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No Siddharth, there is NO PROVISION TO KILL INNOCENTS IN KASHMIR even when the “state is threatened”

Sharing correspondence with one Siddharth, to illustrate the basic principles of liberalism:

In response to an email I sent out to around 4000 people sharing SBP’s recent press release on Kashmir:

SIDDHARTH WROTE

It is disappointing to see you use terms like ‘rogue elements in armed forces’. If this is the attitude, you guys would need a thousand years even to reach a stage where this party is able to get even 1% share of popular support.

What is happening in Kashmir is not acceptable but from a different perspective. Indian state is not forcefully pursuing the option of changing the Muslim majority character of the state. Muslim majority character of the state is the root cause of the problem. The other objective must be to seek the dismemberment of Pakistan. These option are certain to face huge resistance from Islamists and hence there would be a need to neutralise large numbers of them.

Liberalism as a doctrine serves well only in economic domain not in diplomacy and statecraft where realism has proven itself to be the most apt approach.

MY RESPONSE

Either India believes in its Constitution – which protects life and liberty of its citizens – or it does not. It should make that clear.

I’ve worked in government for a very long time in India and there were MASSIVE number of seriously rogue elements in the paramilitary forces. These goons have killed thousands in independent India all over the country, not just in Kashmir.

I’m afraid India has no moral case to make if it deteriorates to the level of Pakistan in Kashmir.

Let honest, good citizens be protected. Let thousand guilty go free, but let not one innocent be killed.

SIDDHARTH’S FURTHER COMMENT

I am sure you know that constitutions are made to reconcile the interests of the state and of its citizens. However, every constitutional thinker, except the anarchists who were offshoots of Marxism, agrees that constitution is supposed to give primacy to the rights of the individual only as long as the existence of the state is not threatened. When such an eventuality arises, the same constitution declares the rights of the individual null and void.

So which constitutional doctrine are we talking about, let us be clear about that. And, how is the Indian state supposed to protect the rights of non-muslims in Kashmir? Can you resettle the pundits in valley through constitutionality alone? All shades of Kashmir public opinion have already indicated that they would oppose tooth and nail any attempt to resettle pundits and to resurrect their destroyed places of worship. How are you going to ensure that jammy which has larger population and larger economy gets its due in terms of distribution of resources in j&k? How do you answer constitutionally, the battle cry that Kashmir should be a part of Pakistan because of a common religion? And if that were to be the case, what would you do to the rest of museums in mainland India who too have a religious bond with pakistan? And if j&k were to secede, what would happen to the right of pundits to return to their land and what would happen to the Buddhist majority character of laddakh?

So, we have to recognise that constitution is a beautiful document but operative only if the state that underwrites it survives.

MY FURTHER RESPONSE

Your argument that rights disappear when the “state is threatened” is spurious. This is simply untenable.

Indeed, it is such views – quite common among the people of India – which are creating massive alienation.

The law has to distinguish between ordinary citizens and criminals. At all times. No exception.

Second thing you do is to conflate issues (re: Kashmiri Pandits). The law is the same in both cases. When people conflate issues and start killing innocents, then we are living in an illiberal murderous state, and that seems to be the case across the whole of India.

I’m afraid your views are illiberal and antithetical to the foundational principles of India.

I’ll stop sending you any further emails.

 

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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