Probing into possibilities
Certain historical turns can be guiding lights for future
INKSIGHT BY MAHMOOD UR RASHID
It was 8, Sep 1989; the death anniversary of the Kashmir’s most popular political figure, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. Despite his own party, National Conference in power, this day observed a general strike in Kashmir. Just two days before, 6 Sep, 1989 Awami Action Committee founder, and the Mirwaiz (Chief preacher) of Kashmir, Molvi Mohammad Farooq, openly spoke against the ruling party and expressed his intent to “move the Muslim countries” against “Operation Jamia Masjid” conducted on 25 August, 1989. This operation was done, according to the government version, to release the “157 persons supposed to have been held hostage by the militants”; and some arms were also reportedly recovered. This was the beginning of the appearance of the larger phenomenon which took the shape of an armed underground uprising against the government, bringing into question the whole political status of the State of J&K. The strike on 8 Sep 1989, announced the end of a political phase in Kashmir that had started after the Sheikh-Indira Accord in 1975.
Sensing the storm that was about to hit Kashmir, the three, out of four, MUF State Assembly members resigned, and went to Sopore, a town in North Kashmir, to address a public rally. The three MUF leaders categorically “challenged the finality of accession with India, besides defending the militants.” It was the first public acceptance of preference of armed over political. This happened on September 9, 1989. Just some days later, September 14, 1989, Tika Lal Taploo, belonging to BJP state unit, was shot dead. It was the second such killing after ruling National Conference party worker, M. Yousuf Halwai fell to the bullets. Four days later there was a shoot-out outside the residence of DIG Police, A M Wattali. In this shoot-out one militant was killed, later identified as Ajaz Ahmed Dar. This man turned into a hero as people were now ready to be overtaken by an armed militant movement. It was discovered that Ajaz Dar was an election agent for a MUF candidate; a serious sign of a departure from political to violent.
In the same month, Sep 29, 1989, police arrested Peoples League chief, Shabir Ahmed Shah. He was considered as the “most wanted militant leader”. The next day Kashmir witnessed widespread public protests. Police resorted to firing in which “at least five persons were killed”. The same day Peoples League called for a four days strike. It was Oct 1, 1989 that Hamid Sheikh, a militant leader with a cash reward of 25,000 over his arrest, made a public appearance in Srinagar, where “he made a brief speech before a group of people” describing the arrested person as “a mature political leader and not a terrorist as being projected by the official agencies”. It was the early announcement of political anxiety in the armed movement. (Chatterjee, 2009: 1-15)
Sometime later it took the shape of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, a conglomerate of various political and social groups avowedly fighting for the same cause as the armed movement, albeit politically. This political alliance was later replaced by All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which still exists. As a parallel development the political parties that had almost disappeared in Kashmir started appearing again. The return of National Conference, and the emergence of yet another political party, People’s Democratic Party, (these are the parties that don’t question the accession of Kashmir to India but do express occasionally their difference with New Delhi in interpreting the details of the document and also its nature), was a sign of how Kashmir longed to act in political ways.
At present we have the political parties in Kashmir that question the finality of accession with the Union of India but still want to fight it out politically. There are also parties who don’t question the accession, yet push for some fundamental changes that can redraw politics in this state. This extended constituency of political can be employed for a meaningful peace process. But it still seems not happening. We need to probe into how political expressions can consolidate in post 1989 Kashmir, and how if allowed to addresses the political urge, it can enhance the chances of peace.
The fundamental aim should be to look into the reasons of why political in Kashmir is disrupted by violent and how the reasons of violence can be addressed to make political uninterrupted. In another way it is to look into the possibility of sustained peace, were all shades of political opinion can contest without turning violent.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 1 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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