The author of the ‘vision document’, “Achievable Nationhood” has modified it to become the “Chewable Nationhood”!
Sajjad Lone, a minister in the ruling coalition, in an interview to NDTV’s Burkha Dutt said that only 5 percent people are involved in the present uprising in Kashmir. According to him 95 percent people are sitting inside their homes. He also added that all the people involved in the uprising fall in BPL (below poverty line) category. Before one goes into the details of the ground situation, it would be worthwhile to peruse his own political career. He fits the definition of the noun, ‘Turncoat’ given in the dictionary, which is, “A disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.” Well, he is not the only ‘Turncoat’. Kashmir has a long history of ‘Turncoats’ starting from the very first person to lead the movement for emancipation after centuries of slavery.
Sheikh Abdullah has been the tallest leader in the recent times. People virtually worshipped him as they took him to be the Messiah who had been born in Kashmir after centuries of slavery. However, he did not turn out to be the one for whom Kashmiris had been waiting for ages. He virtually led them from pillar to the post and made many somersaults. Finally he passed away leaving his people in the lurch ruled by his dynastic successors. Sheikh Abdullah’s behavior ultimately gave birth to a generation of collaborators who in the real sense proved to be political vultures living on the dead bodies of Kashmiris. Bakshis, Sadiqs, Qasims and Muftis were the names of these virtual political vultures that were waiting in a queue to pounce on the dead bodies of Kashmiris. Because of them the ultimate emancipation which the people had been longing for centuries, has so far eluded them!
Sajjad Lone’s collaboration and somersault are more pathetic because of his background. One really feels sad for him! His father Abdul Ghani Lone gave his life for propagating an independent view point. Allegedly, he was got assassinated by people from across the border for propagating an independent outlook for Kashmiris. In fact, at one time, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had declared him in a public meeting in Handwara to be his successor but then the dynasty overruled him. Moreover, Sajjad Lone happens to be the son-in-law of one of the founders of Kashmir’s movement for total independence, Amanullah Khan of Astore. He founded the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) which stood for complete and total independence for Kashmir. All his life, he never compromised his stand and was in fact harassed by the Pakistani authorities for this boldness. He lived a very simple and frugal life. He was really a true and a dedicated freedom fighter. The attitude of his son-in-law is the greatest dis-service to his memory.
Sajjad Lone was also part of the Hurriyat Conference in early nineties of the last century as member of the Peoples’ Conference, a constituent of the conglomerate. It is alleged that he was responsible for the split in the conglomerate which had been formed to jointly pursue the agenda for Kashmir’s freedom. He had sponsored proxy candidates in the 2002 elections which had been boycotted by the Hurriyat Conference. This resulted in a split in the conglomerate.
Now, coming to his NDTV statement about only 5 percent people, that too below poverty line being involved in the present uprising, the best rebuttal is from the Army Commander Lt. Gen, DS Hooda. A quote from Greater Kashmir about his press conference says it all. “Admitting that situation in Kashmir is far from normal, the Army Commander on Friday said it’s high time “for separatists and everybody” to join hands for restoring normalcy “because one organization can’t alone do it.” “I know the situation is difficult, but we need to put our heads together and find a way out,” he said. Army has taken over most of the highways and has conducted motorised flag marches. BSF has again been deployed in Srinagar after 12 years! Nothing more is needed to impress about the extent and the gravity of the situation. Even the Union Home Minister has admitted that the situation is serious. The 5% claim would still make it 3, 50,000 which is not a “handful” of people!Regarding people being below poverty line (BPL), well no revolution in the world has been started by upper classes. It is always, the proletariat, the poor, who have nothing to lose but their chains! Omar Abdullah has challenged Sajjad Lone to hold a public rally in Handwara or Kupwara and just spend a day there!It is a pity that a promising young man who spent days in the serene environs of Gulmarg to write his treatise for an “Achievable Nationhood” for Kashmir is now chewing the same nationhood purely to satiate his lust for power! The least he can do to redeem himself is to resign and apologise to his constituents for his political somersaults and join once again the popular movement which he had left halfway!
Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir