The deadliest suicide attack at Pulwama has yet again exposed the perennial fault lines in South Asia with epicenter being Kashmir. It has disclosed many old scars which get buried under manufactured arrangements and forced calm. The first of its magnitude, the suicide attack has revealed the hidden truths and nature of the very relationship between a reluctant Kashmir and an uncompromising unmoving Indian state. Seen in a proper context, the devastating attack has not united a country of motely cultures and religious diversities as we are made to believe, rather, it has blatantly exposed them en-mass as a monolithic creature with a fascist mindset and tendencies to avenge and kill a people for the sole crime of their being Kashmiri Muslim who are adamant on their demand of political rights and self-determination.The attack worked as trigger to cast off the democractic skin from the fast emerging authoritarian face of India. From Jammu to Kanyakumari and from Gandhinagar to Gowhati, there are loud cries and threatening calls for renewed massacres in the valley of blood as if Kashmir has no history of massacres, no dates with death and destruction not even any calculation of body bags before this Pulwama attack! A new political narrative is being shaped aggressively in order to whitewash all recorded history of forced occupation, broken promises, political betrayals related Masal e Kashmir.The TV radicalized public of India has traditionally beenfed with lies which demonstrate them a rosy picture of otherwise a valley of hell where one million standing Indian Security Forcesare believed to be playing Gili-Danda with Kashmiris all these seventy years who shower bullets and pellets to celebrate some cricket and Kabbadi matches with the local people. The attack has once again proved that Kashmir is a ticking bomb that could result into a doomsday for the whole South Asia even beyond. The myth that Kashmir is a law and order problem limited to seven odd Down Town police stations of Srinagar stands exploded. Likewise, the claims of breaking the backbone of militancy in Kashmir by the so called “surgical strikes” and demonetisation have been proved hoax given the record militancy related incidents and encounters in past few years. In total contrast,the situation on the ground zero is the worst of all periods. Nothing is right at its place. From politics to economy, from trade to tourism everything has been messed up with. The peaceful political activities have been ruthlessly cracked down. This latest devastating manifestation of the Kashmir armed struggle is the direct result of the decades old denial of indigenous politics to take shape and stonewalling/subverting of well-meaning political engagement to end the stalemate between an unwilling people of Kashmir and the state of India. It is the direct result of the brutal policies of the state and successive regimes who don’t want the genuine aspirations of the people take concrete shape resulting an unending anti-people war where blood is put against blood where all roads lead to hell. Weno more get victories or failures but victims from all sides.
Post Pulwama attack, the ruling right-wing BJP is seen creating new Jumllas and smokescreens, inventing “Gujarat riots” like situations keeping in view the upcoming general elections in India. BJP with all its ramifications try very hard to bury their economic and socio-political failures under the blood of the slain security forces to garner political mileage.They pose as a determined party to kill the “preparators”and cage all people who differ their idea of nationalism by giving free hand to the Security Forces in Kashmir and beyond. But, the question merits mention here. Did the Security Forces ever lacked such privileges and impunities while serving their duties, earning their bread, getting promotions and medals in Kashmir? What are the darconian laws like AFSPA and PSA and the “Operation All-Out” meant for? Who are responsible for the “quick doses of massacres” in 1990’s like in Sopore, Handwara, Zukura, GawKadal, Bijbijhara? What are the structures that provide impunity to preparators of sexual violence like in Kunan-Poshpora setting the horrendous most example of an organized mass rape ever used as one of the deadly weapons of war? The on-going slow genocide starting from 2008 is the example where the state gun-wielded men have freely danced on the streets of Kashmir without any example of facing justice. Have anyone from such a huge security force been booked and trailed so far?No, not all! These injustices meted out to the common people of Kashmir force them to go for extreme steps we cannot even imagine. It is question of life and death of the fourth generation of Kashmir who aspire for their dignity and free life away from the perpetual gaze of the state, occupation, killings and devastations.
True to their profession, the local press and media persons of Kashmir are used to cover each incidenthappening on the soil of Kashmir with a proper historical context but with a high price of their life. The Pulwama attack was also covered precisely the same way giving profile, context and follow up reports to the fullest satisfactions of the readers and public world over. However, the national corporate media of India particularly electronic media in its rate race of winning jackpots of TRP’s try everything to show all these happening in the valley in a particular anti-national, anti-India framework only. There are enough evidences that the content of their programmes are selected in tune with the vote bank and other interests of a particular right-wing party.Ironically the senior most anchors and traditionally liberal, moderate, pro-democratic journalists have been seen clubbed together with right wing activists (posing as journalists!) calling for full-fledged air and drone strikes in Kashmir with surgical nuclear bombing of 10 percent Kashmiris to teach the remaining 90 % the lesson of patriotism! If this is not a war what else is? Who can expect Kashmiris behave as patriots given such intimidations? These white collar “terrorists” cozying up inside AC rooms in Delhi, Noida and Mumbai give impressions as if 99% of the population were enjoying Gandola ride in Gulmarg or were busy in merry-making on Shikaras at Dal Lake right before the Pulwama attack. Former military generals, national players, filmy stars, writers even state governors and misters all are joining the chorus to boycott trade, tourism, engagement with Kashmiris. They even call for abandoning Amarnath Yatra for two three years as a part of economic blockade. The pathetic most reality is the criminal silence of the civil society and influential intelligentsia of India who could have worked as balancing force against the right wing weaves within the country. It seems India is fast emerging as the largest grave yard of conscience sellers of reputed writers, actors, intellectuals!
The most troubling behavior of the local pro-India parties of Kashmir is the subject matter of a great research. Already decimated by the historical forces in the region coupled with their utter failure to earn even shoddy structures of Autonomy, Self-Rule, Power Projects etc., they have now been relegated to a poor sloganeering brigade making great fuss in their dark holes. Post Pulwama attack, the Kashmiri students, traders, business communities and govt.officials spread all over India faced life threatening situations due to the inertia of the same people who have neither done any home-work on their idea of India nor are well versed in the internal affairs of India. Heartening to see the Sikh community coming to the rescue of all Kashmiris stationed outside Kashmir giving them shelter, food and safe transportation back home. Their timely benevolence and help will indeed be written on the golden pages of our history. In a total contrast, the huge 18 crore Muslim population of the mainland India have no policy for their own survival not even a pan India political party to secure their interests amid the resurgence of Hindtuva militant forces. They don’t muster courage to speak or come to the help of these Kashmiris anywhere in India. These goats and sheep are destined to be herded by the shepherds like Modi and Shah.
The position of Kashmir is always dangerous till a strong statesmanship and leadership in the South Asia doesn’t emerge to break this vicious circle of false political arrangements, human tragedies, nationalist adventures, security and defence boogies backed by the foreign war-industry complex.Sowing bullets and pellets even in a paradise will never through up roses and sunflowers in return. It will produce counter bullets and bombs. Blood begets blood. Any policy amid at short-term diplomatic, domestic and party gains will never replace the exigency of the long-term solution of Kashmir. The initiation of a well-meaning dialogue focused on the ultimate aspirations and political rights of the people to end this bloody game in Kashmir is the one and only option on the hand. Running away from this reality will always eat away peace and stability in South Asia. Enough of body bags.
Last time when I was filling this opinion piece, news broke that Union Minstery of Home Affairs has called for an urgent deployment of hundred more companies of central forces for Kashmir amid a massive crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami cadres and the JRL ahead of the crucial hearing on Article 35-A in the Supereme Court. There are also rumors of a possible escalation between India and Pakistan. Helicopters and Air Force Jets are already zooming in the sky. I can hearwar drums in my closed study home.
Mohammad Yousuf Najar