India Kashmir Protests

For the mainstream Indian mindset on Kashmir, the land called Kashmir is an Indian property which should be protected and remain with India at any cost. The use of military is to protect this property. For them it is assumed this property might be grabbed away by the indigenous Kashmiris who are inspired by a neighboring country. It is never understood by them that Kashmir which is under the control of six lakh army personal, still encounters a situation where thousands of people come out on streets. Even logically speaking a mere foreign hand cannot instigate such large number of people to express their disenchantment in presence of such large number of military force. This is with complete knowing of the fact that they may die, become blind or get injurious. The logic used by them that if people come out on streets, it is natural for military to take action is dubious. Then what about the countless killings of unarmed people including the innocent, rapes of unarmed women reported by human rights groups even at times when such protests were not open.

The argument put forward by this so called mainstream is that about the status of Kashmiri pandits. Aren’t they part and parcel of Kashmir?What were the critics doing then? Yes they are part and parcel of Kashmir. The mass migration happened out of fear during the peak of militancy. Fear of spying led to killings of some Kashmiri pandits. The fear and threat led to migration. There was also the role of Jagmohan the Governor who tried to give it a communal touch. Migration also happened with some sections of Muslims. Yes, instances of mistrust continue between Kashmiris and Kashmiri Pandits. At the same time it is also true that mistrust exists among Kashmiris with the Indian state too. Kashmiris are disenchanted with Indian state, the fact which cannot be pushed into the dustbin by the so called ‘Nationalists’ or ‘Indian mainstream’. It is important for them to recognize that.

From the readings of some Kashmiri sections, it is clear that even the militant groups are not against the Kashmiri pandits coming back to Kashmir. They have a welcoming approach towards them. There have been constructive engagements with Kashmiri pandits to come back to Kashmir. They consider them as part and parcel of Kashmir.

But these positive engagements neither are not shown in Indian mainstream media nor reported. Definitely ‘Kashmiriyat’ is a much more secular and accommodative concept and calls for co-existence. This is unlike ‘Hindu Rashtra’ where other religious groups can only enjoy a second grade status. There are efforts being made out by Kashmiri sections to reach out to Kashmiri Pandits. But whether the Indian mainstream or the ‘Hindutva’ brigadeis making a similar effort to reach out to Kashmiris, not just kashimiripandits based on their religious identity. The answer is a definite no.

Moreover, Indian mainstream is creating this binary between Kashmiri and Kashmiri Pandits, Hindus and Muslims. Kashmiriyat definitely is not about Hindus and Muslims, which Indian mainstream seems to think of. Like the Hindu rightwing playing out Hindu-Muslim differences in Indian Mainland, a similar approach is being adopted in Kashmir. Ideas of creating ghettos for Kashmiri pandits are being propagated by the Indian government for resettlement of Kashmiri pandits. Large sections of Kashmiris have been trying to put across the point that Kashmiri pandits are part and parcel of Kashmir. There is no need for ghettoization. They consider them part of their own.

Will out ‘nationalists’ have a similar accommodative approach towards our minorities. Are they willing to reach out to protesting Kashmiris, listen to them and understand them. This is instead of playing a Hindu-Muslim, Kashmiri-Kashmiri pandit card.

About the Author:T. Navin works with an NGO as a Researcher. He did his M.Phil from Centre for Political Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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  1. v v anand says:

    (a) The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, himself 3 weeks before his assassination said publicly that there should be a referendum in J&K. So it is perfectly legitimate for a Kashmiri to ask for self-determination or plebiscite. Apart from UN and Accession document and so on,here is a support from an indisputably sacred source.
    (b) That said, plebiscite is an entirely wrong way to go. In a plural state like J&K , it has to be part of a secular democratic country like India.
    (c) So we need to negotiate with the people of J&K. That includes the Hindus in Jammu, he Buddhists in Ladakh, and the Shia Muslims of Pak-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan apart from the Muslim population of Kashmir valley.. India must apologise for having rigged elections in the past and in brutal behaviour of security forces .
    (d) AFSPA must go, but even before that, Military Police,(MP) in adequate strength must be placed in all areas of army concentration in J&K , and in manipur and so on.Any civilian who is sought to be humiliated or bullied by a Jawan as Burhan Wani’s brother was (when a Jawan asked him to fetch a packet of cigarettes) must be able to complai to MPs. And the MP focus will be on nabbing misbehaving armymen and their medals would come for that. This system worked well in pre-independence India when the country during WW2 was crawling with armymen eveywhere. mSoldiers were shit-scared of the MP those days.

  2. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Those who oppose to Kashmiris and their identity as human beings aspiring for better life are mainly politicians, government and Hindu brigade. The civil society and human rights activists along with large section of common people of all religions recognise Kashmiris as fellow sufferers of oppression. Kashmiris have fundemental rights of expression of their thoughts, self- rule and desire good jobs and standard of living. The rulers are suppressing their desires. They are creating sharp Hindu Muslim divide: the issue of Kashmiri Pundit migration and labelling them as anti- nationals. By dividing people, the government is controlling dissent. There are many Muslims sheltering pundits according to BBC Hindi reports few days ago. Kashmiris are secular democratic and peace- living people. Only Hindu fanatics and governments if centre and state do not accept the truth.

  3. I think this is another extreme view being taken and heaping all the blame on the other side – Indians. Truth lies somewhere in between and that is what the social sector needs to research and find out. Kashmir was always given a special status in Indian federation and if history is to be believed was always considered an apple of one’s eye. It is a fact that Kashmiris never considered themselves as Indians since independence. If they wanted separate homeland that was never a part of instrument of accession laid down by British. Navin needs to rationalise his argument by considering equal weightage to all parties and views.

  4. Kashmiri’s pls dont ask for independence, setting up of a separate country etc. that India will never give as Indian’s made a mistake by accepting the creation of Pakistan for which we are paying for it, we will not make the same mistake with J&K come what may , if need be the protesters will have to be roughed up.
    Kashmiri’s can ask for devleopment, employment, what else they want after this ? which they will not get if they join Pakistan or become independent, it can be fulfilled only if J&K is with India, one can see what has appened to POK and pakistan itself it is a failed state, the rulers are least bothered of what happens to common citizens, hey amass wealth and buy property in London and send their cHildren to London for education and their children become business men, then plunder the wealth of Pakistan, want to join them? if yes then you are idiots ! India will decide what is good for you.