Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Kashmir, Justice Katju's article

Amalendu Upadhyaya
Posted By -

Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Kashmir 

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul

By Justice Markandey Katju

In his concurring judgment in the case relating to abrogation of Article 370 of Indian Constitution, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Indian Supreme Court, who was a member of the 5-judge bench which delivered the verdict upholding the abrogation, recommended setting up a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ in Kashmir to investigate and report violations of human rights in the state from the 1980s, to heal the wounds.

Perhaps Justice Kaul got his idea of setting up such a Commission from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up in South Africa in 1995 after the apartheid regime was dismantled.

While understanding and respecting Justice Kaul’s noble intentions and desire to heal the wounds of the past in the state, I doubt that such a Commission, even if set up, will achieve anything.

There are several fundamental differences between the situations in South Africa and Kashmir. In South Africa, the blacks who were oppressed by the whites were in the overwhelming majority, and they were not driven out of the country. On the other hand, the Kashmiri Pandits were a tiny minority in Kashmir ( about 5% of the total population of Kashmir of 8 million, i.e. about 400,000, the rest being almost all Muslims), and have been driven out of Kashmir.

Around 1990 the selective killings of Kashmiri Pandits and dire threats to them began ( often over loudspeakers on mosques, notices posted on their doors telling them to convert to Islam or get killed, and mobs shouting at their gates that KP males must leave Kashmir, but females will not be allowed to go, etc ), resulting in panic in the entire community, who fled from Kashmir to Jammu and other places out of fear, and had to live in sordid conditions in makeshift camps. These, who were hounded out of Kashmir can never be reconciled, and will never forget or forgive, and there is no question of their returning to Kashmir, for the reasons mentioned in the article below.

In 2008 the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a scheme for employing unemployed Kashmiri Pandit youth whose families had to flee the valley, and thereafter thousands of KPs were recruited and posted in Kashmir. But many of these have been killed by militants, and the others have demanded transfer to Jammu as they feel unsafe.

As regards Kashmiri Muslims, how can they forget and forgive the killing of thousands of their kith and kin ( many totally innocent ) by Indian security forces?

So with great respect to Justice Kaul, whom I hold in very high regard, his proposal is unfeasible and unrealistic.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)