ESPOUSING ‘KASHMIR CAUSE’ THE HURRIYAT WAY
Though one never ceases to hear our leaders lamenting on the indifference of the international community towards the Kashmir problem and the plight of its people, we seldom ever hear of them getting together to sit down and seriously contemplate on why this is so. On the contrary, it seems that by merely complaining to all and sundry about the sorry state of affairs and putting together ‘grand conspiracy’ theories, they think that they have done their job. And every time someone sympathises with us or chastises New Delhi for its imperious dealings in Kashmir, they tell us that this is an indisputable indication that the world community has ‘finally’ taken notice of our plight. Unfortunately, even though we have now been hearing this for years, we have not yet seen anyone doing anything about it. So, having created a unique world of ‘self- pity’ for us and by making us believe that crying and complaining will someday get us our ‘right to self determination’, we continue to live in a world of dreams, completely oblivious to the harsh reality, which suggests otherwise!
To say that the present road – map of the ‘right to self determination’ movement (if indeed one exists) lacks direction, may sound unkind, but is unfortunately true. And this is because our leaders have consistently failed to keep up with the times and continue to remain fixated on antiquated issues, even though the significance of many of which have reduced over the years. The problem is further aggravated by their propensity for publicity and spontaneity that often results in hastily issued statements, which lack in both substance and reasoning and are thus not very convincing. And the recent meeting of the Hurriyat (G) Chairman SAS Geelani with David Hamilton, First Secretary for Political and Economical Affairs at Canadian High Commission in New Delhi is just a case in point. From newspaper reports, one gathers that during this meeting, the Hurriyat (G) Chairman told the First Secretary of the Canadian High Commission that:
Ø “India has started raising the Taliban bogey to justify its control on Jammu and Kashmir. They are raising unnecessary hue and cry about the Taliban to justify the atrocities being perpetrated on the innocent people of Kashmir.”
Ø “Kashmir has been accepted as a dispute pending solution at international forums but the Government of India at times projects it as a law and order problem and is now trying to get Taliban factor in between to mislead the international community,”
Ø “The Government of India is on prowl to loot J&K’s resources. It deteriorated the state economy, which has resulted in unemployment among youth.”
Ø “We have ample water recourses and electricity but all these resources are being utilised for Indian states leaving Jammu & Kashmir in worst economic crisis.”
Ø “Millions of hectares of land have been forcibly occupied by Indian forces.”
Ø “Five lac labourers from other states of India have been pushed into valley and this has badly affected and influenced the local social fabric and culture besides increasing unemployment among local artisans and workers.”
Ø “Indian authorities have its multidimensional programme to influence and distort the freedom sentiment and dilute the Kashmir issue.”
Ø “Indian agencies have made the educational institutions their launching pad for malicious initiatives. They with their sinister designs are hell-bent to influence the youth. For this purpose, educational system is their prime target. They with their evil intention are promoting waywardness and even drug addiction among youth is being encouraged.”
At the first glance, the Hurriyat (G) Chairman’s statements appear to be a forthright and comprehensive exposé of New Delhi’s sinister designs in Kashmir, which would certainly compel Canada to support the people of Kashmir. However, if one analyses the allegations made by the Hurriyat (G) Chairman carefully, then a completely different picture emerges, as we find that:
Ø While New Delhi has cleverly manipulated the raising of ‘Taliban Bogey’ through the media and analysts, it has itself refrained from issuing any official statement on this subject. On the contrary, it is the Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Omar Farook, who after his Pakistan visit in December last year, made a statement cum veiled threat that if the Kashmir dispute was not resolved before US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, then, “Taliban spill- over with impact beyond Kashmir” was inevitable. So, even while the Hurriyat (G) Chairman may say that there is ‘no role’ for the Taliban in Kashmir, the international community seems to have taken the earlier statement made by the Mirwaiz quite seriously. And the very fact that the Canadian First Secretary should have posed this question to the Hurriyat (G) Chairman proves the same.
Ø The Hurriyat (G) Chairman is absolutely right when he says, “the Government of India at times projects it (Kashmir issue) as a law and order problem.” However, his claim that New Delhi “is now trying to get Taliban factor in between to mislead the international community,” would find no takers as New Delhi has cleverly avoided any mention that could possibly link the “Taliban factor” with Kashmir and instead spoken about ‘sponsored’ and ‘cross – border’ terrorism. And when the United Jihad Council chief and Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Sallaudin has himself made a statement that “we (the Hizbul Mujahideen) are fighting Pakistan’s war in Kashmir,” then how does the Hurriyat (G) Chairman expect the Canadian First Secretary to believe that there is no ‘law and order’ problem in Kashmir? And if Kashmiri and Pakistani militant groups are already fighting in Kashmir, then logically speaking, what stops the Taliban from entering the fray?
Ø That the Government of India is “on prowl to loot J&K’s resources” may be a good point for rallying domestic support. However, the budget allocations made to J&K by New Delhi (details of which are in public domain), belie the fact that Kashmir is being plundered. Therefore, one cannot expect the international community to believe this accusation or that the same has resulted in unemployment amongst the youth and created the “worst economic crisis” in Jammu & Kashmir. As regards the “forcible occupation of land by Indian forces,” since no mass eviction of people from their homes has ever been reported, the likelihood that this charge will be taken seriously is also extremely remote.
Ø In a world order that encourages free movement of people and fair employment opportunities for all, the statement that “Five lac labourers from other states of India have been pushed into valley and this has badly affected and influenced the local social fabric and culture besides increasing unemployment among local artisans and workers,” appears regressive and discriminatory. Such utterances are dangerous as they may convey a wrong impression that the Kashmiris are not an open and accommodative community.
Ø I am not very sure whether the Canadian First Secretary would agree with the Hurriyat (G) Chairman’s perception regarding New Delhi’s “multidimensional programme to influence and distort the freedom sentiment and dilute the Kashmir issue” through the educational system, especially since the same curriculum being followed in schools all over India. And if the international community does take notice of the Hurriyat (G) Chairman’s archaic views on co-education and co – curricular activities, then I’m afraid there won’t be many who would stand by him on this issue.
Ø Whether the world community agrees with the Hurriyat (G) Chairman’s assertion that New Delhi is “promoting waywardness” and encouraging “drug addiction among youth,” is a mute point and this accusation appears to be nothing more than an attempt by the separatist conglomerate to cover-up its own failure in fulfilling its societal responsibilities. And by blaming New Delhi, the Hurriyat is conveying to the international community that it has abdicated its social responsibilities, which in itself puts a big question mark on this conglomerate’s claim of being the ‘true’ representatives of the Kashmiris.
As far as the Kashmir issue is concerned, the bitter truth is that, while occasional doses of sympathy or sporadic expression of solidarity by the international community may provide reasons for temporary optimism, but in practical terms, these are mere gestures, which amount to nothing. And in the absence of any concrete roadmap or unanimity in approach for steering the movement for the ‘right to self determination’, nothing but a miracle can help us attain what we have been striving for all these years. Unfortunately, miracles don’t happen very often nowadays!