On 13th December, 2001, 5 men armed with gun infiltrated the compound of the parliament house of India. One of them was wearing a suicide vest. All the men were shot dead by the security forces. Five policemen, a parliament security guard and a gardener were killed. No politician was hurt.
In relation to this event, ultimately, a Kashmiri named Afjal Guru was hanged in new Delhi in Tihar jail on February 9, 2013. As Afjal was deemed a Kashmiri freedom fighter and there were theories of unfair trial of his case, the Government feared that the Kashmiri populace will erupt in protests. The Government imposed a curfew which lasted for a week and during which Kashmir was socially almost cut off from rest of the world. Internet services were banned, newspapers and TV channels were banned and banned was life too. In the clashes between the supporters nad the forces, 100 were injured and 3 were killed.
The curfew was lifted gradually over a week from most parts of the state. Only the most sensitive areas like Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian were still under curfew. What was affected worst was the life of a common Kashmiri. Imagine a situation in which you are sacked in your house with reducing ration, no TV, no newspaper, no internet, no phone. Is this a life expected for a human being living in a country which claims to be world’s largest democracy?
“Our main business is tourism,” said a taxi driver from Gulmarg, “who will come to a place that is strife-ridden? We had been sleeping with half empty stomachs for a long time and now it looks like we will have to do it again.” (http://tribune.com.pk/story/508534/blocking-information-curfew-finally-lifted-in-kashmir-valley/)
And what type of freedom these so called separatist leaders are demanding? Who says Kashmir in not free? If you say that Kashmir is not free, so are the rest of the states of India. Imagine Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan demanding freedom from India. The populace of these states elects its own government from among its own people. So does the Kashmiri populace (and if not, it has every right to do so). Where is the concept of a nation state in the movement run by the separatists when they have expelled one of its own ethnic groups on the basis of religion. You oppose the totalitarian rule of Indian Government and you yourself aim towards creating one. What bigotry is this?
Lets examine the possible futures for kashimr.
Possibility 1: Kashmir joins Pakistan.
It’s a horrible thing even to imagine. Not for India…for Kashmiri people. You are joining an almost failed state surviving on foreign aides and limping due to the actions of home grown terrorist organizations. More over, culturally, the Punjabi Muslims and the other clans such as Pathans and the Afridis will never accept the Kashmiri Muslims as their equals. And I am not saying this for nothing. Whole Bangladesh issue if based on the same fact. The population of western Pakistan never gave equal status to the dark Bengali Muslims, reffering to them as ‘Bhaat Khors’ ( the rice eaters.) .And when the Bengalis revolted, the Pakistani Army left no stones unturned in crushing them. Who can forget the 1971 Bangladesh Genocide.
Yahya Khan said to the journalist Robert Payne on 22 February 1971: “Kill three million of them, and the rest will eat out of our hands.”
This is Pakistan for you gentlemen.
Possibility 2: Kashmir becomes independent.
Lets have a look at the neighbors of an independent Kashmir.
Afghanistan: Americans are already leaving.
Pakistan: Hopeless situation, fighting for its own survival.
China: Hidden Dragon, wily expansionist.
India: What do you expect from India after feasting on its resources for 40 years and then revolting against it?
Economically, Kashmir’s only industry is tourism. Today, whole India wants to travel Kashmir and its exotic locations but they are not ablr to. In fact, Indians are the only one which can pour money in Kashmir if they are allowed to freely travel the vale. But in case of a separation, I can hardly imagine a possibility of Indian people traveling Kashmir. How will an independent Kashmir survive? Its masses will remain as poor, as downtrodden, as unemployed as they are today…or even more in future.
Possibility 3: Kashmir remains with india.
Once the insurgency stops, aides from Delhi pour in. Tourists from all over India pour in Kashmir. Universities all over India are thrown open for Kashmiris. No more struggle, no more blood a….a strong army defending you on all frontiers . A lot more opportunities of employment and a raised standard of living. Yes India has its own quota of problems….but its one of the fastes growing economies also.
The people of Kashmir need to understand that the best of their futures are with India. You are not GHULAM… you are as AAZAD as any nation and any state of the modern world. Do you not want your streets bustling with with tourists bargaining with you for your handicrafts, your sons and daughters having education in fine Universities and getting employed in top companies? Or do you want blood on those streets and your sons and daughter being greeted with a sense of suspicion wherever they go?
If the valley of Kashmir today decides to clam down and think, they will find that behind the furious oratory and demagoguery of the leaders, there is a lust for power. They are not thinking for your future, they are thinking for themselves. They are not thinking for your sons and daughters…they are thinking for their own ones.
If the valley turns peaceful today, it will again turn into a valley of dreams. A common Indian will again be able to dream to spend the most romantic of the nights of his life on a shikara on the Dal Lake. They snowladen peaks will once again be full of skiers and the poets who are writing the poems of blood and guns will once again be able to try writing about they beauty of the vale. The valley will once again be the valley of which the name a dying Shehenshaah Jahangir uttered as his last words. He did not say the name of Allah or any one else. Instead he said… “ OH KASHMIR”.
Its on the people of Kashmir to decide what type of life they choose…..hope they choose the best one.
So this was the story of Kashmir for you. Read all the 8 parts of the PARADISE LOST series published previously and keep visiting.
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