BY Tanveer Jafri
Kashmir, popularly called Heaven on Indian Earth, is nowadays burning. Though the problem of Kashmir is six decades old, but many times it gets so violent and disturbing that the Indian government finds it very difficult to handle. Two years ago similar kind of turmoil was witnessed on the issue of land allotment to the holy Amarnath Shrine. At that time it seemed that this problem will take a decisive turn. But usually today probably people might have forgotten about it. The Kashmir valley is once again face to face with violence since June 11. Since last two months Kashmiri youth are stone pelting the security forces in a planned way. About three dozen youth have been killed in the retaliatory action by the paramilitary forces. The dead also include some children who were either part of protests or were just onlookers. About 1300 paramilitary troops have also been injured till now. Let’s take a look at the current circumstances in Kashmir.
India considers Kashmir as its integral part whereas Kashmir- based secessionists mainly Hurriyat Conference extremist leaders have different views on Kashmir. Some secessionists call for Kashmir’s freedom whereas some opine that it should be integrated with Pakistan. Some are of the view that both parts of Kashmir should be merged and be recognized as an independent nation. Periodic violent incidents in the usually calm Kashmir renew the political grieves and the unemployed Kashmiri youth easily become a tool in the hands of the secessionist powers, as is clear from the present situation. Pakistan is in the search of such circumstances to occur in hope of destabilizing Kashmir. There are also reports that Pakistan’s ISI has a major role in current disturbance in Kashmir and secessionist leaders in Kashmir especially Syed Ali Shah Geelani are its pawns. This is paradoxical that while on one hand Geelani is appealing Kashmiri youth to restrain from stone pelting and at the same time the same Geelani is making an ‘emotional’ appeal to the same youth to participate in violent protests in large numbers so as to achieve ‘freedom’.
Many interesting facts are emerging regarding the current stone pelting in the valley. Report is that many kids especially school going children are paid small amounts of money to throw stones. Many reports also suggest that large cache of stones are gathered in trucks at night and are stored in people’s houses. Next day these stones are targeted to the security forces. When the security forces react to disperse people, a kid or youth get killed by the police bullet. After that he is treated as a ‘martyr’ for the cause of Kashmir’s freedom and his last journey is given a violent touch. And this situation further mess up the situation. Protests are not limited to stone pelting, in fact according the Home Minister P Chidambaram; many armed youth also remain present in these protest rallies.
The state politics is no less responsible for the current turmoil in Kashmir. Even though Omar Abdullah was made the Chief Minister of J&K by apparently a fully democratic process, but many veteran leaders of the state are not ready to accept him as the head of the state. Particularly, the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) seems more interested in destabilizing the state instead of cooperating with the government. Recently, on the suggestion of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Omar Abdullah called an all party meeting in order to restore peace in the state. PDP was also invited but it did not join. Instead its leaders continued to give poisonous statements regarding those killed in police firing. Same game is being played by the Hurriyat Conference which avoids participating in the state’s democratic process. Even their repeated calls for the election boycott are rejected by the people every time.
One thing is clear. Whether it is an attempt by the PDP to weaken the Omar Abdullah government or an effort to misguide the youth by the Hurriyat leaders like Geelani, ultimately those youth are getting injured or killed who are victims of such political propaganda. Security forces are also paying for this in the course of doing their duty. Kashmiri youth should follow the following lines of the poet- Ameer-e-Shaher gharibon ko loot leta hai, kabhi ba-heel-a-e-mazhab kabhi banaam-e-watan. It means that the secessionists are only trying to capture power by misguiding the youth either in the name of ‘freedom’ or religion. Instead of listening to people like Geelani or religious fanatics, our Kashmiri youth should get inspired by Kashmiri youth Shah Faisal who by topping the Civil Services Examination-2009 has done well to the name of Kashmir as well as the Indian Muslims.
What type of independent country the secessionists are imagining? Are they not learning anything from the internal situation of Pakistan? Are they not aware of the economic and psychological state of the people of Pakistan and Pak Occupied Kashmir? In fact, some people by misguiding the Kashmiri youth in the name of religion and independence want to convert this heaven (Kashmir) on earth into a hell state like Afghanistan. Their claim of preserving Kashmiriyat is also fake. Otherwise thousands of non-Muslim Kashmiris would not have been forced to leave Kashmir by these forces. Without these non-Muslim Kashmiris, the true Kashmiriyat is incomplete. The Kashmiri youth should remain alert from such actions of these secessionists. They should also think about the tourism potential Kashmir (including POK) holds. It would have been much better, had these separatists launched a movement with the Kashmiri youth for inclusion of POK in the Indian boundary and thus unification of this heaven on Earth so that the people of POK can also become economically strong and make their place also a tourist hotspot like the Heaven on Indian Earth “Indian Kashmir”.
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