at the end of a day-long session of the party has stated. The resolution, moved by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, said making Kashmir a part of India was a ''well thought out decision'' of the National Conference (NC). Pronouncing its primary demand for the restoration of autonomy, the NC session pledged to continue its struggle to revert to the pre-1953 status to realise the political and democratic aspirations of the people. The resolution reminded that the Central Government had given the State constitutional guarantees for autonomy and demanded the restoration of the pre-1953 status when the Centre retained only three key subjects — defence, foreign affairs and communication. Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and Delhi Agreement of 1952 define the nature of the relations between the Centre and our State, the resolution affirmed. This agreement was ratified by both Houses of Parliament as well as the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. But following the arrest of Sheikh Mohamamd Abdullah after he was dismissed as Prime Minister in 1953 the state lapsed into a dark period. Its autonomy was eroded in the most brazen and un-constitutional manner which created a deep alienation among the people which exploded in the violent happenings of 1990, the resolution stated. Though the crisis in Kashmir has distinct external dimensions, internal factors also aggravated the situation and our party holds the view that both have to be tackled, the resolution said. ''We participated in the 1996 Assembly elections only after we were assured by the Centre that positive steps will be taken to restore the autonomy. This was necessary to satisfy the democratic aspirations of the people of the state.'' People of all the three regions of the State elected our party with a two-thirds majority which was a clear assertion that they are unanimous in seeking the restoration of autonomy, the resolution stated. ''We appointed a high level committee and after a three-year deliberation and careful consideration the autonomy resolution was adopted in the state legislature which was later forwarded to the centre for its implementation.'' It was a matter of great anguish that it was rejected unilaterally and arbitrarily, the resolution said. ''Our party feels that this state of affairs violates the essence of democratic functioning. It is of the opinion that by such arbitrary behaviour, some negative signals have gone out even about the efficacy and legitimacy of our democratic system, '' the resolution said. ''Our party appreciates and fully supports the efforts of the international community to persuade the two countries to come to the conference table and resolve their differences amicably,'' the resolution stated. The resolution, however did not mention the Kashmir issue when it appealed to India and Pakistan to resolve the conflict. It further said that ''our party reiterates its consistent stand that wars did not solve issues but make them more complicated. They only add to miseries of innocent people and we firmly believe that both neighbours must avoid war and devote their energies for the welfare of their people.'' ''With the present dark clouds of war looming overthe sub-continent, our party expresses its deep pain and anguish over the atmosphere of distrust, narrow-mindedness and communal prejudices which have overtaken our beloved motherland.'' On the issue of communalism, the resolution said. ''It is this environment that has created the Ayodhya episode in the first instance, culminating in the destruction of Babri Masjid and subsequent disharmony and bloodshed. The recent riots in Gujarat manifested even more regrettable and darker dimensions.'' The resolution also reiterated the plurality of the Indian culture ''our country has always been a colourful mosaic of cultural diversity, of races, nationalities, faiths and languages. As and when we demonstrated unity, we wrote luminous chapters of our history. Unity in diversity and diversity in unity has been our major source of strength.'' ''By drifting from this path the country will face serious consequences and our organisation has always opposed such tendencies with undaunted courage,'' the resolution added.