A Rebuttal to Angana Chatterji’s Misinformation Campaign against India

published on August 22, 2008


LETTER TO OFFICE OF HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, INRESPONSE TO INDIA BAITER ANGANA CHATTERJI’S LETTER


 
Hon’ble Justice Navanethem Pillay, High Commissioner
Dr. Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner
Ms. Gay McDougall, Independent Expert on minority issues
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Dear Sirs,

 
I refer to the letter dtd 12th Aug 2008 to your esteemed office by Dr. Angana Chatterji on the so called Humanitarian Crisis in Kashmir. With great dismay and disappointment, I have to state that the letter has written with prejudice, willful ignorance and gross misrepresentation of facts to suit her convenience. 

 
The letter is full of contradictions, to quote an instance, in the first Para, She states that newsprint and communication services and infrastructure were severely disrupted. However in the later Para of the letter, She states that news updates on the state of the blockade and situation can be found from leading Kashmiri newspapers, which are available online. If newsprint and communication services were severely disrupted, how could information be available not only with the Kashmiri newspapers but also on all television channels all over the world. Her statement that in 1947, 2,50,000 Muslims were killed in Jammu by Hindus fundamentalists is ludicrous beyond any sense of imagination. It only exhibits her dismal knowledge of history on Jammu and Kashmir.

 
I take this opportunity to provide the following information on the accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India in 1947.

 
I quote from the book “Integration of the Indian States” written by Late V.P. Menon, Secretary to the States Ministry of the Govt. of India, who along with Sardar Vallabhai Patel, First Deputy Prime Minister of Independent India were instrumental in complete integration of 564 states comprising almost of half of India within a record period of 18 months to make it, for the first time in history one Nation.  

 
Late V.P. Menon clearly states that India had no territorial ambitions in Jammu & Kashmir and would have left Maharaja Hari Singh, the then erstwhile ruler to decide its own fate but for the tribal invasion sponsored by Pakistan, which posed a grave threat not only to Jammu & Kashmir but also the rest of India. India’s intervention in Jammu and Kashmir was only due to the necessity of circumstances to save the State from invading hostile forces.  

 
The above have stated by a very eminent personality described by Lord Mountbatten as a person of extraordinary stature, who personally oversaw the transfer of power from the British to India and thereafter integration of the 564 princely states to the Indian Union. 

 
She has further exhibited her ignorance by talking about unfilled promises by India. Jammu and Kashmir enjoys the maximum autonomy under the Indian Union as per Article 370 of the Constitution. It is only state in India to have its own Constitution and the President of India cannot issue directions to the state government in exercise of the executive power of the Union as he can in every other state. Kashmiri are Indian citizens but Indians are not necessarily Kashmiri citizens. No Indian including the President or Prime Minister can own land in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

 
Also the assistance received by Jammu and Kashmir is the highest in India. The state of Bihar suffering from extreme poverty and development gets 1/10th of the per capita central assistance per year compared to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. While in Bihar and other states, this assistance is mainly in the forms of loans to the state, in Kashmir 90 per cent is an outright grant. Kashmir’s entire Five Year Plan expenditure is met by the Indian taxpayer. The people of Kashmir have elected their own representatives and government since 1952 and the elections have free and fair testified by the world media and foreign governments in 2002. I would like to further say that no nation can afford to be generous at the cost of its unity and integrity much less India, which have suffered very heavily due to its generosity in the past and continues to suffer till date.

 
I am also amazed at the selective amnesia displayed in the last Para of the letter when She states that her work and conscience connects her to Kashmir and its people. However not a single word has been mentioned on the ethnic cleansing of nearly 4,00,000 Hindu Pandits in early 1990 from the Kashmiri valley who had flee their homes after being raped, ravaged and looted making it one of the largest mass migration in the history of mankind. India is perhaps the only country in the world where the majority community have become living as refugees for more than 18 years. 

 
I would also like to take this opportunity to request your goodself to investigate the fate of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh, who were more than 25 % of the population in 1947 in these countries and have now become less than 1% in Pakistan and 7% in Bangladesh. 

 
In conclusion, I would like to proudly state that from time immemorial, our culture has practised Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (World is one family). Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life and is reflected in every aspect of our culture, behaviour, food etc. We have not converted anyone to our fold, invaded countries in history of mankind and infact suffered painful partition in 1947. We have peacefully coexisted for centuries with minority communities like Jains, Parsees, Buddhist, Sikhs and Tibetans whom we gave food, land and shelter in 1950’s with no preconditions to change to our way of life.  Muslims and Christians have been free to their way of life with absolutely no interference including not even having a Uniform Civil Code, which is prevalent in many western countries. Mr. Azim Premji, Ratan Tata and Nulsi Wadia, eminent industrialists from the minority communities have established world renowned corporate organisations from India.

 
I therefore request your goodself not to take cognisance of the letter dtd 12th Aug 2008 by Dr. Angana Chatterji. 

 
Warm Regards

 

 
R. Ananthanarayan  

 

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