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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Statement of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah 
before the Sessions Court, Srinagar.

Legal Document No 102

(Extract)

I am not interested in a personal defence, and I would not have undertaken it if I had not felt that my trial for 'sedition' is something far more than a personal charge against me. It is, in effect, a trial of entire population of Jammu and Kashmir, even though some of them, being content with their transient personal interests or out of fear, may not be prepared to recognise or openly declare this.

Oppressed by the extreme poverty and lack of freedom and opportunity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir State, I and my colleagues of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, many of whom are behind prison bars or in exile today, have humbly sought to serve them during the past sixteen years. We have endeavored to give faithful expression to the growing consciousness among the people of their imprescriptable rights, aspirations and desire for freedom. This has attracted the penal and preventive provisions of law. Where law is not based on the will of the people, it can lend itself to the suppression of their aspirations. Such law has no more validity even though it may be enforced for a while. There is a law higher than that, the law that represents the people's will and secures their well-being, and their is the tribunal of human conscience, which judges the rulers and the ruled alike by standards which do not change by the arbitrary will of the most powerful. To that law I gladly submit and that tribunal I shall face with confidence and without fear, leaving it to history and posterity to pronounce their verdict on the claims I and my colleagues have made not merely on behalf of the four million people of Jammu and Kashmir but also of the ninety-tl1ree million people of all the States of India. That claim has not been conned to the people of a particular race, or religion or colour. It applies to all, for I hold that humanity as a whole is Divisible by such barriers and human rights must always prevail. The fundamental rights of all men and women to live and act as free beings, to make laws and fashion their political, social and economic fabric, so that they may advance the cause of human freedom and progress, are inherent and cam1ot be denied though they may be suppressed for a while. I hold that sovereignty resides in the people, all relationships political, social and economic, derive authority from the collective will of the people..

It was clear that the old treaties with the States had to go. They represented something that had no relation to the modern world or to the India of today. They could not be reconciled with the inevitable changes in India and in the Sates. If this was clear to begin with, it become an accepted fact by the statement issued by Cabinet Delegation of 16th May last. That statement declared that paramountcy would end when the new constitution of free India came into being. It was an inevitable consequence that the old treaties and sanads and other engagements would go the way of paramountcy and the British Government being out of the picture, a new relationship would have to be negotiated between what is now known as British India and the States. The demand for the abrogation of the Amritsar Treaty was, in effect, disposed of by this clear decision. The future constitutional set-up-in the State of Jammu and Kashmir cannot derive authority from the old source of relationship, which was expiring and was bound to end soon. That set-up could only rest on the active will of the people of the State, conferring on the Head of the State the title and authority drawn from the true and abiding source of sovereignty, that is the people. The "Quit Kashmir" cry symbolised and gave concrete shape to this demand for the termination of a system of Government: which was in process of dissolution all over India. The cry had nothing personal about it....

Some allegations have been made that "Quit Kashmir" and the demand for the abrogation of the Treaty of Amritsar had communal or communist inspiration. This is a travesty of fact and I deny and repudiate these allegations. The National Conference is essentially a national organisation including in its fold all people who agree with its objective, and co-operating with the All-India States People's Conference, with which it is affiliated. It stands in the All-India context for the independence and freedom of India. It stands also for social and economic changes to end privilege and to raise the masses.

Historical Documents
 
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