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Is Egypt Revolution Parallel To Kashmir Protests?

By Fahad Shah

19 February, 2011

To draw parallels between the Egypt revolution and Kashmir freedom movement is inevitable but; is Valley ready for something alike. No doubt the last summer protests in Valley were wholly led by zealous pro-freedom public. Leaders from all groups were left aside; they just followed the public lines. The current situation of Valley so far seems to be peaceful but mere a small incident can spark off a yearlong unrest.

The call for recent Egypt like struggle in Kashmir was endorsed by moderate chairman of anti-India party Hurriyat conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. He said, “If we continue our struggle peacefully and exhibit discipline and unity, with Allah’s grace, we too will meet our goal. We need to follow and learn from Egypt.” While referring to the last three year protests, Mirwaiz said, “We too resorted to peaceful struggle for the past three years to press for our genuine and just demands, but were fired upon. And extreme suppression was resorted to by the state to muzzle the voice raised by the people.”

So how much similarity is between Kashmir and Egypt?

Whether Kashmir is a dispute or not but India has been countering a grave rebellion since 1989 when the youth took over foreign arms to liberate Jammu and Kashmir. Last summer more than 110 civilians were killed by state forces while controlling the unarmed protesters on streets. Most among the killed were below 20 of age. With the continuous police crackdown on protestors since many months most of the people opine it is impossible for Valley to rise again.

Though, Year has started with killings and protests too but at mild pace. On the evening of 31 January, suspected militants dragged two teenaged sisters Akhtara, 18, and Arifa, 16, out of their home in Muslimpeer, Sopore- 35 kilometres northwest of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, and shot them dead in cold blood just some distance away. After some hours the Police claimed it was carried out by a Pakistan based militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Toiba and named two of their cadres, Muzaffar Naikoo alias Muz Maulvi and Waseem Ganai. The United Jehad Council in Pakistan administered Kashmir (UJC) refuted the police claim.

The sister duo was accused of “immorality” and “being informers”; nearly no one other than some locals protested against the killings. This grave incident at the dawn of a challenging year for government couldn’t call for protests. Though, it raised only some ritual condemnations from some groups.

In the current situation of Valley where killing of two teenage sisters just leaves a shade mark, will it be intellectual debate to draw parallels between Egypt revolution and Kashmir movement. Some voices may opine negative but still the locals are excited about Egypt’s success. However, although being reluctant and negative to people’s demands, India has started dialogue process with several groups of state.

But when own siblings will take the path of on-ground-wishes, what will Indian dialogue party deliver?

It was the mainstream political party of state, Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti drawing parallels between the Egyptian struggle and the last summer Kashmir protests. “We have a similarity with Egypt as they were fighting for democracy and we are fighting in spite of the democracy since the past 63 years,” she said.

Immediately after the statement of this opposition leader, the state chief Minister, Omar Abdullah replied back through his Twitter, “Mehbooba Mufti calls for Kashmiris to replicate Egypt. Seems she wants Army rule as well since her party is in [the] Opposition now,” Abdullah posted on Twitter. While after Egypt President, Hosni Mubarak stepped down, Abdullah tweeted: “With the hope that Egypt wakes up to a promise of a government they deserve and we continue to wake up in peaceful surroundings.”
Leaving no stone unturned to hold the government; Abdullah drives the state amid strong criticism of opposition parties. He returned to his Twitter and exchanges with people on state issues. Egypt revolution erupted through social networking sites like these but Abdullah keeps his political stand firm that state will be peaceful this this year. It is for everyone to see whether there is any resemblance between Kashmir movement and Egypt revolution or not? As the days are climbed towards summer people seem curious about the future.

Fahad Shah is a freelance journalist from Srinagar, Kashmir. He has worked in leading English dailies and monthly magazines of the Valley. He also contributes in openDemocracy, Viewpoint and runs his own website www.thekashmirwalla.com.




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