WHILE there is no visible sign of normalcy returning to the Valley, Delhi is emerging as a battle ground between Kashmiri separatists supported by human rights outfits of doubtful integrity and Kashmiri Hindus committed to Indian nationalism and total integration of J&K with the rest of the country. SAR Geelani, a lecturer who was prosecuted for his involvement in Parliament attack conspiracy and the first thing he said after his release was that he would continue to fight for the “cause”, led the night-long sit-in at Jantar Mantar in the national capital the other day. Among the participants were students of Aligarh Muslim University and self-proclaimed “human rights” activists. Accusing the armed forces of violations of human rights, they demanded withdrawal of the Army from J&K to end the “repression and killings” of “innocent” Kashmiris. A small group of Kashmiri Pandits carrying placards reading “What about our human rights?” appeared on the scene and held a silent and peaceful demonstration some distance away.
This so enraged the self-proclaimed defenders of human rights that they came out in their true colours and raised slogans demanding azadi and Nizam-e-Mustafa. The police did nothing to stop the anti-national slogan mongering presumably on orders from the “above”. Nationalists didn’t allow the matter to rest there. Next day, J&K Vichar Manch led by T N Razdan and some other Kashmiri outfits held yet another peaceful demonstration at the same venue to denounce Union Government’s “soft” policy towards secessionists as reflected in assurances of financial packages for the Valley while turning a blind eye to the sufferings and agony of Kashmiri Hindus who are forced to live as refugees in their own country. They carried national flags and raised slogans like Bharat Mata ki Jai. Ironically, no one from amongst the secessionists was arrested but the police took into custody peaceful demonstrators demanding total integration of J&K with the rest of India.
Foreign-funded Human Rights industry’s claim that the State police and the CRPF were indulging in “excesses” that had led to snow-balling of mob violence since June 2010 is untenable. Stone pelting is a well-organised industry. Official figures disclosed by the Union Home Minister in Parliament say there had been 872 incidents of stone pelting in the Valley since June 11, in which 1,266 security personnel were injured. Unofficial figures mentioned in the media say 52 civilians lost their lives and that several hundred others were injured in clashes with police and security forces during the past two months. One is deeply hurt when even one innocent person, particularly a child, lose his or her life as it is a tragedy that affect not only the family concerned but also the society at large. The police need to be more careful to avoid such tragedies as human life is precious and also because such incidents provide ammunition to trouble mongers to incite mob violence. However, no objective observer will say that all the 52 who perished in the troubled Valley were innocent. Those who defy curfew and attack the police and CRPF by throwing bricks and stones can’t be treated as innocent victims. In countless cases, security forces opened fire on violent mobs only when their own lives were in peril. The right to defend one’s own life can’t be denied to security personnel who are fighting nation’s battle against insurgents and secessionists.
Widely held perception is that mob violence in the Valley is a change of strategy on the part of ISI that has realised that sponsored terrorism has failed to produce desired results. Terrorism is now a dirty word throughout the globe that no longer evokes sympathy and support from international community. The fall and demise of LTTE is a case in point. It lost the war not only because of the political will of Sri Lanka Government but also because of withdrawal of support by international community that was earlier fishing in troubled waters. Since the Indian Army has done a fine job of containing, if not eliminating, Pak-sponsored terrorism in the Valley and the common Kashmiri having realised that terrorism would not get them azadi, whatever that may mean, ISI evolved the strategy to fund mob violence to supplement terror attacks in the Valley. Separatist leaders and PDP who are totally out of tune with the national mood on the issue can create trouble but can’t destabilise the State. It will not be wise to make demands like imposition of President’s rule in J&K. Lord Meghanand Desai’s recent open letter to the Prime Minister suggesting an all party coalition Government in J&K with a common minimum programme is a better option than imposition of President’s rule that will divert public anger against India instead of the elected Government in J&K.
New Delhi will do well to shed its policy of appeasement towards fanatics and separatists and to listen to the sane voice of nationalist elements amongst Muslims. Renowned Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, who has been conferred the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhawna award, has in a lengthy treatise urged Kashmiris to give up their absurd demand for azadi and accept the reality, not out of compulsion but rather willingly, that fate had decreed them to be a part of India. This reality, he argues, is a source of great goodness and benefit for them. “India is a huge country. It enjoys freedom and democracy. It is home to almost 200 million Muslims” he observed to underline the benefits Kashmiris would enjoy in India. His advice to Kashmiri Muslims is to abandon the path of confrontation engineered by a handful of leaders and willingly accept being with India. Let Kashmiri Muslims listen to leaders from their own community who have no axe to grind and refuse to follow those who have driven them to the path of confrontation and destruction in pursuit of their political ambitions.