The so called“leaders” of Kashmir have always behaved like vultures waiting one upon the other to feed on the dead bodies of the innocent Kashmiris!
A general observation made by most of the Kashmir watchers is that there has so far been no sincere and upright leader who could lead the people to salvation. Since 1586 the country of Kashmir has been under the occupation of outsiders who took turns in capturing it one after the other. After Mughals came the Afghans. Then came the Sikhs and finally, the Dogras purchased it from the British for a paltry sum of rupees seventy five lakhs along with its inhabitants. All the foreign rulers oppressed the local population so much that they ultimately became serfs without any self-respect and dignity.
In the early part of the last century there was general awakening for freedom in the entire Indian sub-continent. Kashmiris too felt an urge to end their centuries old oppression. The movement grew slowly among the educated class and received a fillip in 1931 when 21 Kashmiris were gunned down near the Central Jail where trial of one Abdul Qadir was going on. He had been charged with sedition for making inflammatory speeches exhorting people to rise against the Dogra Rule. This movement threw up the tallest leader Kashmir has seen in the recent times, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
People virtually worshipped Sheikh Abdullah 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 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!
Unfortunately, the alternate leadership called the “popular” leaders toohave failed the people. They started with a program for the final emancipation of the people but failed to put before the people a concrete goal as well as the road map to the final goal. The only programs they could give were endless shutdowns. In the meantime, because of the continued suppression, the new generation of the nineties of the last century got totally frustrated and alienated.Apart from the fact that they grew up in the worst turmoil and violence seen in Kashmir during last 70 years, they were continuously subjected to harassment by the security forces. The Burhan phenomenon too was a result of this harsh and brutal harassment. It had become a regular trade for some of the security agencies to pick up youth at random in the guise of containing militancy and then releasing these after huge pay offs!
The results of this suppression manifested in the person of Burhan Wani who demonstrated that the oppressive forces could be resisted. His death gave rise to an unprecedented uprising by the “Burhan Generation” which Indian authorities have miserably failed to suppress in spite of the use of brutal force.There has been a continuous tirade from the media and politicians about Pakistan sponsored violence in Kashmir. In fact, the Pakistanis themselves have been taken by surprise by the vehemence of this peaceful mass uprising. Notwithstanding the display of some Pakistani flags, the bulk of the people have been asking for “Azadi”, the total and absolute freedom. The brutal suppression of these peaceful public meetings and marches has resulted in 87 deaths, more than 20,000 injured and hundreds with eye injuries with a large number losing eyesight permanently. More than 2,000 young boys have been arrested and some have been detained under the notorious Public Safety Act. The forces have not only beendispersing peaceful gatherings with extreme harshness but have also been vandalizing the residences of the people and beating the inmates to frighten them. All over Kashmir forces have gone into the villages, beaten the inmates, looted their valuables and damaged their household goods just to cow them down. According to some press reports, the government has handed over the four districts of South Kashmir to Army for quelling these protest marches and public meetings. The Army is conducting what has been called “Operation Calm Down” to contain the protests! It is simply to over awe the population by show of force. A virtual war against own citizens!
The peak of atrocities was a total clamp down on the most important Muslim Festival of Eid-ul-Adah. This has never happened in the entire recorded history of Kashmir! With all this mayhem going around, the so called mainstream leaders except shouting loudly are not taking any positive action. There is only one exception of Tariq Hamid Kara who has resigned from the Indian Parliament and also from the basic membership of the PDP. He is one of the founders of the party. In his case also it took 80 deaths and all the mayhem before his conscience pricked him! The others are just sulking and tweeting only! It is here that one can see the true nature of these “Political Vultures” of the so called mainstream. Had they been truly of the people and from the people, seeing the mayhem, they would have all resigned by now. On the contrary, they are waiting for the “Vulture” sitting on the thrown to fall so that they can take over and start eating the flesh of dying Kashmiris! Throughout their entire career they have never truly worked for any solution for the true and real emancipation of Kashmiris! The present wave of the unrest is totally leaderless. It is truly a mass revolution which none of the so called leaders from either side are truly able to handle.No one knows where this mayhem unleashed by the people who had been propagating a “Healing Touch” to the suffering Kashmiris will end?A vale full of dead bodies for the “Political Vultures” or a real and final nemesis to these “Vultures”!
Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir Email: firstname.lastname@example.org