By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
09 June 2018
On a two-day visit to the state to review
the security situation amid an ongoing Ramzan ceasefire, Home Minister Rajnath
Singh asserted that the Centre will change the "face and fate" of
Jammu and Kashmir.
In this context, it is important to argue
why Rajnath Singh's visit to the valley will turn out a crucial step towards
breaking the political logjam in Jammu and Kashmir. Considerably, this visit
has assumed significance in the wake of the extension of ceasefire announced
earlier by home minister during the ongoing month of Ramazan. The two-day visit
to the J&K state was reportedly focused on conditional ceasefire announced
by the Home Minister on May 16 for the holy month of Ramazan.
It is interesting to note that Rajnath
Singh recently asserted that the government hasn’t tied the hands of the
security forces. “It wasn’t a ceasefire, but suspension of operation in view of
Ramzan”, Singh said according to a report published by Times Now. He refused to
call it a ceasefire and chose to describe it as ‘suspension of operations’. The
technical term for this is NICO – Non-Initiation of Combat Operations. Thus, it
was clearly stated that operations will be resumed if any militant attacks are
launched in the valley.
Now, the holy month’s end is around the
corner. For Kashmir, this Ramazan was relatively more of a month for
reconciliation, non-violence and ceasefire—a move taken by the Centre in the
beginning of Ramazan. Though the extension or no extension in the ceasefire
would depend on inputs Rajnath Singh will gather from security and Intelligence
agencies on the situation post-ceasefire, such positive chances are welcome in
the valley to mitigate the mayhem and decrease the chaos insurgency causes.
While the Ramazan ceasefire has brought great relief to the beleaguered people
of Jammu and Kashmir, militants and insurgents continue to unleash mindless
violence, desperately trying to sabotage the peace process.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has
optimistically tweeted that the militants will, soon, realise the “futility of
their actions”, welcoming the reiteration of the commitment to the ceasefire on
the border by both DGMO’s. “This brings great relief to the people residing in
the vicinity. Peace on our borders is the first essential step to a larger
understanding and I truly hope it sustains…” she remarked.
Of course, Centre’s announcement of a
unilateral ceasefire during the ongoing Ramzan has given the Kashmiris in general
and youths in particular an atmosphere to move ahead. Therefore, most
peace-loving youths in the valley are strongly pleading for an extension of the
truce. Mehbooba Mufti has rightly pointed out that “these children want to
live, they want to play, and they want to smile...like elsewhere in the
This has put Rajnath Singh’s visit to the
valley in a renewed focus amid speculations that the centre may extend the
Ramazan Ceasefire. But this truce has also left many Kashmiri intellectuals
entangled with questions like these: Is Aazad (freedom) of Kashmir a call for
violence? Why has Kashmir never been allowed to settle down and take a breather
from violence? Those who objectively analyze and review the ongoings in the
valley are now highly critical of the insurgent ideology of violence.
M.H.A Sikander, a young Kashmiri
writer-activist based in Srinagar, has penned a moving scholarly article in
which he asks: Is
Violence the Only Way Out? He writes in New Age Islam: “Since last one
decade gun culture has gained new currency as a tool of resistance in
Kashmir....The vicious cycle of death and violence needs to be broken and
Violence the Only Way Out?
The Srinagar-based writer-activist offers a
historical account of how violence in the valley has been romanticised with the
flawed notion of Islamic state. He further writes: "The romanticism and
tryst for the Islamic state is not new. In 1990s, most pro-Pakistan militant
organizations declared their aim as establishment of Islamic state, once the
accession with Pakistan is complete…..The discourse in Kashmir for establishing
an Islamic state became vibrant once again with the rise of Pan Islamist
insurgent movements like ISIS and Al Qaeda. This discourse is being represented
by Ansar Ghazawatul Hind organization headed by Zakir Moosa."
The rise of the Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind
confused even many of the militants to ponder whether Kashmir is fighting a
territorial war or a religious war? The whole of the Kashmiri insurgency is now
divided on this. Common Kashmiris are left with two options: support this maniac call for the self-styled
'Islamic state' or blame the forces for lying about the ceasefire call. We as a
population are so confused about this struggle now that nobody knows who is
running all this.
On the other hand, Pakistan is promoting
leaders like SAS Geelani who loudly claims to achieve the goal of 'Azadi
Baraa-e-Islam' (freedom for Islam). These religio-political leaders in
Kashmir don't understand that Muslims since ages have lived and prospered with
all communities and religions. But in the name of Islamic system of governance
(Nizam-e-Mustafa), what Pakistan wants to achieve is extend its borders and
influence on either side, be it creating Taliban or interfering in Kashmir.
Inevitably, Pakistan's state-sponsored militants and propagandists of radical
Islamic state on its borders are fuelling the fire of Islamophobia around the
Is this the Azadi that a section of
Kashmiri Muslims seek to achieve through violence, guns and stones? Succumbing
to the expansionist designs of a self-styled Islamic state that even today
calls the migrants of 1947 as Muhajireen?
It is an utterly sorry state of affairs in
the state where whosoever loudly claims to speak for Islam and has a gun or a
stone in his hand is the ‘commander of the faithful’ (Ameer-ul-Mominin). The
civil society needs to gear-up as the Kashmiri Muslims currently are completely
unaware of what he is losing in all this ridiculously incomprehensive culture
of gun and violence.
In the valley of today, reason has eroded a
large section of the society and even emotions are biased towards something so
abstract that even an emotional person would call this act as inhuman and
anti-Kashmiriyat. The situation is that the loudmouthed, pseudo-religious and
long-nurtured element of hate has grown deep into the gullible young minds.
Worst of all, the Pak-engineered hate and
violence in the valley gives the Kashmiri society a tribal outlook showing that
they are not fit to live democratically and deserve to be militarized to get
civilized. This is not an allegation but a prediction that is getting proven to
be true day after day. In the past thirty years, aspirations were never heard,
roads were never paved.
But now that the long-cherished opportunity
of peace and reconciliation in form of ceasefire has been opened up, something
otherwise has to happen. It's about time the mainstream Kashmiri people focused
on their lost heritage—Kashmiriyat—the greatest gift of Rishi-Sufi tradition in
the mystics’ land. In fact, ultimately, Kashmir is too diverse, too
multicultural a land to turn into a radical Islamist state. Thus, this visit of
the Home Minister seems to go down well after a long and fierce political
turmoil in the valley.
Regular columnist with New Age Islam, Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a scholar
of classical Arabic and Islamic studies, cultural analyst and researcher in
Media and Communication Studies.
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