People Of Jammu And Kashmir Have A Right To Know
By Dr Shabir Choudhry
14 September, 2011
State of Jammu and Kashmir is forcibly divided; and people are subject to human rights abuses on both sides of Line of Control, which replaced Cease Fire Line in the Simla Agreement after Pakistan’s defeat in the war of 1971. In this war Pakistan lost East Pakistan and more than 90,000 army personnel surrendered and were made prisoners of war.
Pakistani governments, their departments and agencies are good at hiding facts from their own people; and twisting facts to suit their political needs. In this regard, pro Pakistani leaders and some other Kashmiri leaders from both sides of the LOC have also learnt tricks of the trade, and hide facts from the people in whose name they conduct their politics; and in some cases run a ‘business’ in name of ‘struggle’ or ‘ freedom movement’.
These ‘businessmen’ don’t like people to know facts about history, politics and this struggle or what goes on in name of the struggle, because that is bad for their ‘business’. They want people to remain uninformed, ignorant and uneducated that they could be manipulated to follow a particular policy which exacerbate the problems and perpetuate the misery and suffering of the people.
Jammu and Kashmir is multi religious and multi ethnic State; and the Kashmir dispute is not religious in nature. It is a political dispute and requires a political solution; but people with vested interest have tried to make it a religious dispute to complicate the matters and to divide people of Jammu and Kashmir in name of religion. True, in name of religion it is easy to recruit people and motivate them to carry out certain actions, which they might not do otherwise.
A few days ago I posted a video on my face book wall, in which a Kashmiri militant, known as Bitta Karate confesses to have killed many Kashmiri Hindu Pandits, not because they were criminals or they endangered his life but because he was ordered by his senior leaders of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). He said he does not remember how many Hindu Pandits he killed; and if they were innocent or not. He had orders to kill and he did that.
JKLF claims to be a secular party; and wants to make Jammu and Kashmir independent. This man was a JKLF militant; and now he is a Chairman of one group of JKLF. Despite that kind of record, this man is a free man. He is a politician now, and conducts his politics openly on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir, where some Kashmiri leaders and Pakistani government and media claim Indian army is deliberately killing innocent people. Like other Kashmir leaders from that part of the world, he also expects people to follow him. He claims to speak for people and claims to promote interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Those people who are interested to listen to his interview can do so by clicking the following link: Interview With Bitta Karate, JKLF Terrorist
This video is not new. It has been on youtube for many months. Many times my face book friends posted this video on my wall; and of course, people viewed the video, but when I posted this video on my face book, this attracted a lot of criticism against me.
Some ‘foot soldiers’ representing vested interest are always activated to criticise me as soon as I write anything. They don’t like me to inform people or provide them with alternative view point that people can make informed judgements on various issues related to Jammu and Kashmir. In frustration and anger these ‘day wagers’ and their political masters use foul language against me; and at times, give me threats.
Some ‘foot soldiers’, in line with their briefings made wild allegations against me; and others also tried to belittle my work and my dedication to the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir – Kashmir that is democratic, liberal and secular. In line with my policy I have ignored them, as that is the best reply, however, I want to produce a post of one person who wrote:
‘What is the core purpose of your above post? Do you want JKLF to be declared as a terrorist organisation? Is it not true that you were elected as President/General Secretary of JKLF UK & Europe in Birmingham in late 1990s? Were you not aware of the "terrorism" JKLF was exercising in IOK before or during your tenure? Did you not believe Ashfaq Majeed Wani mentioned in the interview was a Kashmiri martyr?
Has your ideology really changed over the years?’
Initially my intention was just to share this video and let people draw their own conclusions; but after some illogical criticism and baseless allegations I decided to analyse this.
I was one of the founders of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front; and that party believed in secular, liberal and democratic society. It believed in equality and rule of law; and that, religion is a personal matter of individuals and no individual should be discriminated on grounds of religion or ethnicity. Senior leaders of the JKLF (I was not senior at that time and I had no knowledge of the secret deal at that time), in connivance with the secret agencies of one occupier of Jammu and Kashmir (Pakistan) decided to start militancy against the other occupier (India) and called it a ‘liberation struggle’.
How could a pro independent and a pro secular party collaborate with secret agency of one occupier and communalise polity of Jammu and Kashmir, and kill innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir just because they belonged to another religion?
More and more evidence is emerging that senior leaders of the JKLF at that time compromised their ideology for monetary and political gains; and decided to become a ‘b team’ of secret agencies of Pakistan to divide people of Jammu and Kashmir in name of religion. Many experts and champions of human rights strongly believe that some activists of the JKLF were promoting a ‘proxy war’ and acted as ‘mercenaries’.
In fact, they were in competition with Hizb Ul Mujaideen (a party that believes Kashmir dispute is religious and Kashmiris must join Pakistan) to get favours and support from the secret agencies of Pakistan. Does this not prove that the JKLF changed its ideology and helped Pakistan to communalise polity of Jammu and Kashmir and spread hatred?
However, there is another aspect to this story. Why Indian authorities have let this man free? They have killed hundreds of innocent people, but allowed this man to roam free and present himself as a Chairman of the JKLF and a ‘civilised man’. What is the reason for this generosity? Is it because they wanted this man to come forward and lead one faction of the JKLF and create more divisions among the Kashmiris?
I questioned Abbas Butt, Chairman of Kashmir National Party, about this. In his opinion, ‘Indian government encourage people to abandon militancy and join political struggle; and once they become political activists all their past crimes are forgiven.’ He said, ‘There are many examples of this policy. Yasin Malik abandoned militancy and he is promoted as a popular political leader despite his past militant background. Similarly Javed Mir was a Commander in Chief of the JKLF; and once he abandoned militancy, his past was also ignored and authorities allowed him to pursue his political activities. There are many more people in this category’.
Abbas Butt further said, ‘This means the Indian government does not kill political leaders. Abdul Ghani Lone and Mirwaiz Farooq were killed and India was accused of their murders; but recently Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat, a senior separatist Kashmiri leader revealed that they were not killed by India, but they were killed by our “own people”’.
In Abbas Butt’s view, ‘Both India and Pakistan have similar policies on Jammu and Kashmir, as both are interested in territory and resources of Jammu and Kashmir. However, India might like to settle for the status quo, but Pakistan wants more territory and control of water resources.’
Whatever the reasons for India’s policy of ignoring past crimes of Bitta Karate, historical facts prove that senior JKLF leaders betrayed the struggle of Maqbool Butt, as they became a tool of Pakistani agencies. However, they were successful in making many of their members believe that by taking money and arms from Pakistani agencies they have not compromised their ideology and that it is a pro movement act. Despite their propaganda machinery and help of Pakistani agencies, I am sure verdict of history will be different; and the JKLF and its top leadership will always carry a tag and heavy baggage.
Writer is a leader of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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