Battle Lines Drawn Over 1975 Accord

Battle Lines Drawn Over 1975 Accord

19 January 2012
Rising Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Another extension to the cabinet sub-committee studying Justice Saghir committee on Centre-State relations has triggered a fresh debate in the ruling alliance. While Congress asserts that the focal point of any debate would be the 1975 Indira-Abdullah accord, National Conference claims that the accord calls for restoration of autonomy. Congress is of the belief that 1975 has to be the base for any discussion on Kashmir issue as things have been settled through this accord with NC vociferously stating that the pact calls for revisiting all laws extended from 1953 to 1975. The government Thursday granted three-month extension to the crucial committee comprising eight cabinet ministers, four from NC and four from Congress, to discuss the report of Justice Saghir and to give its recommendations. The committee, headed by finance minister Abdur Rahim Rather, was formed on March 12, 2010, soon after Justice Saghir submitted his report to Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, who later presented the same to Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. The NC had blown the report out of proportion claiming that it calls for restoration of autonomy in the State. According to government order number 92-GAD of 2012, dated 19-01-2012, sanction is hereby accorded to the extension in the term of cabinet sub-committee constituted vide government order number 1148-GAD of 2010 dated 11-10- 2010 for examining the recommendations of fifth Working Group. “The committee should submit its recommendations by March 31,” the order reads. The committee has been given two extensions so far and the latest one is the third extension. Though the NC-Congress alliance claims consensus has been evolved over certain crucial points, but the fact is the situation is otherwise. “We have discussed certain points and consensus has been evolved. We had sought extension as certain things are yet to be deliberated upon,” said senior NC leader and Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Sagar, who is also the member of the committee. He said if a consensus is evolved over “yet to be discussed contours of the report”, final recommendations would certainly make a “big difference”. A senior NC leader, wishing not to named, said the Justice Saghir report has apparently advocated restoration of autonomy and NC would pitch for the same in the deliberations during the next meetings of the Committee. “We will not budge an inch from our stand as restoration of autonomy is our lifeblood,” he said. Minister for PHE and Irrigation, Taj Mohiudin, who is also the member of the crucial committee, said Congress party’s stand is quite clear that things have been settled in 1975 though an agreement between Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and Indira Gandhi. “Indira-Abdullah agreement is our basic and focal point for any debate. We will not move beyond this pact. Any consensus will be based on this very agreement,” the minister told Rising Kashmir, adding that all major things including those linked to Kashmir issue have been settled in 1975. Rejecting the Congress claim, senior NC leader and MP from South Kashmir, Mehboob Beg said it is not that people won’t come to know what 1975 agreement exactly is. “I have read the agreement and it calls for the revisiting all laws applicable to JK since 1952 to 1975. This is the crux of the Indira-Abdullah accord. The agreement boils down to restoration of autonomy,” said Beg said over phone from New Delhi. Justifying his claim, the NC MP said a committee was formed, headed by Mirza Afzal Beg and G Parthasathy, to deliberate over the contours of the accord. “Since Beg sahib resigned and the charge was taken over by B B Thaku, who was an ardent opponent of autonomy, making a claim that everything including Kashmir has been settled in 1975 accord is not a sign of wise men,” Beg said. He said the prevailing peace and tranquility in the State doesn’t mean Kashmir is no more an issue. “People of Kashmir have proved time and again that their state is not like Junagarh and north east,” the NC MP said.