What’s the Kashmir issue?

Okay so plebiscite is the solution for Kashmir : that’s the argument that almost every Kashmiri Muslim out there, supporting the Hizb-ul -Mujahideen gang is upto. My sympathies with the people who have been through atrocities in the valley. It’s quite obvious that there were some flaws from the Indian Army side too, the level of atrocities, killings and officials not answerable for their acts thanks to the AFSPA in the state.
Going back to history and thinking “rationally”, we’ll have to look at what happened initially. AFSPA or Kashmiri pundits being killed?
On Jan, 04, 1990, a local Urdu newspaper, Aftab, published a press release issued by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, asking all Pandits to leave the Valley immediately. These warnings were followed by Kalashnikov-wielding masked Jehadis carrying out military-type marches openly. Reports of killing of Kashmiri Pandits continued to pour in. Bomb explosions and sporadic firing by militants became a daily occurrence.

Explosive and inflammatory speeches being broadcast from the public address systems of the mosques became frequent. Thousands of audio cassettes, carrying similar propaganda, were played at numerous places in the Valley, in order to instill fear into the already terrified Kashmiri Pandit community. Recalling these events, the former Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Shri M M Khajooria says, “The mischief of the summer of 1989 started with serving notice to the prominent members of the minority community to quit Kashmir.

The letter said,

We order you to leave Kashmir immediately, otherwise your children will be harmed- we are not scaring you but this land is only for Muslims, and is the land of Allah. Sikhs and Hindus cannot stay here’.
The threatening note ended with a warning, ‘If you do not obey, we will start with your children. Kashmir Liberation, Zindabad.
These slogans, broadcast from the loud speakers of every mosque, numbering roughly 1100.They signaled the implementation of their intentions quite blatantly. M. L. Bhan of Khonmoh, Srinagar, a government employee, was killed on Jan 15, 1990. Baldev Raj Dutta, an operator in Lal chowk, Srinagar, was kidnapped on the same day. His dead body was found four days later, on Jan 19, 1990, at Nai Sarak, Srinagar.The body bore tell-tale marks of brutal torture.Night of Jan, 19, 1990As the night fell, the microscopic community became panic-stricken when the Valley began reverberating with the war-cries of Islamists, who had stage-managed the whole event with great care; choosing its timing and the slogans to be used. A host of highly provocative, communal and threatening slogans, interspersed with martial songs, incited the Muslims to come out on the streets and break the chains of ‘slavery’. These exhortations urged the faithful to give a final push to the Kafir in order to ring in the true Islamic order. These slogans were mixed with precise and unambiguous threats to Pandits.They were presented with three choices — Ralive, Tsaliv ya Galive (convert to Islam, leave the place or prish). Tens of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims poured into the streets of the Valley, shouting  ‘death to India’ and death to Kafirs.

All male Muslims, including their children and the aged, wanted to be seen to be participating in this Jehad. Those who had organized such a show of force in the middle of a cold winter night, had only one objective; to put the fear of death into the hearts of the already frightened Pandits.

Most of the Kashmiri Muslims behaved as if they did not know who the Pandits were.
For the first time after independence of India from the British rule, Kashmiri Pandits found themselves abandoned to their fate, stranded in their own homes, encircled by rampaging mobs.Through the frenzied shouts and blood-curdling sloganeering of the assembled mobs, Pandits saw the true face of intolerant and radical Islam.The “very sage” (pure sarcasm) Central Government was caught napping and its agencies in the State, particularly the army and other para military forces, did not consider it necessary to intervene, in the absence of any orders. The State Government had been so extensively subverted that the skeleton staff of the administration at Srinagar (the winter capital of the State had shifted to Jammu in November 1989) decided not to confront the huge mobs. Delhi was too far away, anyway.Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits phoned everyone in authority at Jammu, Srinagar and Delhi, to save them from the sure catastrophe that awaited them. The pleadings for help were incessant. But not a soldier came to their rescue. Therefore, Kashmiri Pandits found best protection in huddling together indoors, frozen with fear, praying for the night to pass.The Pandits could see the writing on the wall. If they were lucky enough to see the night through, they would have to vacate the place before they met the same fate as Tikka Lal Taploo and many others.  By morning, it became apparent to Pandits that Kashmiri Muslims had decided to throw them out from the Valley. Broadcasting vicious Jehadi sermons and revolutionary songs, interspersed with blood curdling shouts and shrieks, threatening Kashmiri Pandits with dire consequences, became a routine ‘Mantra’ of the Muslims of the Valley, to force them to flee from Kashmir.

Some of the slogans used were:
“Zalimo, O Kafiro, Kashmir harmara chod do”.
(O! Merciless, O! Kafirs leave our Kashmir)
“Kashmir mein agar rehna hai, Allah-ho-Akbar kahna hoga”
(Any one wanting to live in Kashmir will have to convert to Islam)

In the words of Kashmiri Pundit Sahil Chatta on what does he feel about Kashmiri freedom movement, he says :

Kashmiri Pandits consider it to be unjust and misguided.

The Kashmiri freedom movement rests on the pillars of exclusivity that stems from an almost fanatic intolerance to anyone who opposes it. The Kashmiri Pandits were seen as pro India and hence forced to leave. Any Indian support in the valley is quelled either by killing those who do or by propaganda that seeks to demonize the entire Indian establishment and glorify an imaginary sense of self gratification of Kashmiri society and its values. This creates a domino effect that prevents the Kashmiri society from moving on.

There are incidents that make us sad too. The desecrated temples, burnt houses and gradual removal of traces of our identity that were once a constituent of the Kashmiri identity.

Calling Hari Parbat as Koh-e-Maran, stone pelting at pilgrims to Tulmul, refusing to accept and respect Hindu culture and ancestry and terming it as savage and inferior, this is how most Kashmiri Pandits see Kashmir as.

I am sympathetic to the suffering of Kashmiri Muslims living in the valley and strongly condemn all events that are a cause of it, but the general opinion among Pandits is that they have brought this upon themselves.

Personally, I treasure my Kashmiri identity and donning it as a national one seems like a romanticized idea. However, a reality check is brought about by a thought of living in a place where people are so gullible, orthodox and hypocritical that I surely will have to fight every day for my social, cultural rights, and the right to dissent without being killed by a militant group or being branded a Mukhbir or a Kaffir.

I don’t want to live in an Islamic Republic of Kashmir and Kashmir is more than the jagir of one religion. I want people to judge me by the deeds I do, not the religion I follow.

Indian society, no matter how many flaws it has and challenges it faces, assures me that.

To wrap it up, no Kashmiri Pandit can support the freedom movement of Kashmir.

So for the Hizbul sympathizers, he is a proclaimed “freedom fighter” for their people, about how “plebiscite” was offered to them by Nehru and he never reverted back to him promise. What we understand from accounts and incident above is the much asked “plebiscite” was actually offered to the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir. This Jammu and Kashmir consisted of the illegally occupied POK too. The thing is why wasn’t the plebiscite conducted.

Till now what we talked about was an aftermath of 1990. Let’s take a rational picture. Going back to 1947. When the instrument of accession was signed by Raja Hari Singh, the people of J&K told that he wasn’t actually their representative, more because they had a kind of a “revolt” against the king. Moroever, a chunk of the Muslim population from the valley (who were apparently converted Hindus, infact most of the Muslims you’ll find in the valley fighting for the independence of Kashmir are converted Muslims), who because of the proximity to Pakistan and also having close ties with similar culture went on to declare that when plebiscite happens irrespective of what has followed thanks to the instrument of accession, they’ll opt for Pakistan.

Kashmir’s Pro Pakistan sentiment starts gaining moment while India was seen as ‘unwanted guest brought in by tyrannical ruler’. In 1950’s Pro Pakistan sentiment in Kashmir was immense. Kashmir had changed their clocks according to Pakistani time to express their deep love and desire for Pakistan. They even told their grandchildren to come to their grave and announce it the day when Kashmir merges with Pakistan. All this made India hesitant to conduct a plebiscite.

1987 elections – The turning point → Kashmiris opted for a “constitutional” way for their right to self determination. The political party which had an agenda of plebiscite was winning. However India rigged elections in Kashmir. This is called by some as most darkest nights in history of democracy. Further instead of apologizing, India started a crackdown on protesters and the leaders of that party. They were tortured, imprisoned and what not.Between 1987 to 1989 entire Kashmir was burning with rage. This pushed Kashmiris who had earlier asked plebiscite in constitutional way to wall and gave Pakistan a golden chance to sponsor cross border armed rebellion. Kashmiris are responsible too as they reacted in a violent way after this.

As Gandhi says, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”

What we need to understand here is though we have sympathies for the Kashmiri Muslims who die on a daily basis because of the AFPSA enacted, but we also have our INDIAN ARMY losing some of its best soldiers too. I mean, it takes two to clap with one hand.

First thing first, even if you want a plebiscite, include the whole of Jammu and Kashmir. Give two options, either to join Indian Union or Pakistan. Again, this plebiscite should be conducted only after the displaced Kashmiri Pundits (3-4 lac in number) along with the whole of Jammu and the POK, with an independent organisation, without rigging and the armies from both the countries taking a back seat. Will the Kashmiris opt for this? NO – NEVER! Why???

POK is not happy joining/being a part of Pakistan. If you think they are and are a Kashmiri sympathizer, I pity you and want you to look at this :

Truth of freedom in PoK (“Azad Kashmir”)

People of PoK oppose Pakistan’s illegal occupation of their homeland

This is where our enemy – the great hypocrisy comes. People in Kashmir think that this thing can be solved “democratically” by allowing a referendum, but what about a chunk of the population which was displaced from Kashmir just for personal gains. What about the people there who instead of learning from UPSC rankers 1 and 2 from the very own valley of Kashmir go on to support a terrorist organisation like “Hizbul Mujahideen”? For the ignorants, who’ll call them an “armed rebel group”, here’s the link about how USA accepts them a terrorist organisation.

: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/45313.pdf

Any person who joins this organisation is a threat to the world community. Pakistan based terrorism groups have killed a lot of common Indian folks including Kashmiris. No history can justify those killings. A political problem requires a political solution and this does not involve going and joining a Pakistan supported terror group.

So what’s the solution?  Let’s see the practical aspects:

  1. An independent state of J&K would never be left alone by the powers around it. The present condition of the state is way better than any of the adjoining regions. Becoming another Afghanistan is not in the best interests of the more tolerant Kashmiri ethos. The people of the state find it much more safer as a part of India than a part of Pakistan or any of the adjoining countries.
  2. Besides the Muslim population, the state also has a large Hindu and Buddhist population. In case of an occupation by Pakistan, those populations would be decimated – similar to what happened in Sindh and Pakistani Punjab in 1947. The wholescale extermination of people is completely unacceptable.

In short, India has a strong moral ground and both Kashmiris and the rest of India find it comfortable with the present status quo. It is also fairly clear from our past experience that India leaving the state would cause more harm to the locals [especially Hindus and Buddhists and to some extent the Kashmiri Muslims as well] than India managing it. Yes, Indian government  has a lot to do for both Kashmiris and rest of Indians – from uninterrupted power to eliminating poverty – but those are socioeconomic issues not geopolitical ones.

In my opinion further, the solution doesn’t lie in giving it back to them. Partition in 1947 happened on religious lines. Partition again on the basis of religion (you cannot deny the fact that the chunk of Muslims and not all of them, who want to secede to Pakistan is because they are close to their religious ethnicity), will leave nothing but a failed state, yet again to be captured by some or the other power. We need to win hearts, we need to make sure the youth that has diverted from their path come back to what is needed for the development of the till now economically under developed state. When people from the valley come to Delhi, Mumbai and earn for their livings, our hopes rise. Hopes that a time may come, when Kashmiris will get that being with India is in their best interest.

Bulk of Kashmiri money is parked in New Delhi as real estate. But whether it is the PDP, Hurriyat, or the National Conference, all are equally corrupt. The hopes will come after ASSPA is repealed and the youth there are motivated. We need to motivate them that earning and making a living will help THEM turn the valley of Kashmir for it has always been known for. The ethos of it lies in its multi -ethnicity. Throwing stones, running after killing the jawans, WOULDN’T HELP. Same way, killing the innocent by the Jawans without being accountable for it WOULDN’T HELP EITHER.

The solution lies in finding the matching the frequency, the solution lies in winning hearts, the solution lies in economic development, the solution lies in building a trust : between Kashmir and the Union, between the locals and the Army, between the people of Kashmir and the people of India. Let’s help them gain the lost trust, not by abusing, but by motivating.