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India In Oblivion

By Burhan Majid

05 September, 2011

Though India has invariably promised Kashmir, the fulfillment remains to be seen

For three successive years past 2011, Kashmir had tumultuous summers.
Curfews, Killings, protests dominated the period. Probably after 2002
the word Azadi (freedom) had almost disappeared in Kashmir, though
apparently. This was due to the sudden decline in the armed militancy
fighting Indian Government. So no one could have forecast what Kashmir
witnessed then barely after a gap of six years.

2008 was stirred by the land transfer order of the State Government
transferring 99 acres of forest land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine
Board(SASB) in the Kashmir valley, 2009 by the Shopian double rape and
murder case and 2010, being virtually the cataclysmic of all, by the
killing of a class 8th student when he was hit by a tear gas shell in
the city of Srinagar.

Without embellishing this piece any further, the fact of the matter
remains that India has not addressed the genuine aspirations of the
Kashmiri people. From UN resolutions to myriad pledges made by her
hitherto, India’s character has ever been blemished. Yet again it
appears that the record thronging to Boulevard and Pahalgam has driven
her into oblivion.

When Kashmir was on boil last year, which killed 118 youth, New Delhi
made tall claims of resolving the problem. Statements after statements
came from New Delhi assuring the masses of paying heed to their
grievances. But no sooner the Kashmiris resumed their routine life in
the last quarter of the year, the claims by New Delhi turned hollow
rather a mere sham.

New Delhi could only come up with a team of interlocutors which is
neither new nor a sure-fire solution. In fact the State has been a
succession of them over the past two decades, beginning with the
goodwill visit of an all party delegation led by Rajiv Gandhi in March
1990 at the beginning of the militancy. This was followed by a series
of appointments of interlocutors by the Indian Government. Even the
present Government at Centre held two roundtable conferences, one in
February 2006 and the second in May of that year. However at the end
of the day, one finds that nothing had come up for Kashmir.

Now New Delhi may be pointing to the recent panchayat elections held
in Kashmir besides the record rush of tourists as “normalcy”. They
might also be thinking that the incidents in Kulgam and Sopore failed
to bring people on the streets on a wide scale. In Kulgam a 32 year
old woman was allegedly abducted and raped by the personnel of Indian
Army and in Sopore a 28 year old youth lost his life while in police
custody. Sure then, New Delhi is fishing in troubled waters. New
Delhi must mind that Kashmir is like a smouldering fire and can erupt
anytime if India continues to remain defiant.

Does absence of manifest violence mean normalcy?

The alienation among the people increases day by day owing to the
indifferent approach of New Delhi viz-a-viz Kashmir. The recent
remarks by the Amnesty International, an international watchdog
fighting rights violations, speak volumes on how India acts on
Kashmir. The Watchdog termed the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act
as a “lawless law” under which it said hundreds of people are held
each year without charge or trial. Also recently the eminent Supreme
Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani likened Kashmir with Nazi Germany. He
accused India of atrocities in Kashmir which were even unheard of in
the Nazi Germany. And mind it I am not a political supporter of
Jethmalani. But the words he spoke, he spoke reason. As a democracy,
India must feel ashamed of it. Sarcastically the youth in Kashmir
continue to be booked under the same Act.

When you will not allow people exercise their rights, express their
voices, the rebellion is inevitable. And in the present day globalised
and technological age when you go to the extent of banning the
messaging services on mobile phones, charge people for exchanging
their views on social networking sites, that is ridiculous and quite
unbecoming of a democracy which claims to be the largest on earth. And
this approach epitomizes the aggression by a State on its people.

Now enough is enough. Don’t wait for the day when Kashmir would brace
for another summer. New Delhi must embark upon some actual political
appeasement rather than a mere terminological one which has been the
rule till now. New Delhi must address the issue both within its Union
and outside. I stress “outside” for Pakistan constitutes a valid party
to the dispute at the international scene.

And lastly but not the least, why Kashmir should be made a hostage to
the irritations which exist between the two nuclear powers on issues
having no nexus with it.

(Burhan Majid is a researcher at Faculty of Law, University of
Kashmir, can be reached at burhan.mjd@gmail.com)



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