OBSERVING ACCESSION DAY THIS YEAR
Observing ‘Accession Day’ every year since our exodus from Kashmir in 1989-90, has become an important event in the calendar of various KP organizations spread across the world. This year, the main function on this day, 26 October 2018, was celebrated by our organization jointly with Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch (JKVM) at New Delhi.
Besides honouring some of our outstanding sportsmen/women on this occasion, the highlight of the program included the speeches of our guests, who had consented to address the gathering. These included Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Lt. Gen P. S. Mehta (Retd) and Shri Balbir Punj. Lt. Gen P. S. Mehta, PVSM, AVSM, is a native of Kashmir (Baramulla) and after a distinguished career in the Army, he retired a couple of years back. Shri Balbir Punj is a former member of the Rajya Sabha and a well-known columnist, whose articles are widely read and appreciated.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy is among the most outstanding political figures in the country today. Besides being a well-known economist, he has been a professor at the world – famous Harvard University, a cabinet minister in the Union Cabinet, and at present, is a member of the Rajya Sabha and National Executive of BJP. He is known for his patriotic stand on various issues and for expressing his opinion without any hesitation, irrespective of whether these statements are liked by his own party or not. On most occasions, his views have been quite contrary to the stand taken by his own party. Today, he is the most sought-after person, as far as expressing his views clearly and forthrightly by any political person, is concerned.
For us, it was a matter of great pride to have him as one of our main speakers and I dare say that he did not disappoint the audience. Dr. Subramanian Swami said a few things which certainly gladdened the hearts of all of us; even more important was the fact that he emphasized the party-line on these issues rather than convey his individual opinion.
On our return, he was quite categorical in asserting that “BJP is committed to the return of displaced Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir with honour and dignity and in a secure environment”. He further said, “There are millions of Ex-Servicemen available in India and sending a million of these to Kashmir to protect Hindus there should be a good solution for your security”. He asserted that BJP Stands by its core agenda of removing Article 370 and 35A; but the timing for this has to be decided by the government, as there are far too many imponderables existing in implementing these.
He also stated that as per the unanimous Parliamentary resolution of 1994, PoK is part of India and as per the Constitution of India, we cannot give even an inch of our territory to anyone. Therefore, India is constitutionally bound by the Parliamentary Resolution and our constitution to get that part of Kashmir, which is under illegal occupation of Pakistan, back into our fold.
Dr. Swamy advised the community to keep its cause alive by organizing seminars, conferences, demonstrations, etc., on a regular basis. This, he said, will ensure that the nation is reminded of your tragedy often enough.
Dr. Swamy also said that he had advised the BJP not to join hands with PDP as the latter was very close to the militants and the Hurriyat. “But at that time, BJP did not pay any heed to his advice. However, now his stand has been vindicated, as BJP has withdrawn from the alliance”. He further said that the Governor must concentrate on delivering good administration to the State as poor administration and corruption are contributory causes for alienation and violence.
Lt Gen P. S. Mehta (Retd) spoke candidly about the political mistakes made in the past, which contributed to the present-day situation. He said that Kashmiris had mastered the art of blackmailing India without appearing to be doing so.
Shri Balbir Punj gave a brief account of the events before partition and during the independence movement. He said that the seeds sown by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had resulted in partition of the country and it is the same mind-set which has created the Kashmir imbroglio. He said that Kashmiri Pandit displacement from Kashmir was a matter of shame. He further added that the community needs to keep its aspirations alive, so as to inculcate a spirit of owning back your land in Kashmir.
I must admit that I had expected the hall to be filled with capacity crowd, but I found that some chairs were unoccupied despite some outstanding speakers having been called to speak on an issue which is dear to the hearts of our community. It is quite possible and natural that some degree of fatigue will set in after thirty years of exile. But we owe it to our future generations to keep our exile-consciousness alive.