Emperor of Kashmir in London

  • Riyaz Ahmad
  • Publish Date: Jun 26 2016 2:27PM
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  • Updated Date: Jun 26 2016 2:27PM
Emperor of Kashmir in London

J&K born Ankit Love traces his royal lineage to the last Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, and calls himself the exiled ruler of the state. He was a candidate in the recent London mayoral elections. In an interview with RIYAZ AHMAD, Love says he wants his kingdom back.  He also expresses his dismay over the lingering conflict in the state and seeks its resolution through unification of India and Pakistan.

 
 

Could you tell us a little more about your association to Jammu and Kashmir?

Thank you for getting in touch! Yes my father is Prof Bhim Singh my mother is Jayamala Devi also a senior Supreme Court advocate. So I have always been involved in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir as my mother and father founded Panthers Party together in 1982 and I was born in 1983. Last time I was in Srinagar was 2010. It was a strange visit
 
As I remember we had to have so much security. And Ghulam Nabi Azad had called my mother on her cell in Delhi.He told her  not to bring me  as I think PM was visiting at the same time and they thought they could not have security for us both.
 
But my mother was like, this is his state he should go back when he wants.
We also went to visit Farooq Abdullah.  And you see I had always visited almost every summer. But I was young and was sent away in 1989, as it was so dangerous for me there. And only in 2010 I really started to learn all the issues.
 
 

What did you learn?

 You see, my father had also offered me to take over Panthers Party then in 2010 but I wanted to focus on my art at the time. I have spent a lot of time considering this and researching the laws, the conflict, the human rights violations and rape of women by security forces. This broke my heart
 
 

You think solution to Kashmir is the return of your kingdom to you?

Well by the law it already is. You see I did not actually choose this. I kind of discovered it.
 
It  has been authoritatively ruled by the Supreme Court that signing of Instrument of Accession did not affect the sovereignty of Maharaja over his state. I know a lot of people must think I am crazy or something but when I lost my Indian citizenship by Section 9 of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
 
In 2009, as I had become a British citizen. However my state subjectship of Jammu and Kashmir would remain intact
 
So I became an independent subject by the law.  Now this would not mean much to most people.  But because of my unique political situation. Well, at first, I did not think much of it. I did not want to lose Indian citizenship as I had grown up all my life believing that one day in 2015 I sat to see if I could research a loophole and keep my Indian citizenship. But this led me to read more about the legal situation of J&K.  The history of the dispute and the fact we have 215,000 conflict orphans.
 
 

What was your reaction to human rights violations in the state?

Yes, the human rights abuses are shocking.  You know I was broken when I read about these things. It's unbelievable how ignored they are. And yes, nobody knows about these abuses outside Kashmir. Nobody here knows about us. 
 
Yes I was crying and very angry about the human rights abuses in JK. It's one of the biggest tragedies in human history.
 
 

What are you doing about it?

I am trying now to raise awareness here in the West. I am really concerned about a nuclear war. If there is no radical change in India-Pakistan relations, a nuclear exchange in South Asia is only a matter of time. So in the end I want peace.
 
My solution, however, would be to reunite India and Pakistan. That is my dream. And of course, Bangladesh should also rejoin.  I feel I have personal right to reunite India and Pakistan with all that my family and I have suffered as consequence of the conflict.
 
Then we would have a real super power to end poverty and the chance of nuclear conflict.
 
If East and West Germany could unite after the Cold War why not us. We can and we should have already.