Sunday, October 29, 2017

Kashmir: Freedom Vs Autonomy

 “My interactions in the state led me to conclude that when people ask for ‘Azadi’ most of them actually seek autonomy. Must consider areas to give autonomy to J&K. It’ll remain part of India but will have larger powers as promised under Article 370." - This is the exact reply made by Mr. Chidambaram on a question related to Kashmir unrest (Source: Indian Express).

Some leaders who think the nation is not its people but only some real estate and some others who don't understand the difference between freedom and autonomy, along with their followers have attacked Chidambaram for his opinion on this issue. Congress Party has also distanced from his statement, perhaps to limit the political damage from its misinterpretation.

In my opinion, every state and region has a legitimate right to seek more autonomy in matters that affect the day to day life of its people. So long as they are willing to recognize the sovereignty of India, there should be no problem with demands for autonomy.

The fact that the policy of 'only pellets and bullets' has already failed in solving the Kashmir issue is evident from Central Govt's decision to appoint an interlocutor, to commence negotiations with various stakeholders in Kashmir. If people of Kashmir are seeking more autonomy and NOT freedom from India, that is a good starting point for negotiations to solve the unrest.   

If anyone has any issue with giving autonomy to people of Kashmir should try and delete the Article 370 from the Constitution, instead of taking the high moral ground of pseudo-nationalism! So long Article 370 is a part of the Constitution, people of Kashmir has the right to seek more autonomy within the Indian Republic.

P.S: Many people are of the mistaken belief that Article 370 is the only provision within the Indian Constitution that provide special rights to people of a region!