In an unprecedented development the Jammu & Kashmir Government permitted on July 18, a massive pro-Pakistan meeting in the heart of Srinagar held by known Islamists, ignoring warnings from India'sIntelligence Services that such a step could lead to a disempowerment of state authority. A weak-kneed government in Delhi has to be called to order. It has, for all practical purposes, allowed the situation to get out of hand. With the departure of over three lakh Kashmiri Pundits from their homeland, Kashmir has, for all practical purposes, become a totally Islamic province and evidence of the Islamisation of the province is now becoming increasingly blatant.
Consider some of the disturbing events that were largely ignored in the past but are now becoming public knowledge. It is believed that conspiracies for removing all Indian symbols in Kashmir are now under implementation such as renaming of towns and roads with Muslim names, ?assalam valekum? replacing ?namaskar? as greetings by Srinagar Doordarshan, burning of the Indian Constitution and the tricolour, and time zones synchronising with Pakistan 8 time zones. The Kashmir language apparently is also being ?cleansed? of words of Sanskrit origin. Islamisation of the Kashmir Valley obviously is being undertaken at a rapid pace. The rest of India is being blissfully kept unaware of what is going on in the Vale. Kashmir Vale, it is important to remember is hardly one eighth the total area of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, but in all these sixty odd years it is the Vale that has been hogging all attention.
The State never in all these six decades has had a Jammu or Ladakh leader as ?Prime Minister? of the state. It is as if Jammu and Ladakh are of no consequence and can be conveniently ignored. This is one of the reasons why there was such a flare-up over the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board and the 40 hectares of forest land given to it to meet the needs of pilgrims on a temporary basis. The slow Islamisation of Kashmir was well planned and carried out step by step. We now learn that in place of the Sanskritised Kashmiri language, Persianised Urdu has been made the official language. One heard visitors to Srinagar saying that they frequently had to listen to insulting slogans like ?Indian dogs, go back?.
Mehbooba Mufti has been quoted as saying what is wrong with using dual currency in Kashmir which is a not-so-subtle way of doing the groundwork for accustomising Kashmiris to the Pakistan rupee. Mehbooba has been quoted as saying that there could be nothing wrong with permitting the return of former militants from across the border back to Kashmir and rehabilitating them and in asking for the reduction of Indian troops. There is nothing subtle about Mehbooba'sdemands but then one can very well ask what is wrong with re-settling migrant Kashmir Pundit families in the homes they had been forced to desert.
Even without the presence of militants, Kashmir is on fire now. The tragedy is that both the Centre and the Kashmir state government seem to be clueless while the separatists are allowed to run havoc in Srinagar and elsewhere. And the blame rests fair and square on the UPA government as indeed on past Congress governments for giving into questionable demands made by past Kashmir governments in shameless acts of appeasement. If in 1942 a British government could take the Congress heads on over the quit Indian issue arresting an entire band of leaders starting with no less than Mahatma Gandhi and get away with it, surely the UPA government can handle the separatists limited to a small land area which is the Vale of Kashmir?
What is the UPA government afraid of? How far are we to watch secularism being turned into a standing joke? Mehbooba Mufti wants Delhi to reduce the strength of its Armed Forces in Kashmir which surely it would do if there is an understanding that the separatists will give up on their demands and act as responsible Indian citizens. One of the Hurriyat leaders made the point that all that the Kashmiri people want is to govern themselves. Isn'tthat what they are currently doing? They have more autonomy than they deserve. Delhi is doing no service either to Kashmir or to the country at large by giving in meekly to separatist demands. It is not that all the Kashmiri Muslims want separation.
The leader of the Socialistic Democratic Party of Jammu, Darakhshan Andrabi is quoted as saying that she will ?help Jammu forget all feelings of hurt and launch a rally from Lal Chowk to Lal Qila with the Tricolour?. Leaders of the Rashitriya Muslim Front in Pathankot have urged Muslim leaders not to object to the handing over the land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. On the night of August 6, the Governor had set up a panel for holding talks with the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti.
One of its members, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Vice Chancellor of Jammu University put forth some steps to defuse the situation. He suggested: (a) the need for the Kashmir civil society to introspect and reflect on the Amarnath Yatra, a part and parcel of the Kashmir and their composite tradition for over a century; (b) recognition by the civil society of Jammu, of the substantial contribution of the Kashmiris to the sanctity of the yatras and the harmonious manner of the conduct of the pilgrimage for so many decades and (c) the launching of a dialogue between representatives of the Yatra Sangharsh Samiti and Kashmir Action Committee so as to bring about real reconciliation of hearts and minds. Meanwhile, the separatists, must be told firmly that no matter what terrorism they indulge in, the state of Jammu & Kashmir will remain part of India, that at no time will the state be trifurcated to form three separate states, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, that the India Armed Forces will continue to stay in large numbers in the State until such time peace is established not only between India and Pakistan, but inside Kashmir as well and that any violent revolt will be firmly put down.
And Delhi must show by positive action that it means what it says. Delhi should not hesitate to arrest any trouble-inciting leader if that is called for. Importantly, Delhi must warn the United States that it is incumbent on its part to rein in Pakistan which is known to be behind most of the trouble-making in the Vale. The UPA has been a miserable failure all through, during the last five years it has been in power. It must demand the sacking of fundamental Islamists many of whom run the Administration. A White Paper on Jammu and Kashmir is called for to clear all confusion in the running of the State. The disorder in the state can be brought under control, if the Government is serious about it. The time for action is Now.