The security of well over a billion Indians cannot be jeopardised by the short-sighted suicidal attitude of a misguided few who espouse the Kashmiri secessionist cause
The recent events regarding sedition, azaadi and similar slogans espoused by Sajjad Gani Lone and his ilk in Kashmir fail to take some basic facts into account.
Let people of India which includes J&K, roll back to 1947 when the marauders aided by Pakistani paramilitary forces invaded J&K and came up to Baramulla.
How they razed the nunnery there and how they tortured and killed the nuns is part of history. For Pakistan, this is an unfinished story. If Lone takes into account what is happening in Pakistan today he will see that the Shia sect and the Sufis of Pakistan have been systematically targeted and killed by the Sunni-dominated majority in the army and the administration.
The Muslims of Kashmir are quite different from the Sunnis of Pakistan. They are gentler, more cultured and similar to the Sufis. Is it difficult to imagine the fate of the Kashmiri Muslims under the tutelage of the Sunnis of Pakistan? It will be the irony of ironies if in the name of azaadi, they walk into the Sunni trap from which they cannot escape and will have to be reconciled to be treated as slaves and subordinate citizens for all time.
Do the Kashmiris really want this one-way road to slavery in Pakistan instead of the special treatment they are now getting in India? This is what the interloculators should put to the separatist groups in Kashmir.
Secondly, even if the Muslims want to form part of the Sunni hegemony, what about the other religious groups in J&K and particularly the four lakh Kashmiri Pandits who have as much right as the Muslims to reside in their state? Surely they have a right to be part of Kashmir — in India.
Why should India not press for the return of these people to Kashmir?
Thirdly, the right of secession does not belong to any constituent group. At the time of Independence, there were over 500 states which had acceded to India under Instruments of Accession similar to that of Kashmir. There is no reason why J&K should be treated differently from other states.
There are ten times more Muslims in India than in Kashmir and they are well-integrated with the rest of the population, allowing for some misguided persons toeing the Pakistani line.
Fourthly, the rest of India has to have a say in the matter. They have sacrificed over 20,000 lives and spent over Rs20,000 crore over all these years in defending J&K.
The price for all this should not be the real danger to India’s security with the Pakistanis sitting over the enslaved population across the border. And let us not forget the Chinese who are close allies of Pakistan. If they are now in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (POK) in the thousands, they will swarm into the valley under the guise of aiding them in various projects.
In fact, no one will dispute the fact that if India withdraws its army from Kashmir within the next two weeks, 2,000 terrorists waiting across the border, aided openly by the Pakistani army, will overrun Kashmir and enslave the people of Kashmir.
Is this why the people of India sacrificed their young men and spent thousands of crores over all these years to keep out the Pakistanis?
And what happens to Nagaland and Mizoram if they also want to follow Kashmir? They will come under the tutelage of the Chinese in no time.
No part of India can secede without the rest of India acceding to the proposal. Will the rest of India agree that Kashmiris alone should decide as to where they should belong? Should not the safety and territorial security of India be a major consideration even for the Kashmiris who talk of secession?
It is time that these implications of the azaadi groups’ demand are explained frankly and fully to everyone and in all of India. The security of India of over a billion people cannot be jeopardised by the short-sighted suicidal attitude of the Kashmiris.
Will the interlocutors explain all this to the Kashmiris? Will all the other political parties explain all this to the people of India so that they can deal with all those who espouse the secessionist cause at the hustings? The political map of India can then change and our approach to J&K can be more purposeful and helpful to the gentle — though misguided — people of the beautiful valley.
(The writer is former SEBI chairman, former chairman-Disinvestment Commission and former member, Planning Commission of India)
The Indian market is likely to see a cautious opening today on mixed global cues. Wall Street closed lower for the second straight day on Tuesday as marketmen raised doubts about the viability about the Federal Reserve stimulus announced last week. The Asian pack was mixed in early trade as the rise in the dollar acted as a positive catalyst for exporters in the region. The SGX Nifty was down 15.50 points at 6,329.50 compared to its previous close of 6,345.
The local market opened lower yesterday tracking the weakness in the global markets. Buying on select counters soon vaulted the indices into the positive zone to touch the day's high. Range-bound trading as a result of political developments in the national capital as well as the financial capital made way for the indices to trade lower once again. The flip-flop continued but buying support in fast moving consumer goods, technology and realty stocks led the markets higher at the close of the session.
The Sensex settled 80.10 points (0.38%) higher at 20,932. The Nifty stood at 6,301, a gain of 28.35 points (0.45%) over its previous close.
The US markets closed in the red for the second day in a row, as investors questioned the viability of the Fed’s stimulus package announced last week. Besides, data showed inventories at US wholesalers grew more than twice as much as expected in September. While some see the build-up as a sign of higher demand, others are worried that supply would outstrip demand. The Dollar Index, which gauges the currency against six major peers, rose 1% in its third straight gain and its biggest advance in three weeks on a closing basis.
The Dow declined 60.09 points (0.53%) to 11,346. The S&P 500 shed 9.85 points (0.81%) to 1,213. The Nasdaq fell 17.07 points (0.66%) to settle at 2,563.
Markets in Asia were mostly in the green as the rise in the dollar was seen as a morale booster for exporters in the region. Meanwhile, China’s property prices rose at the slowest pace in 10 months in October as the government hiked interest rates and put in place new initiatives to curb speculative property prices.
The Jakarta Composite was up 0.08%, the KLSE Composite was up 0.10%, Nikkei 225 surged 1.17%, the Seoul Composite rose 0.31% and Taiwan Weighted added 0.25%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite shed 0.40%, the Hang Seng slipped 0.25% and the Straits Times was down 0.43% in early trade.
India's food subsidy has already crossed the Rs40,000 crore mark in the first six months of the current fiscal, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.
The subsidy provided by the government on food in the previous three years, starting from 2007-08, stood at Rs31,259.68 crore, Rs43,668.08 crore and Rs58,242.45 crore, respectively.
Top PFRDA official not bothered over states staying out, exposing another fatal flaw in the project — will the scheme just remain another governmental non-starter?
The state governments have not been enthusiastic participants in the New Pension System (NPS) but this does not bother the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), which is trying to make the limping NPS run faster. Three state governments have refused to let their employees join the NPS.
When asked about the lukewarm response of the state governments, a top PFRDA official told Moneylife, on the sidelines of an event organised by FICCI in Mumbai today that “We don’t care much whether the state governments come on board or not. In any case, they can opt to stay out of the NPS.”
This shocking admission reveals another fatal flaw in the NPS.
NPS was supposed to be a retirement scheme for government and non-government employees. For Central government employees, this is a compulsory scheme of saving for retirement. For the private sector it is voluntary but there has hardly been any subscription to the scheme.
This is because there has been no effort to publicise it and distributors have no incentive to buy it. Now, if the PFRDA too cannot be bothered whether the state governments are not forced to channel the savings of their employees, the NPS will operate far below its true potential. The success of the scheme will depend on the economies of scale which will come about if there are more and more participants.
Since PFRDA has failed to get on board two of the largest segments, state government employees and the private sector, the NPS will limp along.
Meanwhile, in answer to another question posed by Moneylife, PFRDA claims to have convinced two corporates to switch their employee pension accounts under the NPS.
At Rs20 crore, the two unnamed corporates contribute half of the Rs40 crore of NPS' assets under management (AUM) from non-government or unorganised entities, said PFRDA chairman, Yogesh Agarwal.
Touting transparency and efficiency amongst the advantages for switching over to NPS, Mr Agarwal said that PFRDA is in talks to rope in 10-15 more corporates.
The NPS was introduced for government employees joining after May 2004 and for the unorganised (non-government) sector it was introduced on 1 May 2009. But it has not been able to take off due to reasons which include low incentives to those distributing the products, companies managing the funds and problems over who will do the marketing in a saturated market where NPS competes with the aggressive insurance and mutual fund companies.