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Kashmir: Scottish referendum brings sanguinity

Now that Scotland voted a NO and kept 300 year old union between England and Scotland intact, the YES vote, as expected, was close behind with a poll results at 55:45 in favour of NO vote. A jubilant Prime Minister David Cameroon in his statement at 10 Downing Street assured Scottish people voting YES that devolution of more powers for Scottish parliament will soon be discussed and grievances, if any, will be removed. He even talked about Wales and Northern Ireland to follow the path of democracy to settle the ´issues´.

For Kashmir it did not matter which way it went but a referendum allowed to people keeping the tradition of democratic norms giving hope to all cherishing and upholding political rights of all individuals or nations. The fight for the D-Day has finished and a decision arrived through a ballot in a peaceful manner respecting people´s fundamental rights without the use of guns or brickbats to convey the point. The fact remains, whatever the result; democracy has definitely been the winner.

Andrew Whitehead of BBC World Service (September 17, 2014) writes: "When Lord Mountbatten, India´s first Governor-General, accepted Kashmir´s accession, he said it should eventually be settled by a reference to the people. India´s Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, also pledged a plebiscite or referendum for Kashmir under international auspices. This was later enshrined in UN Security Council resolutions".

The inundation causing devastation (September 08, 2014), submerging Kashmir under flood water hardened the resolve of Kashmiris to fight for achieving the cherished goal of independence. As reported the ongoing floods consumed nearly six hundred fifty people and many more disappeared under water, crumbled structures of concrete and mud constructions. Many drowned and reportedly washed away floated to Kashmir controlled by Pakistan. Death, utter ruin and annihilation compounded by non- existent local administration and selective help extended by occupational Indian army numbering nearly one million. Local youth took the responsibility and swung into action to save their fellow citizens doing a commendable job. A sabotage to drown Kashmir in flood waters is also not ruled out and is being investigated on local level by experts and knowledgeable.

Kashmir has a legacy of endurance, forbearance and patience and apart from being spiritually conscious believes the rapid political changes around the world to make Kashmir case politically very strong and heard in near future. The day is not far, as believed, when Kashmir will emerge as a free and independent nation like it was before the occupation on October 25, 1947. At the moment all the eyes were on the referendum held in Scotland September 18, 2014. Kashmir for the right reasons kept its fingers crossed and eagerly awaits the outcome. Political observers believe that the ease with which British government allowed the referendum to go ahead shows that it is far more democratic than Spain.

The dissimilarity between Scotland and Kashmir is not difficult to analyse as Scotland is part of independent democratic institutions cherished so much and everything else becomes secondary taking the backseat. Kashmir, on the contrary, experiences a combination of circumstances starting with a military occupation by people having different cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious background which is not in tandem with the centuries old historicity of local population.

A small democratic country would always be more responsive to the needs of its inhabitants. Independent Kashmir suffered because it was ruled by despots hailing from minority community and the rule spearheaded by violence and chauvinism an accepted norm in the past made it difficult to receive justice and fair-play.

The referendum stipulated for November 9, 2014 giving Catalonia a right without any political hiatus or lacuna to decide their political future is an indicator that respects international law and sets an example for rest of the world. Interestingly Catalonians were keenly watching Scottish referendum hoping to receive a booster for their own cause. The people of Catalonia have gained confidence and more help by the obduracy of Spanish government refusing to discuss the issue. In an identical situation India in a stubborn demeanour refuses to listen to international and even within India calls to settle the issue as per the wish of Kashmiris. Though, unlike other political movements, Kashmir is a recognized political problem seeking a solution through more than two dozen United Nations Resolutions.

Basque independence movement, Northern Ireland or even far-off Falklands; an effort to solve these problems is in the offing and the day is not far when a solution as per the wish of inhabitants will materialize. People given a choice to express opinion freely is a key to civilized behaviour so as to allow people live a life free of oppression and tyranny.

Eritrea, occupied by Ethiopia, to gain independence fought for thirty years until 1991 and in a referendum in 1993 voted unanimously in favour of independence. The rebel groups fighting Ethiopian forces fought two civil wars during the war of liberation. The intervention of international community made it possible for Eritrea to receive justice allowing it to live in peace enjoying its freedom achieved through tremendous sacrifices.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, adopted in 1948, called for a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), an alliance of 26 organizations in Kashmir seeks self-determination according to the UN resolution. Some groups have suggested that a third option of Independence be added to the resolutions, two options of union with India or union with Pakistan.

It is very unfortunate that India manages to hoodwink the international community and makes it believe that Kashmir problem is foreign sponsored involving terrorism. The world at large understands and knows about the ground reality choosing to give India an option to deal with the problem on humanitarian basis respecting international commitments keeping in view the rights of people who own the land. India unfortunately misunderstands the whole issue and wishfully thinks dillydally of factuality and stick policy used against people of Kashmir will help it gobble up Kashmir for all times to come.


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