Jammu & Kashmir is now on the path of peace, prosperity and development, but a few disgruntled individuals holding on to a warped and anarchic ideology want to derail this positive movement
The misfortune of Kashmir lies in the fact that every time the elected government takes a step in the positive direction, a concerted effort is made by certain foreign sponsored vested interests to pull it backwards.
The Kashmiri separatists, known for their anarchic ideology, disruptive antics and internal dissensions, are once again playing out a time tested game to discredit the good work of the newly formed coalition government.
In a much publicised “joining of hands,” complete with media interaction and photo opportunities, they have grandly announced a united front to fight against the so-called “conspiratorial programmes” of the government.
The architect of this new found bonhomie is Yasin Malik and his new found partners are Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani. The position of the others like Shabir Shah is not clear as yet.
These self professed leaders of the Kashmiri people have laid out an agenda of opposing the “exclusive colonies” that the government of the state proposes to construct for the Kashmiri Pundits.
In good measure these so-called “friends of the people of Kashmir” also wish to oppose allotment of land to sainik colonies and the new industrial policy of the State among other issues.
It may be remembered that when the return of Kashmiri Pundits to the Valley is a major political concern of the region, the separatists have been most vociferous in inviting their “brethren” to come back to their home land. Syed Geelani has been especially eloquent in giving the invitation. Now that the government of the State is taking some concrete action to get the Pundits back to Kashmir, the separatists are performing a stunning volte-face and creating every conceivable hurdle in the process.
Sainik colonies are built on land allotted by the government to those serving the armed forces. They are in the form of societies in which allotted land is cut into plots and sold to the soldiers for building houses for their post retirement days. Such colonies exist in every State and city of the country.
There are many jawans from Kashmir serving the armed forces, especially the Indian Army. They are in all ranks from Sepoy’s (Soldier) to General’s. It is these people who will be eligible for allotment of plots (on payment) under the scheme. What possible harm can a project of this nature cause to the people of the state?
The new industrial policy is designed to allow non-state subjects to get land on lease for setting up industries outside the industrial estates in the State. The objective is to stay within the framework of the special status of the State and yet attract investment, so important for the six lakh unemployed in the State. This is, as expected, is being construed by the separatists as an attempt to “change the demographic profile of the State.”
Who in his right mind would like to migrate to an under developed, regressive state like Jammu & Kashmir particularly the Kashmir Valley? Even after application of a forward looking Industrial policy it cannot be said with any certainty that the industry will respond positively. And here are the separatists trying their best to ensure that efforts by the government in this direction are nipped in the bud!! Can there be a more sad state of affairs than this?
The warped arguments that the separatists are offering in aforementioned issues are nothing more than fallacies being perpetrated at the behest of Pakistan.
The unity that is being flaunted is nothing more than a temporary compromise to pressurise the government as much as possible before going back their own ways. There have been a large number of occasions earlier when these polarised camps have come together for short periods, the last being in 2008. In that instance Syed Geelani projected himself as the tallest leader of the motley group which led to an immediate break-up. This time things are going to be no different.
The recent moves by the separatists have also been taken while keeping the upcoming pilgrimage season to Shri Amarnathji s shrine in mind. The pilgrimage is slated to begin from July 1 and preparations are already underway. A situation of turmoil and internal dissension in Kashmir will dissuade pilgrims from registering for the pilgrimage which is exactly what the separatists want in order to please their masters across the border.
With cleverly planted news of impending turmoil and hints towards chances of terrorist attacks the separatists aim to achieve their grand plan of scuttling the pilgrimage.
The number of pilgrims has been going down every year due to the uncertainties that the separatists create. Last year about 8 lakh pilgrims were expected to undertake the pilgrimage but only about 3.5 lakh turned up. This year the registration is very slow, having achieved a figure of only about 1.5 lakh till date. Separatists are least bothered about the fact that many people, mostly Muslims, in the short period when the pilgrimage is held look forward to earning enough money to feed their families throughout the year. Reduced footfalls lead to an economic calamity for these poor people.
The disgraceful duplicity of the separatist camp stands exposed. It is quite evident that they do not have the good of the people in mind and are only bothered about their parochial selfish interests.
In fact, they simply want to keep the people of Kashmir backward and poor so as to control and manipulate them to their advantage. If the youth of Kashmir gets better opportunities for employment and prospects of building a career, would they be ready to pelt stones and risk their lives for the separatists for a mere Rs 500?
The separatists are adept at building a doomsday scenario that keeps the people in a constant state of paranoia. It is the people who should understand this evil agenda and ignore it. They should, instead, concentrate their energy towards taking advantage of the progressive schemes that the government is coming up with to improve upon their economic potential while ensuring social equilibrium. Nobody in today’s world can prosper in economic and social isolation; the sooner the people of Kashmir realise this, the better.
The State government should also pursue its reformative and transformative agenda with confidence. Instead of succumbing to the pressure of the separatists it should make the people aware of the benefits of its various schemes and elicit their co-operation in the same.
Jammu & Kashmir is now on the path of peace, prosperity and development. A few disgruntled individuals holding on to a warped ideology should not be allowed to derail this positive movement. The onus now lies squarely on the people. They have to decide whether they wish to regress to the medieval ages or pursue an enlightened and modern destiny.
(The writer is an author and columnist)