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Kashmiri Pandits have first, uncontested claim over Valley resources: Jammu-based editor

Kashmiri Pandits celebrate Govt of India move on J&K
By Nava Thakuria*
It was an amazing interaction with a senior journalist based in Jammu, organized through video-conference at a time when the entire Kashmir Valley is under strict internet censorship, allegedly as a precautionary measure taken by the Government of India following the revocation of Article 370 and 35A, and also the reorganization of the extreme northern State.
Tito Ganju, editor-in-chief, “Epilogue”, an English newsmagazine published from Jammu, representing mainly the view of Kashmiri Pandits, talked with members of the Guwahati Press Club on August 23, offering his view on Article 370, insisted, it was always a temporary provision in the Constitution and architects of the Constitution were clear about this.
Those who say that it forms the basic structure of our Constitution are simply trying to mislead the nation, believed Ganju, who is claimed to be a constitutional expert, adding, temporary provision is the weakest one among three provisions (other two being Special Provision and Transitory Provision). According to him, the Government of India has the legal and constitutional mandate to deal it with the manner it deems fit.
Ganju explained, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) was under President’s rule and hence the legislative power of the State in accordance with the constitutional provisions lied with the Parliament and the Centre took the route of Parliament to bring in the bill to make necessary changes in Article 367 and Article 372.
Speaking about the return of hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits to the Kashmir Valley, Ganju said, it must be addressed in terms of historical aspect than a cosmetic contemporary understanding. Moreover, adequate safety, security and dignity should be the cardinal to any policy on their return and rehabilitation. Ganju said, Kashmiri Pandit families have suffered genocide and their presence in the Valley has been reduced to hardly three percent now.
Adequate safety, security, dignity cardinal to any policy on Kashmiri Pandits' return and rehabilitation to Valley
Replying to queries on possibilities of successful return of Pandit families to the Valley, he asserted, time and situation are should be conducive for this. Though Kashmiri Pandits are the aboriginals of the Valley, with first and uncontested claim over the resources, their demand for a centrally administered region carved out of Kashmir valley should be acknowledged.
Narrating the political history of J&K, Ganju claimed that Maharaja Hari Singh had all moral, ethical and legal rights to decide upon the accession of his kingdom with either dominions (India and Pakistan) and the king duly signed the treaty of accession with Indian Dominion on October 26, 1947. The J&K Maharaja was seeking a better deal with both the dominions before finally making its mind.
According to the senior journalist, the unwanted aggression of Islamabad through Pakistani Army regulars and tribal forces into the erstwhile province of J&K later compelled the king to seek assistance from New Delhi and eventually he signed the Instrument of Accession.
Talking about the petition filed by India in the United Nations after Pakistan’s aggression, Ganju said that it was strictly on the aggression of Pakistan into J&K, which had already become a legal territory of India, following the official consent of J&K Maharaja.
He believed, the Centre was simply pampering the Kashmir Valley through a kid glow treatment, prostrating the interest of the nation and the supremacy of its Constitution to the whims of the Kashmir region.
The nation-state over 70 years now unfortunately incentivized separatists including the so-called mainstream political parties of Kashmir region and ultimately continued penalizing the nationalists of the region, he concluded.
---
*Guwahati-based journalist-activist

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