KASHMIR: Did you say

Hence the total disregard for the Kashmiri sentiment, permitting an array of Generals to routinely issue policy statements, to pick up innocent Kashmiri students from educational institutions including top universities, harass and intimidate them.
Representational Pic
Representational Pic

A job well done!  Hooray to all the good men and the odd woman who made it possible. And doubting Thomases like you and me who may have been skeptical about the process, how wrong and shamefaced we all must be. New Delhi has yet again  demonstrated its ability to deliver on whatever it promises itself in Jammu  than in Kashmir.

The valley one is saddened to note is obviously considered as a bit of property that can be taught to bend to the ruling dispensation's whims. Hence the total disregard for the Kashmiri sentiment, permitting an array of Generals to routinely issue policy statements, to pick up innocent Kashmiri students from educational institutions including top universities, harass and intimidate them. In other words make them feel unwanted and untrustworthy, creating a situation that only further alienates the youth. Telling them you covet their land but would prefer to see  their backs, on the run, as it were,  away from the valley.  Try as it might, New Delhi and its extensive spy network in the State, the appointment of a jobless high representative in the State, constant additions to the massive deployment of Security Forces there Centre,  seems unable and unwilling to try a political reach out. It has succeeded though in causing the two major mainstream parties in the valley to ask serious question. 

Petty maneuvering may yet appear to be an option to the saffronite leadership in Delhi but all it begets in return, time for New Delhi to understand, only aggravates the total sense of alienation of the valley and its people.  More so when the ground itself, your play field, if you will,  has become soggy and blood-soaked – a large population of citizens allowed to groan in pain as  security forces weave in and out of residential areas chasing the usually elusive militant. And, mind you, there is no end to pain when authority self-righteously  chooses not to read the ground reality  or somehow believes that its  job is to merely go through  with the clean up as ordered.  And in the instant case it was the local elections in the State the BJP rulers set their hearts on the local body elections. And never as keenly, as when they decided to go ahead, regardless of the political parties, mainstream especially, questioning its timing. But the BJP bosses had done their calculations and were convinced that this was the time to strike in the valley to gain a political foothold in the valley.  The upshot was that the motions of a poll were gone through (for the record); the dejected valley, for the fifth running year now saw itself chased away by bullets – real, rubber, pellets – not to mention tear gas canisters, stone-pelting exchanges and the inevitable, a trail of death  of the militant, the innocent and the soldier alike. Not to forget the houses burnt down during the search ad cordon ops. Nothing shocking or surprising about that. No bones broken. Governor Sat Pal Malik pronounced the exercise a healthy one; the polls had been held with no major incidents at the booths in the valley, it was said. Only,  most booths in the valley had not but one voter to account for;  just about 4.6 or so eligible voters cast their ballots –  Jammu obviously was ga ga over the operation to put the valley down and establish itself as the very heart and soul of the BJP. 

Overall, never mind the valley,  the Governor, the ever present Security Experts, duly marked their presence on  TV screens spewing loads of bilious rhetoric against the valley  and its largely Muslim population. One channel even managed to  catch up with an MLA  somewhere near his Handwara constituency singing paeans to Mr Modi. If you deem it worth your while, the same man, (a Mr. Lone, with a very apt name) was touted for the CM's post after Mehbooba's ouster. Nearly forgot to mention that Lone was a BJP supported Minister in the ousted government. I have never met Lone but knew his father Late Abdul Ghani of the Congress and later of the People's Conference, a separatist group.  I remember his visiting me at my Srinagar hotel, far removed from the man I had met before at Srinagar Club, sporting a dark three-piece suit. Here he was wearing a Pathani suit, a rough hewn stick in hand. Jagmohan had just been reappointed Governor. Said Mr Gani: Do you know the story of Kakar Khan? I pleaded not guilty. Kakar obviously was appointed as Governor of Kashmir by Kabul after consulting  Kashmiri Ulema and Pandits who were called to Kabul to select, see and approve of him. That's how Kakar came about. En route to Srinagar Kakar decided to stop his  qafila near Qazi Gund. He saw a coffin bearing the body of a dead man on way to burial. Kakar dismounted, walked up to the coffin, exposed the dead man's ear, bit it off and yelled into it "Jahanam mein poohnchte hi batana Kakar Khan Kashmir pohncha." The moral of A.G. Lone story : Kissi bhi khan ko bhejo jawab sirf yehi hoga (pointing to his broken danda.)  Times surely have changed and have the gut feeling that the BJP will have to do serious thinking before embarking on its plans for Kashmir. Being a newly elected member of the UN Human Rights Commission does not confer any special rights on you. It does not, If anything, as a civilized member it expects us to act more responsibly. India expects the BJP leadership throw the doors to negotiations open.

Talks with Pakistan have been put into deep freeze. In Kashmir the ruling party in Delhi appears unwilling to see beyond its nose. And Mr Modi should understand that Kashmir needs to be spoken to  – and certainly not as a big brother talking down to his juniors. We cannot expect Kashmiris to wait for ever, for Mr. Modi to win all elections. Or is one to accept his party President's parting words at a poll rally the other day  as the new mantra; Amit Shah was so carried away with his own rhetoric that his parting words to poll rally  were "paltan chalo" A dangerous game it can be.

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