“DENYING THE TRUTH DOESN’T CHANGE THE FACTS”
Are we living in 21st century? Our educational institutions are shut down. Silence of graveyard has overtaken the valley. It smells of gun powder emitted by pellet guns, bullets or tear gas. If there is intermittent cry, it is of an oppressed person or the wails of a mother who has lost her dear one. Jubilant laughter and smiles of carefree children are things of past. School going children have lost the addresses of their educational institutes. Colleges and universities will lose whatever little is left of them. Entire valley is not a prison house but a place around which iron carton as been drawn. Our leadership should understand that Indian States replies the stones of Kashmiri youth with bullets which kills our people. We cast accusations on world community that their conscience cannot be awoken to our plight?
Should we let ourselves be destroyed like that or should we think of a way out from this morass to save our young generations who would continue the struggle in a better manner? Now people are being punished collectively. Wherever security forces are not around, gangs of youth armed with stones attack people? By blinding the youth the government is actually blinding the soul of India.
Telephone, internet and connectivity with outside world remains shut down. We do not know what is happening in the world. After day-long demonstrations and stone throwing we wait to know from television channels what has happened during the day. We want to know if our news has been telecast. We wait for BBC and next morning we ask one another whether it spoke about our struggle or not?
Pakistani news casters flamboyantly speak about Kashmir to whip up our passions. They leave us licking our wounds and they go away to enjoy sumptuous dinner with their families discussing with their children about their education and business matters? To befool Kashmiris Pakistan deputed a 20-member delegation to world capitals to tell them about Indian atrocities in Kashmir. Although they are literate but do not have the capability of making the British, French, Germans and others understand the nitty-gritty of Kashmir issue. This is not what I am saying; this is what Pakistani media has been repeatedly saying.
However, Pakistan's army chief, Pir Sahib Salahud-Din and Hafiz Saeed have issued threatening. Feeling emboldened by these sensational utterances, gullible Kashmiri youth took up stones to hurl on forces and thus opened their breasts to the bursts of pallet guns in the hope that Pakistan will launch massive attack on Indian troops?
We have heard this rhetoric many times so far. We the freedom fighters had no misunderstanding about these hollow threats. But hopefully the Hurriyat will have come to the same conclusion also? Pakistan has been befooling us with many exciting slogans like religious sentiments, Islamic slogans and Shah Rag etc. Pakistan made the people a fool and nurtured a few among them as its stooges.
Two months have gone by and Pakistani army has not come to save us. Those who came are ISIS jihadis whose flags our people have been fluttering. Neither Lashkar nor Jamaat Islami has been able to save us from the oppression of Indian security forces.
My old driver came to me to wish me Eid greetings. He has sold his wife's ornaments and taken bank loan and bought a taxi. But for two months he is idle. There are no tourists and no work. He cannot come out with his taxi for fear of being stoned and his machine damaged. This apart, the loan he has taken from the bank is earning interest. This is true of hundreds of transporters. Now they have to borrow to keep themselves and their families alive. The condition of daily wagers, labourers, rickshaw pullers, Shikara wale and petty shopkeepers in Lal Chowk and elsewhere is pitiable. Despite all this leaders who give calls for strike are relentless and never think of new ways and strategies that would lessen the misery and plight of ordinary citizens. Are these leaders testing the patience of the people? Do they intend to hold the people and their future generation responsible for the failure of the movement?
I believe that be deploying security forces in each street and lane and by-lane, the government is inviting violence. Let security be deployed for public structures. The rest of it should be withdrawn to the barracks. Let people move about freely without the presence of security personnel around which serves them an irritant. Mobs will have no reason to throw stones. They have the right to freedom of movement, which if curbed, invites retaliation.
We do not deny any sacrifice but we ask guarantee from the pioneers of this movement whether they will guarantee success of the movement within six months or a year? Sacrifices are asked in the shape of telling students not to go to schools because azaadi round the corner; by telling people not to go to work because azaadi is going to dawn soon. We are told not to open the shops and tourists are not to come. All that they want is that we should take up stones in our hands and throw these on anybody or any object that comes in sight. In 2010 I wrote that damaging the windows or windscreen of a car or vehicle means you are helping Indian capitalist to make more money. With the money which you put in his pockets he will make a pallet gun and ammunition to destroy you. My argument was made an object of emotionalism.
By forcing shut down of schools are we not denying the light of education to our younger generation? The result will be that our homes will be filled with darkness of ignorance and illiteracy. What service are we rendering to the society by denying education to our school going kids? When we deny schools to our middle class students, it means we encourage them to take up stones and not books. Ambulances are made targets of vandalism. What an inhuman act. The bike of a cancer patient was torched in the road side. He was asked why he moved out of his house while civil curfew was imposed. His fervent plea that he was a cancer patient cut no ice with the goons. What do these leaders want to achieve by asking the people to move or not to move. How long can they keep a labourer, a wage earner away from the means of subsistence?
Ashraf Jahangir, once Pakistan foreign secretary and ambassador to India has written in his article on 16 September, published in GK that “Pakistan has no short term or long term Kashmir policy. He says that the Prime Minister should tell the nation that Kashmir cannot be won through war. Good relations shall have to be established with India and solve Kashmir through dialogue.”
I had always given sane and sensible suggestions on Kashmir conforming to the interests of Pakistan and Kashmiris but allegations were brought against those of us who tried to improve relations with India. We shall have to prove that we are an intelligent nation and in the light of the events of 2008, 2010 and now 2016 all the classes of our society shall have to make pragmatic assessment of our struggle and move forward keeping the international situation in mind and think and work along scientific methodology. You are always complaining that freedom loving countries have sealed their lips. Has the local leadership in the country treated the freedom movement along the norms of a national freedom movement?
You will have to ask questions to yourselves? The movement emanating from the killing of a HM commander has been hijacked by the Jamaat-i-Islami, Lashka-e-Taiyyaba, Daesh and Pro-Pak accessionists. Mosques are used for playing Pakistani songs and Islamic slogans. Flags of Pakistan, Jamaati Islami, Daesh and LeT are unfurled in public gatherings on roads and streets. We should understand that no movement in any part of the world received attention if it is allied to Islamic religion. Word calls it a terrorist movement, whether you like it or not? Entire world is up against ISIS ( Daesh) while in Kashmir we are making their flags as our symbol of freedom. By raising Pakistani flags what do we want to prove? Do we want to claim that we want plebiscite under the aegis of UN? Under the UN Resolution Pakistan has to “withdraw all of its fighting forces from the part of Kashmir including Gilgit and Baltistan and Azad Kashmir and let the administration be in the hands of Srinagar authority. India has withdrawn a bulk of its troops and remaining in the State under the control of the State authority and the UN Commission so that law and order is maintained for holding plebiscite” International decisions are not taken on the basis of wishful dreams. If we have the right to flutter Pakistani flags here in Kashmir, then any Kashmiri has the right to flutter Indian flag in Gilgit-Baltistan or Azad Kashmir according UN resolution?
Don’t forget that those who want to give you sincere and honest suggestions about the movement, you waste no time to call them traitors and agents. Those seeking freedom shall have to concede freedom to those also who want to talk them freely? It is too difficult to speak and write the truth in this atmosphere of surcharged emotions. The question is this: after carrying the dead bodies of so many people on shoulders to the graveyards and after allowing hundreds of youth to go blind by pallet gun fire, should we allow this macabre scene to continue or should we make introspection to find a way out of this morass? Should we continue to take bullets against stones? Should we continue to give calls for strikes that bring harm only to us? Should we continue to keep our schools, colleges and universities shut down and deprive our homes of the light of knowledge? Should we continue to become silent spectators of this self-imposed destruction? Or should we stop inflicting allegations on others, call the nation to debate the situation most seriously and consider whether we shall need to change our policy? If a nation tactically walks a step or two backward keeping in mind the situation that does not mean the defeat of the nation and its mission. What could not happen in 2008 happened in 2010 and what could not happen in 2012 happened in 2016. Likewise what did not happen in 2016 could happen sometime in future say in 2020 provided we have done meticulous planning?
I have to bring it to the notice of the readers, albeit with some pain, that in the course of the movement both the factions of Hurriyat had, in conjunction with JKLF, entrusted the leadership of the movement to three persons / However, the movement seemed nothing but pro-Pak accession movement. JKLF has not said a single word by way of protest against the hoisting of the flags of Pakistan or Daesh, leave aside giving a statement in rejection of it. It never uttered pro-azaadi slogan even once. The JKLF is nothing more than “sleeping partner in this union”. It was I who had twice said that black flags should be hoisted instead of flags of foreign countries.
Organizations and leaders have their individual agenda. They do not believe in not asking who is saying but in what is said.
“Gawah milta hai is ka na laash milti hain
log is liye “Ehsas” qatl karte hain.’’
This article was published in various Kashmiri, Indian and Pakistani newspapers.