When India Visits Kashmir
By Sheikh Saaliq
28 October, 2012
It is not a question. In fact it is an answer to those who are and have been the core stakeholders of India’s visit to Kashmir now and then. It’s an answer to their silly statements. It’s an answer to their fake promises and most importantly it’s an answer to those who enjoy a sound sleep in Gupkar’s and tweet no different than Poonam Pandey, playing an important role in India’s visit to Kashmir.
Anyways, may it be the supremo of the so called largest democracy of the world or the next generation politicians, big business names or the Kings of their Bollywood, Kashmir was paid a visit by all of these in the year 2012. Still they are. I wonder what support India’s business tycoons can show to the Kashmir cause. Irony! In-fact India’s visits to Kashmir this year saw a rush. Sometimes India visited Kashmir for a solution, sometimes for strengthening bonds and sometimes for a shoot in the Gulmarg’s and Pahalgam’s under tight security. Just a few days back India visited Kashmir again, as a youth leader. This time to build a bridge: The Bridge of trust. The bridge which India wanted to build in a big Auditorium filled with a handpicked audience, on a decorated podium with barbed wires outside. Inside, under the tight security and escorted by marshals the Youth leader was leaving no stone unturned publicizing his party, his promises and his solution but outside Black flags were hoisted. The “Azadi” slogans reverberated again not before the future of the nation was caged in their classrooms. Snipers on the every possible roof top, just to ensure bridge was made as per plans. Everything happened as per the script. No questions, No queries and no answers even. Kashmir’s beauty was praised, photos were clicked, economic possibilities were discussed and the very next day, a grand breakfast at the Gupkar’s. They forgot the bridge.
India was the same all over again. They promise to build bridges even when there are no waters. All promise outran performance. Useless commitments and promises were made, promises and hopes; but no plans.
After that India visited Kashmir again. This time stressing on the need to strengthen the fencing on the Line of Control (LoC) to ensure zero infiltration and asking the Jammu and Kashmir Government to give sense of security to Panchayat representatives, and Kashmiri Pandits. A high profile meet was summoned and as always same answers. “We promise to take more solid measures”. The promises which were never fulfilled! India left for Shikara rides and Mughal Garden views. In-fact phones were Jammed as always, taking in consideration that no attack will take place. Then India had to visit the famous Hazratbal shrine.
Arrangements were made, security was beefed up and under the cover of ordnances and 200 odd guards India paid obeisance at the shrine. As always India was kissed on hands, on cheeks and on forehead by the “Mutawali” (Care Taker) of the shrine who is already well known for the gay acts with one of the Kashmir’s stakeholder with center. Then India desired to visit the Historical “Ghanta Ghar” (Clock tower) in the city center Lal chowk. The demand had to be fulfilled. It was the master’s orders. The whole city center was cordoned off before an hour taking all the residents and shop owners by a surprise. The 15 minute visit by India meant an hour long traffic jam in the main shopping hub of Kashmir, high level frisking to the locals and the passerby’s thus irking them and of course jamming mobile networks. India purchased some handicrafts. They forgot the promises.
Even apart from any political personality of India visiting Kashmir, things don’t seem to change any bit. From Ambani’s to the Khans, it’s only a common Kashmiri which has to pay. In a tourist season a Kashmiri is barred to visit the Pahalgam’s. Why? Just because their King of Bollywood is shooting there under tight vigil and security and a common Kashmiri can’t go that way because the state government has ordered to cordon that area off. A common Kashmiri is no more worth than an alien who enjoys grand security and is welcomed by every possible administrator of the state. Even press conferences are also given under the shade of tight security in the Lalit’s but in between some teenagers are arrested and handcuffed in Public somewhere in the old city. No one can listen to the helpless cries of their mothers and sisters. How can they? They were busy making arrangements for the Khan’s. They forgot their duties.
Not only this year. Same has happened every year when India visits Kashmir. In fact Kashmiri’s are even asked to open their lunch boxes also and when asked why? They say it’s just a routine security check.
Jammed mobile networks and Internet, frisking at every possible corner, traffic jams, sudden cordons and a common Kashmiri caged in his own home.
Yes, this is what happens, When India visits Kashmir!
Sheikh Saaliq is a freelance Journalist from Kashmir. He runs an online news portal www.thevoxkashmir.com
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