`Murder most foul' daily mars lovely Jammu and Kashmir and dastardly terrorism `red in tooth and claw' claims countless innocent Indian lives with Pakistan militarily and morally getting away with it, describing these lethal operations as liberation and self-determination. The Bush doctrine of war-on-terror leaves Pakistan untouched and undeterred. For several sinister years, this ghastly killer game has been going on and no prospect of this bloody process is in sight save `words, words, mere words'. But the terrorist blitz the other day by a suicide squad infiltrating with ease into Indian terrain is horror upon horror and aggravated terror.This is a national shock and international shame, the audacious Pakistan President, Pervez Musharaff shrugging off the recurrent homicides nonchalantly as serving his invasive purpose, sure, as it were, that India may bark officially but will not bite militarily. We have too long taken heavy casualties with mere noises that our credibility is at an ebb. War is not the only answer to this unabating inhumanity.
When Gujarat was on fire Parliament went hysterical but when Indians in Jammu and Kashmir, with barbaric frequency, are villainously wounded or wiped out by the open abetment of the hostile neighbour, why are not parliamentarians rocking the Houses with rage and reason demanding an end to this perennial bleeding and butchery of our J and K brethren? Are not the Executive and Legislative branches accountable for the due defence of the right to life of every J & K brother and sister? Why not Parliament demand a comprehensive policy statement on the Kashmir question and not leave it to the Defence Minister or even Prime Minister to spell out the national stand (in the U.S (?) or elsewhere)? Our Houses have failed to debate with full information or deep concern on the grave cross-border situation and the serious implications, national and international, of our military and diplomatic manoeuvre. Do deliberate the J&K crisis and its portents? Is India to take cadaverous casualties, atrociously inflicted, obviously with active Pakistan connivance, lying down, punctuated by platitudinous noises, boast of preparedness, idle threats of counter-action and whispers to the U.S. Under-Secretary or other minion? People all over the country must awake. We must remind ourselves of Abraham Lincoln's words:
Public opinion is everything. With public sentiments nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who moulds public opinion goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.Why is there no massive campaign in the country, no ubiquitous protest, no pressure tactic except waiting for an American diplomat to arrive? Why are Indian, including those in J&K, Muslim organisations not voicing militant secular repudiation of Pakistan's Islamic anti-democratic threat to Kashmir? How about the guts of the Hindutva hordes? Every J&K life is Indian life. Why are not human rights activists at home or abroad not urged to condemn Pakistan-inspired malignant mischief and brutal terrorism. Why not a move to bring pro-Pakistan aggressors before the International Criminal Court? But, alas, neither country, not even the powerful U.S. has ratified the instrument, which is a pity. But human rights bodies under the U.N can be moved and thereby world opinion could be moulded. International law is not the vanishing point of jurisprudence.
Have we done enough homework on the various constitutional provisions and constructive proposals to tackle this inglorious impasse and militaristic imbroglio? Have we educated the people on the juristic claim and sovereign right of India over J & K? Why has the Government not mobilised, with a sense of enlightened militancy, people all over the country about this juristic dimension that J & K is an integral part of Bharat. The Bar in India must popularise the jurisprudence of India's claim instead of vaguely leaving it on the dubious ground that we have held elections there. An excellent case for which Krishna Menon fought in the United Nations (and Dr. Anand (former CJI) wrote a thesis) has to be brought burningly alive before the people.
Moreover, various alternatives to the solution of the dispute between India and Pakistan must be thought through and brought up (beyond Lahore bus trip) in the sunshine of national politics and not be hidden in the Defence Ministry or PMO. Far-reaching understanding of the problem as well as creative statesmanship in the current context are the need of the hour.We have wasted decades of valuable time, countless resources and goodwill. Is there any alternative like making the L O C the international boundary or other serendipitous stroke short of war or surrender of territory? Is federalism feasible? Is there any daring formula of federal autonomy for the entire Kashmiri people within a loosely framed Indian sovereignty? Let us not be fanatics.
The finest hour is when India's united billion-human power will tower over the belligerent antics of an unaccountable ruler. War mongering and revenge must be abjured but national resolution and firmness in retaliation must guide us. Excess is not success. Let us to the task with faith in our unity and conviction in our cause. Patriotism is no bluff, bluster and bravado but nationalist realism and sensitive ratiocination.
Published in Hinduonnet. Writer is a former Supreme Court Judge