As if it was a huge favour to Kashmiris that Governor Mr. Satpal Malik had to announce himself the lifting of ban on civilian traffic on national highway. Mr. Malik while giving the good news showed a big heart by offering apologies to masses for the inconvenience caused due to the ban, however, in the same breath he claimed that the ban was imposed in the national interest. Government must be having its own yard stick to determine the national interest and also to ensure the safety of security personnel. Government is always at liberty to take certain harsh measures if the situation demands so, but it looks strange that on one hand governor claims that ban was imposed in the national interest and at the same time he apologizes for the inconvenience caused due to ban, without realizing that any step taken in the national interest needs not to be apologized but appreciated. A step taken in national interest should be matter of pride and not the one which should compel the state to apologize afterwards.
Governor’s apology is a reflection of his conscience feeling guilty as none other than Mr. Malik is aware of the fact that any small or big move that causes inconvenience to Kashmiris, humiliates them or puts their life, property and honor at stake is being seen as a service to the country and a step strengthening national interest. The fact is that J&K has been made an experimental laboratory by New Delhi and imposing ban on civilian traffic on the national highway has been the last such experiment aimed at estimating the reaction of ill-fated Kashmiris to the colonial approach. Mr. Malik’s apology and justifying the ban at the same time apart, credible sources reveal that government has asked the company executing construction and widening of Srinagar Jammu highway to suspend work till Amarnath Yatra concludes to ensure smooth movement of Yatris. Lifting the ban on civilian traffic on the national highway should be seen in this context. It is not government but the common Kashmiris who always made Yatra a success and did everything required to make yatris feel at home. But unfortunately successive governments have always tried to see the entire Yatra and incidents related to it through an entirely different prism. If the ban was imposed in the national interest, government is duty bound to tell the masses if the objectives have been achieved and has the national interest been safeguarded. Anyone who has the guts to see things through right perspective can reach the conclusion that while entire government is kept hostage because of Amarnath Yatra, even the ambulances and doctors from far-flung areas are deployed with the Yatra for the entire period, thus making the life of remote areas a hell. The least government can do is to depute doctors from various states with the yatra who can not only take proper care of devotees but it can be helpful to inhabitants of remote areas as well. However one should not forget that by making preparations of Amarnath Yatra government is not doing any undue favour to Yatris, but one has a right to ask government why it bans Moharram processions every year, imposes restrictions on Jamia Masjid Srinagar frequently and even bans Eid prayers at prestigious places. Citing law and order problems as the reason does not justify the harsh measures of state administration against the majority community and it exposes the discrimination being done between Moharram processions and Amarnath Yatra.
Government is engineering a communal divide in the state which needs to be addressed without further delay. Governor’s apology does not carry a meaning; if he truly feels for the sufferings of masses he must apologize for every single killing that has taken place in his regime and must also ensure exemplary punishment in certain cases where the killers are roaming free and their guilt is known to all. Mr. Malik cannot resolve Kashmir issue but without being hypocrite and opportunist he can certainly send a message that political issue apart, Kashmiris have a right to live and he is the one who feels their pain. Being a man from political background it should not be difficult for Mr. Satpal Malik to understand that he and his kitchen cabinet is often being misled by a certain class who change their colors and may show their loyalty even to devil if it suits their personal agenda.