A Reminder of the Truth
SEEMA KAZI REACTS TO MM ANSARI’S ARTICLE ON KASHMIR RESOLUTION
Mr. M.M. Ansari’s article (Of Elections and K-resolution, 28 June) on the putative link between panchayat elections in Kashmir and the “K-resolution” would be amusing if it were not so gratuitous and willfully ignorant of the situation in the Valley. It is incredible that despite frequent visits to the word’s most militarized zone home to an over-two-decade old resistance movement against the status quo, Mr. Ansari chooses to represent Kashmiri participation in panchayat elections as Kashmiri endorsement for the latter. This breathless piece of wisdom is further augmented by his Alice-in-Wonderland description of India as a “fundamentally democratic state”. May I remind Mr. Ansari that even by the fallen standards of the state he represents, freedom of speech, assembly, opinion, travel, communication, and faith are not as subject to arbitrary suspension in India as they are, and have been, in Kashmir. With the exception of Israel no ‘democratic’ state in the world resorts to massive military mobilisation to hold down a people.
It may also be enlightening for Mr. Ansari to be acquainted with the historical fact that Kashmir’s conditional accession was never subject to democratic endorsement by the Kashmiri people; it was duplicitously declared ‘permanent’ by an Indian establishment as fearful of Kashmiri public opinion in 1950 as it is today. Compounding that betrayal is the over two-decade-old militarily-backed version of ‘democracy’ that has unleashed violence, dispossession and death on a grand scale. Kashmiri Muslims want an opportunity to debate and determine their own future. No number of local panchayat or state-level elections (with high or low turnout) shall alter this truth. For precisely this reason, Mr. Ansari’s suggested remedy of elections, good governance, development, or his touching intent to “assuage feelings of neglect and apply healing touches” are at best gratuitous, and at worst, a virtual slap in the face of all self-respecting Kashmiris.
If Mr. Ansari has any shred of respect or regard for the people of Kashmir he should go back to New Delhi and have the integrity and moral courage to tell Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister PC Chidambaram and Defence Minister AK Antony that, for a start, the withdrawal of Indian soldiers across the Valley; repeal of repressive legislation; release of political prisoners and youth; the end of harassment, abuse and killing of civilians; and justice for the dead, disappeared, jailed, tortured, raped, widowed, orphaned, broken, maimed and bereaved is what the Kashmiri Muslims really want. The choice of political system, leadership, governance and development are issues to be discussed and determined by the Kashmiri people, not by Mr. Ansari or political elites in Delhi. Instead of patronisingly and deceitfully harping upon local elections and governance as a panacea for an essentially and deeply political problem, Mr. Ansari would do well to convey to the establishment India’s great moral isolation in the Valley; her enduring failure in containing or erasing a people’s imagination through the use of coercive force; her willful and grievous abasement of India’s own founding ideals of democracy, equality and liberty by uniformed guardians of the state whose duty it is to protect citizens; and last, but certainly not the least, India’s abiding folly in ‘legalising’ repression that does not, in any way, render it legitimate. In doing so, Mr. Ansari could possibly make amends for his ignorance and insensitivity regarding Kashmir and Kashmiri aspiration.
(Seema Kazi is a New Delhi based researcher and can be contacted at email@example.com).
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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