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J&K Conundrum: CENTRE SENDS WRONG SIGNAL, By Proloy Bagchi, 19 Nov, 2013 Print E-mail

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New Delhi, 19 November 2013

J&K Conundrum


By Proloy Bagchi


When will the Centre stop molly-coddling the ‘separatist groups’ in Jammu & Kashmir? Over the years, the Hurriyat Conference, many would admit has lost steam in the yearning of the common man to lead a normal life. However, the Centre seems to send the wrong signal. That the Pakistani Prime Minister’s adviser Sartaj Aziz came to Delhi recently to participate in Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and his High Commission promptly invited leaders of several of these groups to come to meet him seemed way out of the ordinary in today’s times. Worse, was the Government’s latitude in allowing them to travel to Delhi to keep their appointments with Aziz, as at least one of the separatist leaders, was till recently under house arrest. The action has raised many an eyebrow as to why the Centre has gone out of its way to lift the restrictions to enable him to travel to Delhi.


The leaders, of course included the who’s who of the separatist groups. They were Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chief Yaseen Malik, hard-line Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Asiya Andrabi of Dukhtar-e-Millat, the women’s separatist organization of the State. Meeting Aziz separately, the groups reportedly asked him for a lasting solution to the Kashmir “dispute” as if by articulating this wish the Pakistan Government and its Army would rush into the quagmire to find a “lasting” solution. Worse, they continue to be having the misconception that they represent the people of Jammu and Kashmir although they steer clear from the elections in the State.


While the National Conference-Congress Government is trying hard to come out of the past and restore normalcy, these separatists should realize that they have only been obstructing peace and progress by calling for frequent shut-downs and strikes under the threat of terror and indulging in violence. They are, in fact, the fifth columnists who take orders from their masters across the borders. Recall, Yaseen Malik, had even been caught on camera sharing a platform with Hafiz Saeed, chief of Laskar-e-Toiba, and radical outfit of Pakistan that organizes terror attacks in India in collaboration with the ISI. 


Indeed, it is the softness of the Union Government that allows such meetings, both in India and Pakistan so much so that the Pakistani establishment reckons these as “routine consultations”. There can be nothing “routine” about these meetings and, for all one knows, these are held to foment more trouble within J&K. Opinion is that there is no earthly reason for these minority groups to meet a foreign power for “consultations”.


Recall also that only the other day, on a call given by Geelani, October 27 last was observed as a “Black Day” as on that day the Indian troops, allegedly, commenced their “occupation” of Kashmir. This was stated by SA Shamsi of Jamait-e-Islami, which organized a dharna (sit-in) in Islamabad, attended by leaders of Pak Occupied Kashmir. Sadly, the Kashmiri separatists, whether in India or in Pakistan, have by their statements made the history of post-Accession Kashmir stand on its head!


Everybody knows what these ‘separatists with blinkers’ have been broadcasting are absolute falsehoods. The Indian Army had no reason to enter Kashmir had the then Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, not acceded to India in 1947 at the same time asking the latter for assistance to throw out the Pakistani regulars who along with tribal raiders had invaded his State. The Indian government did not send its troops until the Maharaja had also obtained the consent of the prominent democratic leader of Kashmir, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. The Maharaja had to do it as otherwise the Government of India wouldn’t extended its help.


Inviting the Indian Army was thus a joint decision of the Maharaja and the most popular leader of the Kashmiris. The Army had gone into Kashmir only when it became a part of India. By no stretch of imagination, therefore the Army in Kashmir is an "Occupation Army". It is there to protect its own territory that includes Jammu & Kashmir and its people. In fact, it is Pakistan which has illegally occupied a big chunk of Indian Territory in Kashmir by sheer violent aggression. If there is any "army of occupation" in Kashmir it is the Pakistan Army which is in forcible occupation of what is known as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.


Even the objective commentators in Pakistan have expressed grave doubts about Pakistani position on Kashmir. In a recent article, Ayaz Mir, noted dispassionate journalist, has admitted that three wars waged by Pakistan, including the one of 1947, have met with only failure in meeting their objectives, that is, of wresting the entire state of J&K from India.


What is more surprising, however, is that Imran Khan, the Teheriq-e-Insaf chief, supported the dharna and the Black Day saluting the Kashmiri people for their sacrifices in rejecting the "Indian occupation". Having been educated in Oxford and been honoured and feted in India several times during his frequent visits apart from his numerous cricketing trips he should have known the history of Kashmir better. Perhaps compulsions of politics make politicians reach for their oft-used blinkers and Imran now is a diehard politician.


Prof. Waqar Ashraf, one of the participants at the dharna in Islamabad reportedly stated: "Freedom is a right wherever one lives and Kashmiris’ right should be given to them. They cannot be forced to live in a country they did not wish to belong to and even the UN Charter is against it.” One can certainly have no quarrel with this argument. Kashmiris, like other citizens of India, have the right to choose the place and the country where they wish to live. Those who live in Jammu & Kashmir too have that right and they have the absolute freedom to leave and go and live in any country where they find conditions more congenial. None and, surely, neither government of J&K nor the Government of India, would ever stop them from exercising this basic right.


Similar reactions were heard when a row was kicked up on the non-inclusion of Parvez Rasool, a Kashmiri cricketer, in the playing eleven of the Indian cricket team while on tour in Zimbabwe earlier this year. Very strong comments on this veritable non-issue were reported from Kashmir emanating from the knowledgeable down to some anti-Indian Kashmiris. Some of the latter said they were not happy when Rasool was included in a team that represented India. Some others said that they were certainly not happy when the lad was picked to play for India and that they would not be happy even if he did well for India, especially so while playing against Pakistan.


It is quite clear where such people’s sympathies lay broadcasting as they did their acute antipathy for the country they live in. They, too, have the liberty to migrate to the country with which they quite clearly identify themselves. None would begrudge their decision to do so. ----INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)


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