‘Jammu and Kashmir should come to India just as other States have come’

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The removal of Article 370 and 35A is a true tribute to Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee who sacrificed his life for the integration of the country. After his great sacrifice, under the leadership of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya ji, Bharatiya Jana Sangh continued its struggle and movement for the integration of Jammu and Kashmir. The party always put this issue first in its agenda, even if the situation was adverse. Excerpts from the Lok Sabha Debates (26 June 1952) of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee on Jammu & Kashmir.

We are anxious to find a satisfactory solution so that Kashmir may remain within India so that the great sacrifice which India has made along with the people of Kashmir during the last five years may blossom into fruits which will benefit the people of the entire nation.

There is the question of the flag.Sheikh Abdullah spoke two days ago, and he said “Oh, of course, we will recognize the Union Flag.” There is no question of his recognizing the Union Flag. The Union Flag is there in spite of anybody, and that is the flag of free India. Sheikh Abdullah has said: “We will treat both flags equally.” You cannot do it. It is not a question of fifty, fifty. It is not a question of parity. It is a question of using one flag for the whole of India, India that includes Kashmir. There is no question of having a separate Republic of Kashmir having a separate flag. It is not a small matter.

Let them keep the flag for the National Conference in Kashmir. No one objects to it, but when you work as Government, no matter where you function, only one flag can fly and will fly and that is the flag of the free country, of free India.

The major issue is how is Kashmir going to be integrated with India? Is Kashmir going to be a republic within a republic? Are we thinking of another sovereign Parliament within the four corners of India barring this sovereign Parliament? That is the claim of Sheikh Abdullah and we contest it. Are we thinking of the rights of the Kashmir people to get whatever they can from India and not to give anything? Money, resources, roads, bridges all to be taken? Is it a question of ‘Give and take’, or is it a question of ‘Take and not give?’ That is the question which has to be decided now. What is going to be the attitude of the people of Kashmir? We have proceeded up to now on this basis that we may carry the people with us. I would beg of the Prime Minister this much. Let him exercise that statesmanship that strength of will, and the determination as Sardar Patel exercised.

In a democratic federal state, the fundamental rights of the citizens of one constituent unit cannot vary vis-a-vis the citizens of another unit. Are not the people of Jammu and Kashmir entitled to the fundamental rights that we have given to the people of India minus Jammu and Kashmir? There is no scope for varied constitutional patterns, disparities as between one federating unit and another, the legislative or executive authority of the units in respect of the States will be co-extensive with a similar authority in and over the provinces; subject to certain adjustments during the transitional period, the fiscal relationship between the provinces and the States and the Centre must also come under one authority. The Auditor-General of India must have fuller control over the audit systems in the States as also the Provinces. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court must now extend to the States to the same extent as in the case of the Provinces. The High courts in the States are to be constituted so that they will function in the same manner as the provincial High courts. All citizens of India, whether residing in States or Provinces, must enjoy the same fundamental rights and the same legal remedies to enforce them. In the matter of constitutional relationship with the Centre and in internal set-up these States must be on a par with the provinces. That is the question that we have to settle.

Take again the refugee question. You know we discussed it the other day. Thousands of Hindu refugees from Jammu and Kashmir are being settled in India. Why cannot they be given land in Jammu or Kashmir? That also indicates a discriminatory, policy.

Let us discuss the whole question. We are anxious that Jammu and Kashmir should come to India just as any other State has come. Let us know what special precautions he wants. But let him [Sheikh Abdullah] say that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are Indians first and Kashmiris next. Prime Minister must firmly assert that we do not want this kind of Kashmiri nationalism; we do not want this ‘sovereign Kashmir’ idea. If you start doing it in Kashmir, others also will demand it.