India’s Hindutva dominated army is killing Kashmiri Muslimswith religious hatred and vengeance. This is how one could describe the manner in which the brutalized Kashmiri Muslim youths in peaceful demonstration were killed by the Indian army.
Kashmiri Muslims have been some of the most peaceful people in this planet. They endured with great patience the waves of unprecedented terror and cruelty inflicted upon them by successive Hindu Maharajas ever since the British sold Kashmir to Raja Gulab Singh, a Hindu warlord of the Dogra family in Jammu, for 7.5 million rupees (750,000 pounds) under the 1846 Treaty of Amritsar.
Later Hindu Maharajas treated cows better than Kashmiri Muslims.
The question is how come such docile and peaceful people started rising up against the central government in New Delhi. The simple answer is that it was the successive Indian governments’ systematic discriminations which forced them to rise demanding their legitimate democratic rights in the world’s largest democracy hijacked by Hindu fanatics.
Kashmiri Muslims came out on peaceful demonstrations demanding justice, freedom and dignity which remain integral part of democracy.
It was the political manoeuvrings of the central government in Delhi, the rigging of elections in 1987 and later in 1996, years of political frustrations, economic problems and poverty, combined with many other factors, led to the 1989 uprising which became a crucial turning point in the Kashmiri Muslims’ freedom struggle. Instead of listening to their grievances New Delhi unleashed unprecedented brutalities in their arrogant and foolish drive to crush the uprising.
Since then, according to figures released in the March 2010 issue of All Parties Hurriyet Conference Azad and Jammu Kashmir, 93,142 people were killed, 105,832 houses and shops destroyed, 107,326 orphaned, 9901 women molested and 22,719 widowed.
These brutalities are enough to turn even the most peaceful people to resort to worst type of violence to assert their basic human rights. Under such circumstances it is natural for oppressed people to think in terms of separatism. Separatist elements did emerge. However they were a small minority as bulk of the people wanted New Delhi to attend to their grievances to ensure they live in an atmosphere of freedom, justice and dignity.
Despite all these cruelties Kashmiri Muslims, in keeping with their peaceful nature, took part in the elections and demonstrated their desire to live in peace expecting New Delhi to attend to their grievances peacefully. Their slogan since the beginning of the uprisings in 1989 has been” We are for peaceful and permanent settlement of Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”. This slogan remains unchanged today”.
Had New Delhi dealt with the issue with sincerity and attended to the grievances of the people the question of Pakistani involvement or the rise of separatist elements would not have arisen. Did New Delhi take any sincere initiative? Nothing other than brutalising the Kashmiris while blaming Pakistan and separatists.
So much so Sonia Gandhi during this month’s all party conference expressed surprise at the spontaneous uprising of Kashmiri youth. This was shocking because she and the government she runs could have played a crucial role to avert what is going on in Kashmir today. But she failed.
Kashmir would have remained peaceful if her husband Rajiv Gandhi’s grandfather, the first Prime Minister of India, had respected India’s commitment, held plebiscite as agreed and allowed Kashmiris to decide their political destiny. However unfortunately for both India and Kashmir Nehru Saacha kept on hoodwinking the world with deceptive tactics and failed to hold the plebiscite.
In the subsequent years had Sonia’s mother in law, the assassinated Prime Minister Indira Gandhi stopped meddling in Kashmiri politics, hiring and firing elected governments, Kashmir would have remained heaven on earth.
Her husband, assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, said at a press conference in New Delhi after a visit to Kashmir in 1991 that ‘the brutalities of the Indian army and the Central Reserve Police meant that India may have lost Kashmir’”.
Yet what is surprising is that Sonia Gandhi expressed surprise at the uprising sweeping Kashmir today!
Sonia Gandhi is the chairman of Congress Party which rules India. Sonia is the uncrowned queen of India ruling the country with a prime minister and a government with remote control. What step her government took at least to discuss their burning issues.
Absolutely nothing. Perhaps she was scared of antagonising the RSS and its affiliated Hindutva thugs and hooligans, who have systematically hijacked Indian politics, administrative and other government machinery and even infiltrated the armed forces and mainstream media. The armed forces were given the license to arrest, torture, rape and kill Kashmiri Muslims with impunity.
The result is the spontaneous uprising of Kashmiri youths grew up in the midst of curfews preventing routine movements in the streets and even at homes and ruthless crackdowns which had been two of the most deadly strategies adopted by India. It was often said that barbarism inflicted, often demonstrated the hatred and intolerance towards Kashmiri Muslims.
Summing up the current situation Happymon Jacob of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and New Delhi. had this to state;
The Hindu's editorial (September 14, 2010) accurately summed up the United Progressive Alliance government's current approach to the Kashmir issue and the urgent need to move beyond mere words: “By talking big while having little to offer, New Delhi has unwittingly fanned the flames in Jammu and Kashmir.” Hence, the need now is to announce a clearly defined ‘political package' for the agitating Kashmiris.
The all-party delegation cannot decide on such a political package; the Government of India can. But the more than hundred Kashmiris killed in recent months by the security forces have failed to prompt the Central government to think beyond its usual pious platitudes of dialogues, engagements and delegations. If New Delhi is determined to live forever in ignorance and denial, why should Kashmiris respond with anything other than cynicism to its out-dated and bumbling efforts towards what it likes to call ‘finding a solution'? New Delhi's complete lack of vision, seriousness and sincerity in previous dialogues with Kashmiris has understandably meant that the proposal is simply seen as a short-term tactic aimed to calm the situation. Once national and international attention wanes, and the Kashmiri protesters go about their normal lives, the government might go back, as it has done in the past, to the business of conveniently ignoring that thorny little issue in northwestern India.
What, then, can be done to bring peace to the Valley? Can we, under the prevailing circumstances, lay out a clear roadmap for a political resolution of the Kashmir issue? The very fact that a political package is being contemplated as opposed to an improvised military strategy in order to address a political problem is itself encouraging. But there is a need to flesh out what it really entails. A long and drawn-out process of political dialogue without any time-bound commitments is unlikely to be accepted by Kashmiris; so the first step is to articulate a timeframe. A political solution to the Kashmir issue can be imagined as a multi-phased one, with measures relating to it being implemented in the immediate term, the intermediate term, and the long term.
Any further delay in addressing the situation politically will lead to increasing schisms within the Kashmiri body politic. The danger in Kashmir today is that the more mainstream your politics, the more likely it is that you would be termed a gaddar (traitor) by the agitating Kashmiris. So even the moderate dissidents are forced to take extreme positions.
Engaging Kashmiris in a result-oriented and goal-driven manner as laid out here is indeed taking the road less travelled, a road that is not easy to take. And so, before New Delhi decides to discard suggestions such as this, it needs to ask itself what serves India's long-term national interests better: maintaining the violent, chaotic, ungovernable status quo in Kashmir through brute force and military might, or meeting the legitimate political aspirations of the Kashmiris and convincing them that they have a place in the idea of India?
Meanwhile calling the government to act now before foreign forces land in Srinagar Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan
Editor, The Milli Gazette said in an article on 2 August 2010 that” For the last two months only bullets are talking in Kashmir. Dozens of lives, mostly school-going young men and women, have succumbed to the bullets fired by the security forces directly into their chests. Ten such victims have died within the last twenty four hours for pelting stones and violating curfew. The central cabinet?s security committee met last night without the attendance of even the governor, the de facto ruler, of the state. Today the dummy chief minister of the state was called for a meeting in Delhi and assured that direct central rule will not be imposed on the state.
The situation in the Valley has not deteriorated within a day or two and forces across the border alone are not responsible for the chaos seen in the length and breadth of the Valley. Today?s chaos in the Valley basically reflects the failure of the central government which despite declarations and promises to the contrary, has utterly failed to negotiate with the people who matter in Kashmir, which has thrown in the dustbin the autonomy and self-rule proposals presented by its own trusted hands in the state.
Musharraf and even the current Pakistani government have been time and again offering proposals to arrive at a settlement of sorts taking into account the ground realities but visionless people in Delhi have squandered the opportunity. The army bullets once again prove what our enemies claim that India is interested only in the land of Kashmir and not in its people. Manmohan is fast becoming Jagmohan for Kashmir.
The way forward is to sack the childish government of Omar Abdullah, set free all activists and political leaders arrested during the last few weeks, withdraw the army and allied forces from all inhabited areas in the Valley, impose governor raj for a fixed and declared period of six months, accept the autonomy proposal presented by the J&K Assembly during Farooq Abdullah?s tenure in 2000, announce a general amnesty for all militants , hold a fair election with none barred from contesting and monitored by foreign observers like Jimmy Carter and representatives from the UN, EU, OIC etc and let the real winner rule the state.
Meanwhile, India must engage in a serious and purposeful dialogue with Pakistan taking into account the various proposals offered by Musharraf and the current government in Islamabad.
Failure to work on these lines will be fatal. The protests in the Valley are quickly taking the shape of an intifadah which no amount of army bullets will be able to control. Rather, these criminal bullets and their innocent victims will invite foreign intervention. Let the short-sighted strategists in Delhi realize that foreign intervention is no longer a myth. A prolonged protest, wanton wholesale murder of the civilians and children by the security forces and collapse of the dummy civil government will be enough to pass a resolution in the UN to authorize foreign military intervention and the small men in Delhi will not be able to prevent such forces from landing in Srinagar.
The Valley today is a Kosovo-in-waiting. Act now before it is too late.
Later Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan who was also former President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, sent AnOpen Letter to Rahul Gandhi on Kashmir on 17 September 2010 emphasizing the need for urgent action in this regard.
In his letter he stated that “I am writing this open letter to you because I believe that you are the only person in our polity today who can take a bold and effective initiative to salvage the day-by-day worsening situation in Kashmir.
The fast-deteriorating situation in Kashmir demands that you at once divert your attention to the Valley to apply the ointment of love and care on the bruised body of the people of the Valley who had only recently made it amply clear in two foreign opinion polls that they want to remain a part of India. But the merciless bullets and brutal batons of our security forces for the last three months have pushed a majority in the Valley to a point of no-return.
With an arrogant behavior, inability to feel the pulse at the grassroots and by adopting a cruel bullet-for-stone policy, our government has foolishly alienated the people of the Valley, and invited international intervention and rebuke of the harshest order. The world today has begun to doubt our commitment to democracy and human rights.
It is time for you to at once visit Kashmir, meet families of the victims of army bullets, lend an ear to their version of the situation on the ground, announce an immediate withdrawal of the army from all inhabited areas, set free all young and old people arrested for throwing stones and violating curfew, sack the failed government of Omar Abdullah, impose governor raj for a fixed period of six months during which truly free and fair elections must be held and thereafter whoever wins them must be allowed to rule Kashmir just as is the norm elsewhere in the length and breadth of India.
All this must be coupled with an immediate announcement that the central government is accepting the autonomy resolution passed by the J&K legislature in 2000.
And finally, once normalcy returns to the Valley, no time should be wasted to negotiate a final settlement of the issue with Pakistan. Without such a final solution, the Valley will keep bursting periodically, one way or the other, sapping our resources and diverting our attention for other pressing problems.
After all the sad events of the past three months, it is now impossible to retrieve the situation with half-hearted measures. The grave situation today demands an immediate action to wrest Kashmir back from the precipice by a bold and credible person like you.
In view of the legacy you represent and the youthful sincerity you exhibit, I am sure you will rise to the occasion and will not wait until it is too late to salvage the land and people of Kashmir. It goes without saying that personal relationships should not influence your decision just like your great grandfather when higher national interest is at stake.