Illustration by Arindam Mukherjee | ThePrint
Illustration by Arindam Mukherjee | ThePrint
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Both countries treat Kashmir as a blood feud, and they will continue the fight till the last Kashmiri.

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s report on Kashmir is so fatally flawed it was dead on arrival. Debating its accuracy, fairness, methodology or motives is a waste of time.

Its fatal flaw is political. It is one thing to let NGO-type activists take over the world’s premier human rights body, but quite another to exercise no political oversight. At one level, it tells you how incompetently the UN is being run. On another, it shows the damage you can do to those you have set out to defend.

A picture of Shekhar Gupta, editor-in-chief of ThePrintDoes this report embarrass or shame India or Pakistan? Not in the least. Both treat Kashmir as a blood-feud. India will not be shamed by its human rights record: It believes it is only fighting a nasty, cross-border terrorist assault.

Pakistan won’t be embarrassed by just another report stating that it is funding, feeding and arming this mega terror operation. It believes it’s engaged in a moral campaign for justice. It also wears much nastier descriptions such as ‘International Migraine’ and ‘University of Jihad’ like badges of honour.

Both will fight to the last Kashmiri, if that is what it takes. Will they bother about this idiotic UN report where the “researchers” haven’t even been on the ground in Kashmir once, any side of the LoC? They won’t. But that is not the biggest problem.

We call it idiotic not because of the quality of its research, but for its expectation that it will help the people of Kashmir. On the contrary, it will harden India’s approach. It will also encourage Pakistan to shove more Kashmiris and its own expendable youth into a jihad (holy war) in the renewed hope that one day, someday, it will drive India away in shame, fear or pain. We can exchange notes on it a decade from now when the current High Commissioner for Human Rights has retired to play golf on his generous UN pension.

The quality of successive secretary-generals over three decades tells us that the UN doesn’t necessarily hire its bureaucrats for intellect or ability. It is no surprise if the current lot doesn’t even bother to look at the history of its own interventions.

In so many unfortunate ways the Kashmir situation is back to the perilous ‘90s. That is also when UN and Western human rights pressures were the greatest on a much weaker India. How did it respond then? It passed a unanimous resolution in Parliament resolving to recover all of the territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. A bipartisan delegation led by opposition leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, with Minister of State for External Affairs Salman Khurshid as his deputy, won a historic vote at Geneva. Never mind that they had to make common cause with human rights rogues like China and Iran.

This UN report will achieve a similar closing of ranks. Remember, even before the MEA’s official condemnation was out, Congress spokesmen were on TV, backing the government.

Shujaat Bukhari’s assassination took our minds away from the most toxic parts of this report. On both sides, maybe it is deliberate. India cannot take notice of a provocation as grave as a UN body formally asking for self-determination in Kashmir and not declare war over it. It should break the Pakistani hearts too because self-determination enlarges the choice to independence. Pakistan has never accepted that. Nor did the UN resolution of 1948

In any case, the UN has not talked of self-determination or plebiscite since the 1972 Simla Agreement that redefined Kashmir as a purely bilateral issue. Pakistan may have invoked the resolutions occasionally, but never insisted on it in any bilateral agreements and other joint declarations since then — in Lahore, Islamabad or Sharm El Sheikh. These have only talked of resolving the dispute bilaterally.

Since we treat 1989-94 period as the worst five years in the Kashmiri insurgency, we need to debate if we are back to that square. There is bitter alienation, politics has lost credibility, human rights pressures have built up, the Pakistanis are emboldened, the LoC is alight and our national politics is broken.

Remember the two things that brought India together in anger then: Pressure from Western human rights organisations and that disastrous statement from US Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel questioning the validity of the instrument of Kashmir’s accession to India.

Now this irresponsible UN report has brought in both these provocations.

Having vented at the stupidity of the UN repeating its own and the Western powers’ blunders (as personified by Robin Raphel in 1993), we should also reflect on how we got here. Simple answer: By making blunders very similar to that past.

The trouble began in 1989, when India was in political transition and an ideological curiosity came to power under V.P. Singh. Curiosity because it was the government of a minority coalition kept in power by the Left and BJP support from outside.

The BJP wanted, a “muscular” approach to Kashmir. So Jagmohan on BJP’s say-so was sent as governor to crush the militants. But the government also had an aggressively pro-Muslim core and depended on the Left as well. Further, it had Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as Union Home Minister. Therefore, it also appointed bleeding heart George Fernandes as Minister for Kashmir Affairs.

We now had one centre of power causing injury and another applying balm. As to where the home minister’s heart was, we don’t need to guess. The result was disaster. Kashmiri Pandits suffered the cruelest ethnic cleansing and militancy morphed into full-scale Pakistan-based insurgency. Later, as a wiser, ruthless and more clear-headed Narasimha Rao took over, the armed forces were given unlimited resources, a free hand, and the mandate to crush it.

This was the worst phase yet in the state’s human rights history. Notorious interrogation centres were set up, large numbers died in firing on civilian mobs, the Bijbehara firing massacre and the Kunan Poshpora mass rape allegations all came up in that period as did the Charar-e-Sharief crisis.

This is what today’s generations might identify better as the Haider (Vishal Bhardwaj’s film) phase in Kashmir’s history. By the end of Rao’s term, however, the militancy had been crushed at great cost to public sentiment. Essentially, it was the price India paid for V.P Singh government’s woolly-headedness.

We’ve seen some of the same confusion lately. The difference is, unlike V.P. Singh’s minority coalition on daily wages, this is a strong nationalist government with a sweeping majority. But what has it done? It aligned with the PDP, ostensibly to bring opposite ideologies and the Valley and Jammu together. It was never able to mould its own instincts accordingly. So, you again played with the gun and the bandage at the same time. It’s again been like having Jagmohan and George Fernandes in the same establishment.

The missing elements — human rights pressure and Robin Raphel questioning Kashmir’s accession — have now been brought in by this unthinking UN report. The clock in Kashmir has been re-set, to 1993.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. India is in Kashmir, or Kashmir is in India. Either ways India is in occupation of a large part of what was the erstwhile princely state of Jammu & Kashmir. India needs to exercise its sovereign power & break this un-natural entity into its constituent parts & designate each component as a union territory(UT). We will have may be six or seven entities, on the lines of ethno- religious components. like have two parts in Ladakh, Leh ladakh for Buddists , Kargil ladakh for muslims. similarly for other areas, Kashmir valley,into 3 parts one for Kashmiri Pandits, the displaced, evicted kashmiri hindus over a million strong world wide. We have been pussy footing in Kashmir for long, it is time for some real tough decisions, which does fit into the policy framework of the present government.

  2. Kashmir is not problem…problem is islam. Bhutto once shed they will fight 1000 years war and bleed india to death….yes theye are bleeding us..all thanks to religion card….we have many scars accross india which will bleed us in future too….

    problem is somewhere else…we are looking at political solution…but the problem is religious…

  3. Have no fear it could indeed by 1993 again. I had heard the same apocalyptical sentiments in Punjab in 1993 after KPS had eliminated terrorists. What KPS did was to create space in which the non-terrorist majority could assert themselves. There is a higher possibility that this is what will happen in Kashmir.

  4. Criticising UNO to apease fellow Indians is fine but turning head to loss of lives of our own Indian citizen is law & order issue. We have crossed the level of being human.

  5. I could read a few lines of this article and rhetorics stopped me from going further. I’m sure u have already put me in a compartment.

  6. All Muslims are here commenting are writing against Indian stand on Kashmir and then they ask why other Indians don’t trust Muslims. Well because you are more faithful to your religion than your country, thats why.

  7. Sad as it may sound, the bitter fact is India has lost Kashmir. If after 70 years Kashmirs still don’t want to live with India, then what is left.

    Writers like Shekhar do great disservice to Indian nation by not telling the truth, that Kashmir is a disputed territory not a part of India. It was Nehru himself who went to United Nations on Kashmir.

    It is time to accept that Kashmiris are human beings like Indians…….period.

  8. Shekhar .. the whole narrative on which this piece of writeup is based on is fallacious .. you have lost it from the word Go .. So when did u exactly turn into a Kashmir Affairs Expert like so many run of the mill experts .. Barking from the comfy confines of your home waiting for your Bossy PM to notice you, it is a messy attempt at the very least. The writeup wouldn’t interest your Boss et’ al at all. Bring in some fresh air, open your eyes n heart, feel the pain the common Kashmiri experiences n you would feel the fallacy of your attempt. You may enslave humans but you won’t conquer them .. Truth shall prevail n u may choose to be a sloth instead; doesn’t matter …

  9. india is the worst country in the world if there is no movement of freedom in Kashmir and people want to remain as part of India then why is India not holding a plebiscite in Kashmir.(and there are no militants or forces of Pakistan in Kashmir)

  10. Your article looks like a peice of shit you can come across on the Internet. Please get your facts right before praising yourself to the core. Have a good mirror and see your dreaded face.

  11. Killing Kashmiris is an Islamic project that no report, truce, or other gimmick can change.

    As for the UN, its security council and structure were supposed to better represent the power structure as well as the aspirations that were born from the ashes of World War Two than it’s predecessor, the League of Nations. Unipolarity put an end to that and beginning with Lewinsky Clinto shredding the Reagan-Gorbachev deals to push NATO eastwards and bomb Belgrade for 84 days to toss Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo into the maws of Islam at the behest of his Sunni Petro Dollar Pay masters and Croatia to the Vatican, and followed through by George Bush’s “exceptionalism” to commit war crimes in Iraq and get away with it, and with Obama and Jilarious Clinton’s activities in Georgia, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine, the UN is but a zombie, and we must await the UN successors to rise from the ashes of World War Three which commenced in 1970s Afghanistan and is now converging with the Clinton begat Second Cold War.

  12. Prof PK Sharma,Freelance Journalist, Barnala(Punjab)

    Mr.Shekhar Gupta’s observations in light of the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC) report on Kashmir are quite
    eye-opening and convincing in nature.

    Coincidentally, UNHRC and Indian polity sail in the same boat presenting an identical picture so far as safeguarding of the human rights issue anywhere is concerned ! UNHRC report can be deemed as a report for the sake of report to make its existence felt at the
    international level ! There have been instances of gross viloation of human rights here and there but UNHRC has not timely intervened
    to discharge its duties and responsibilities impartially ! The council seems to be on paper alone ! The report instead of doing any good to the cause of assertion of human rights will flare up havoc and devastation in the valley !
    What purpose National Human Rights Commission in India is serving ? Human beings are being lynched off and on like insects in India but National Human Rights Commission is there sheer on the paper- a silent and blind spectator to this constitutional guarantee being thrown to winds with impunity.

    PM Modi led BJP government at centre is happy in its fools’ paradise following its fallacious, wavering and directionless agenda.There may be violation of human rights any where in the nation, economy may move at a snail’s pace, unemployment may create a record of sorts, foreign policy may stoop as weak as it can, farmers may come out on to the streets and roads to protest endlessly,Kashmir valley may face disaster-trauma-turbulence-insurgency for too long, values-morality-propriety may erode to the maximum extent, monster of lawlessness may loom as large and long as it can and communal harmony may go to dogs but endless power, pelf and self must remain intact !

    Is now NaMo not out to define “development “and “nationalism ” afresh but in his own authoritarian and self-centred style ?
    Prof PK Sharma,Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala(Punjab)

  13. Inside every Indian journalist hides a ‘nationalist ‘ illogical, myopic, biased, person who couldn’t give a fig about the facts and decides to rubbish everything that challenges the Indian state narrative in Kashmir. The arguments put forward by Gupta against the report could have come straight from MEA without naunce. It’s this kind of summary dismissal of the case against the state that has brought us to this state of abject failure. One day India will grow up and act like a proper state where the citizens are the sovereigns and the rule of law has the primacy but that day is 100s of years away because India is still inhabited by barbarians who use western technology but not the western laws to govern their conduct. Passing laws in Indian parliament has no moral validity in Kashmir and as has been tacitly admitted, Indian hold on Kashmir is only through the might of its army but as we know, many an empire has disintegrated once it starts to eat into its own vitals.

    • If india decides to walk out of Kashmir, put a border fence at the Indian side and leave, Kashmir will disintegrate in 24 hours into a rabid war zone with nothing else to talk about. It is lucky that Indians still see Kashmir as a part of India and come there to enjoy its beauty. without the Indian support it would be a pauper state

    • Shekhar Gupta is blind to others views, deaf to others opinions. I am tired of this govt of saying if you are not with us you are against us.
      If beef needs to be banned then ban all animal products, I am a Hindu who eats fish, chicken and mutton.
      But I would like to ask you what do you think about the hindu kashmiris who were looted, their family members killed and they had to flee from their houses. I was young then, but I think the UN, Indians looked from hindu kashmiris. Whether you like it or not, some Muslims are very barbaric and have strong set of rules just like the hindu fundamentalist. Both are the same.

  14. A senior Indian journalist Mr Shekar Gupta calling UNHR report on Kashmir as idiotic confirms his biased approach towards Kashmir like other Indians who day in and day out keep on singing Kashmir is an integral part of India. The irony is that now most of the Indians have started believing that Kashmir is an inegral part of india, who like an ostrich try hide their head in the sand. Living in self deception is no solution, it was Pt.Jawarlal Lal who declared in the same UN that we don’t believe in forced marriages and India will leave Kashmir once Pak raiders are out,because Kashmir belongs to people of Kashmir only

  15. The basic premise that this article is based on is flawed. Cross-border infiltration and support ended about a decade ago. The current crisis is home-grown and the people fighting the war are indigenous youth disillusioned with the government’s attitude towards their lives. The more you suppress, the more it grows.

  16. प्रिंट क्या प्रिंट
    कर रहा है समझ से
    परे है। हमारी समझ
    थोड़ी छोटी हो सकती
    है। पर श्री शेखर गुप्ता
    जी के लेख गोदी मीडिया
    जैसे हैं और उन्हें
    लिखने छापने का
    संवैधानिक अधिकार
    है। हमने तो जी बस
    ऐंवे ही कमेंट कर दित्ते
    सारी बास।

  17. Imagine if the report had blamed Pakistan for the ills in Kashmir. Then what. You don’t have to believe the UN report, any sane Indian or Kashmiri knows how Indian army has been playing Pakistan “Jihadi card” in Kashmir. You can’t just keep blaming Pakistan. The truth is out. Indians are simply playing the same game as Israelis by blaming Hamas.

  18. Anybody taking UN seriously is an idiot.
    UN is vehicle for third world corrupt leaders and govt. officials to travel to US any enjoy booze and prostitutes at public expense. So are other multilateral organizations , endeavors like Olympic, g20, BRICS etc.

  19. Pakistan is small country as comparatively to India in every way , hegemony of India as size & power in the region , their vision for great future is negated by Pakistan .this Humiliation , crushed their pride, it will be war ,coventionly convet into nuclear , Kashmiri people will be safe,but poor people of India & Pakistan will be presented to nuclear war at cost of Their EGO.get ready , harness your self for last nuclear war

  20. What shit i have just read? You seem more idiot than your so called idiotic article on some idiotic UN report… mean to say internet is free and we just wanna post some shit to earn money. Fool

  21. Have read just the first sentence and feel moved to express myself. Brings to mind the story of two women fighting over a child, both claiming to be its mother. A neutral observer says, Slice it in half, share it equally amongst yourselves. The impostor readily agrees; the real mother says, No, please take the boy, keep it safe, I cannot bear the thought of its blood being spilt. 2. Few will believe that things are going well in Kashmir. Fewer still will believe there is a well thought out strategy and that these daily sacrifices are well worth it, because they are taking us to a better place. The UNHRC Report, the first ever, not issued lightly, can be tossed away. Sovereign states seldom listen to outsiders, especially on issues concerning their national security. We should at least use it to consider if there is a better way forward, one which reduces alienation. 3. Some people believe keeping the pot boiling in Kashmir helps electorally in the rest of the country. Others have gone so far to suggest a small skirmish with Pakistan could be resorted to. I don’t buy that at all. 3. Like the LG – CM standoff that is playing out on our TV screens, people expect governments to fix things, find solutions we can all live with. In whatever time remains till the general election, the government must be seen to be working constructively, doing useful things. No one expects Kashmir / Pakistan to be solved in the next one year, but the failure that is unfolding will drain the Report Card of vitality.

  22. Regarding the title of his article, may I remind Shekhar Gupta of the old saying, “When arguments fail, abuses begin.” The journalists job is to report the facts and allow the reader to decide whether it is idiotic or not.

    • Sir you just read a “column” which is necessarily opinionated (should be objective though!). And you are criticizing it as if reading a “News Report”. I hope this will help you in appreciating the nuance here.

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