Monday, 19 October 2009

Kashmir Questions And Answers -II

This is the second part of my interview with M K Tayal Editor Correspondent who is aiming to prepare report about the situation in Kashmir valley and its contours.

Considering that you have been brought up since the militancy started, how many operations would you have seen?

Being born in one of the sensitive area (downtown (Shaheri - Khas) Srinagar) of Kashmir which has always remained the citadel of movement, though kid in early 90’s but I have faint memories of early stages of armed rebellion, how young and old men were called for parades and cordons laid around every were and in our area and houses searched, how bodies of armed fighters were taken in procession towards martyrs graveyard Eidgah amid sky renting pro-independence slogans from our area and females wailing many bare footed running after processions mourning their loved ones who got killed at the hands of Indian forces. I still remember the names of the gory army operations: Operation Eagle, Operation catch and Kill, Operation Tiger in those days. One of my neighbor, Hilal alias waza a young guy hardly would have crossed 25 then associated with armed rebellion he was catched by forces in one of the cordons he was severally tortured and his stomach was torn with some sharp edged weapon and when he was thrown dead intestines were visible and out of his belly. I will never forget that shivering incident. Indian security forces were given free hand to indulge in worst kind of human rights violation to muzzle and suppress the people demanding right of self determination. Even now these human rights violations continue unabated all with total impunity from the law of land. Forces have been guarded with draconian legislations such as AFSPA, PSA, DAA etc even youth are languishing behind bars under the acts that have been revoked. The constant abuse of human rights violations by Indian forces and denial of basic right i.e. right of self determination has added to the alienation of people and in the words of SAFMA this alienation is complete and irreversible.

What do the young feel about Independence?

Though it was widely believed that this fourth generation of Kashmiris is not interested in freedom movement and is disillusioned with movement and busy in their own affairs but the agitation of last year proved all those wrong. They showed the way and lead the agitation remaining at the fore front leaders just joined them. They showed that they have the passion, determination to face all the odds with resilience. Their spark enthusiasted entire nation. They have grown under the difficult circumstances and saw the conflict closely all along these years they are more resilient than their predecessors and abreast with know how of technologies in every field. It will be better for India to shun obduracy and intransigence and avoid confrontation with these die hard youth in future who strongly believe that freedom is their birth right and eventually save the future of entire Sub- continent from getting beleaguered.

Are those with AK-47s and bombs not terrorists?

I have said this in earlier question that it all depends on which perspective one sees and analyses the things. Terrorism and freedom struggle are two different things and need to be looked separately from each other.

If they are freedom fighters, why do they kill innocent people in Ahmedabad, New York or anywhere in the world?

Killing innocent people were ever they are is most condemnable and must be condemned by all and no cause can be justified by killing innocent people. Kashmiri fighters have taken the extreme step after every peaceful method was frustrated by India. It is Delhi and Delhi alone which facilitated commotion and pell-mell in Kashmir by installing stooges through sham elections. It is India who reneged on the pledge of Plebiscite and managed the strangulation of economy of Kashmir through neocolonialist mode of administration, so it is India who provided enough ammunition to Kashmiri youth for a revolt against its authority hell bent on enslaving Kashmir at gunpoint using lakhs of its forces.

Why have they been declared terrorist organizations?

Kashmiri movement is a national liberation movement, poles apart of that Alqaeda and Taliban, aimed to achieve the unification of its forcibly divided parts using the unfettered right of self determination promised under the 18 U.N resolutions to which both India and Pakistan are signatories and world witness to them. India has the added responsibility under what she calls the Instrument of Accession which according to her has been signed by Maharaja of Kashmir to let people of Kashmir decide whether they want to remain with India or Pakistan or choose to remain Independent. Despite their clarion commitment regarding referendum in Kashmir they blatantly reneged on their promise and doesn’t they feel that their betrayal and perfidy has costed them their honour as a great nation and then how India can stake claim to the permanent membership of U.N Security Council when it tramples the resolution passed by the same body under its military foot. Coming back to question British labeled Bhagat Singh as terrorist why because he was demanding freedom for his motherland and that went against the interest of British but for the same reason and for the same work he is remembered as hero and a martyr by Indians. Similarly Nelson Mandela, who was the leader of ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe, was declared as terrorist by White apartheid government and imprisoned for more than two decades in Robben Island and later he becomes president and is awarded a noble prize for peace for the same work for which he was declared as terrorist. So it is high time to stop looking from jaundiced vision and through the prism of west who until recently called the Taliban zealots as “Mujahideen” till it served their national interest and now the dreaded terrorists and threat to world peace. Kashmiri freedom fighters have limited their struggle in J&K and have no international agenda but India by using military approach to strangulate, batter and pulverize Kashmir is inadvertently communalizing what is a basically a simple political issue and hence many extremist groups have thrived on the sympathy wave and this was echoed by David Miliband as well when he wrote in an opinion peace that “ resolution of the dispute over Kashmir would deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms….”. India already with problems in more than 16 states shouldn’t let these groups to gain strength by leaving Kashmir dispute in limbo. So resolution of Kashmir is must otherwise its domino effect will engulf and destabilize the peace of whole of South Asia.

Have they not approached you to join them?

It is the ones own conscious that determines what to do. In one of the previous questions I told you that they have made way for political leadership to take the front seat as now the situation demands that, earlier they took the driver seat to highlight the Kashmir dispute in the international arena. Now it is for political leadership to the lead but India is not allowing that by imposing curbs on peaceful protests and rallies. Being the sons of soil they have made it clear that if India shuns the obduracy and accepts Kashmir as disputed as accepted by international community they will leave arms in an eye blink time. Because they haven’t taken arms as hobby nor they have any international agenda to follow their struggle is limited for the freedom and liberation of their motherland and to remind India of its own promise of plebiscite.

If they have, why have you not joined the cause?

Aggression is not only on one front but is launched on all fronts to consolidate hold on an occupied territory by an occupier be that Militarily, Political, Diplomatic, Economical. Social, Cultural onslaught, so the response to that demands struggle on all fronts not on any single one only. I to my best of my ability though not practically doing my bit towards contributing the sacred cause of Independence.

Why do you think is Pakistan supporting the militants?

You should look for the answer to this question in as why India supported the Bangladeshi’s Mukti Behni and with the active help of Russia embarked on a plan to cut the Bangladesh from Pakistan although it was a legal part of Pakistan according to the Partition act of 1947. Why Germany and Japan supported the Subash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Kashmir Questions And Answers -1

This is the first part of my interview with M K Tayal Editor Correspondent who is aiming to prepare report about the situation in Kashmir valley and its contours.

What is the present situation in the valley?

Kashmir is a powder keg, rather a flash point in South Asia. Without its resolution there can’t be permanent peace and no guarantee of stability in whole Indian Sub-Continent. Regarding to present situation in Valley, situations are not permanent they keep changing with the occurring of events which shape it accordingly. Before Assembly elections National Conference had promised that if N.C comes to power it will release pro-freedom leaders, activists and other people, who had been imprisoned in the wake of agitation here due to economic blockade. But unfortunately despite passing off so much time they keep to be languishing in jails, others have been kept under house arrest and N.C has displayed iron-fist in dealing with the situation here, pro-freedom leadership is being denied political space and even peaceful protests by people is being ruthlessly stifled. Though there may seem a lull here but it is temporary such kind of arm twisting methods adds to the alienation among the people. It is infact these kind of things which slowly and steadily brew anger among people and which comes in the shape of some spontaneous reaction by people. Last year before June no outsider would have imagined that people who seem to be busy with their day to day affairs will rise in such large numbers that took observers and analysts by surprise seeing lakhs of people attending the marches breaking the myth of normalcy. Even after elections people protested in large number against the dastardly and inhuman double rape and murder of a teenage student and her sister in law in Shopian.

Should Kashmir get Independence?

As a Kashmiri definitely yes, many national and international opinion polls have suggested that over whelming majority of people of Jammu and Kashmir want to see Kashmir as an Independent, neither with Pakistan nor with India. There is an immediate need felt by many in India and Pakistan that this is the high time o resolve this dispute through tripartite talks so that it gets resolved peacefully and amicably. So on negotiations table nether India will accept to pull its troops and hand over its administered part to Pakistan nor Pakistan will do the same. And Kashmiris won’t accept any solution which negates their national aspirations. Already military solution to this dispute has been ruled out because both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers so can’t afford war. So the best possible way out is that both countries cease their claim over the respective parts of Kashmir under their control and allow them to get united and declare Kashmir as an independent country. It will be a buffer state between the two and a bridge of friendship between them. Lingering this dispute means to put peace, prosperity, progress, welfare and security of one and half billion people of South Asia in peril. So Independence of Kashmir as an Independent State recognized by India, Pakistan and World community is the only way out from this tangle.

Has the Indian government done enough for development?

This needs to be seen in right perspective. Kashmir has been bestowed with abundance of natural resources by Almighty especially water. But it has been exploited by India as well as Pakistan. Both Countries have builted large dams which suit their national interests and ironically Kashmiris on both sides have been left out. This is sheer injustice. India has stretched its claws over this sector and robbed Kashmiris of this resource. The power projects which are running in Kashmir are feeding north India and other states. Out of the total 24000 M.W’s which NHPC produce 16000 M.W’s come from Kashmir alone. And Kashmir gets only meager royalty which doesn’t cross more than 12 %. Kashmir at present has the potential of producing 20000 M.W’s of power and still we reel under darkness and power curtailments mostly in winter. And ironically we have to buy our own power generated by our water from northern grid at whooping costs. Due to Indus Water treaty Kashmir has suffered loss of more than 65000 crores so far. From a long time no productive investment has been made in Kashmir and Kashmir has been deliberately turned into consumer state our annual import from Indian states stands at more than 36000 crore rupees. And in this scenario India doesn’t do any favor to us by spending any amount in development. For your information the announcement of giving 24000 crore package to Kashmir few years ago by Indian P.M was made out of that 18000 crore were for power projects of which Kashmir doesn’t get any benefit. It is our money out of which few pennies are used in so called development.

Do you support calling a person with an AK-47 who dies in the valley a martyr?

My opinion doesn’t matter much in this regard. It depends on a person from which angle he sees the things in Kashmir. Kashmiri ultras are terrorists if one believes that they have no logic or right for holding gun against Indian rule. Similarly Subash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, the great sons of soil of India, are terrorists if one believes British have the right to rule India. India promised right of self determination to Kashmiris before whole world and then backtracked. And in the instrument of Accession which India claims Maharaja has signed it is clearly mentioned that this accession is temporary subjected to ratification by the will of people of Jammu and Kashmir. So India is legally and morally bound to held plebiscite in Kashmir to ascertain wishes of people here. Elections as substitute to referendum were itself ruled out by India’s first Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru in the Indian parliament when he said that Elections in Kashmir are meant just for administrative purposes and neither that administrative assembly nor this ( Indian) parliament can deicide fate of Kashmir. Here as rejoinder I repeat the India’s first Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru’s pledge in January 1952 that “Kashmir is not the property of either India or Pakistan. It belongs to the Kashmiri people. When Kashmir acceded to India we made it clear to the leaders of the Kashmiri people that we would ultimately abide by the verdict of their plebiscite; if they tell us to walk out I would have no hesitation in quitting Kashmir….. We have taken the (Kashmir) issue to United Nations and given our word of honour for peaceful solution. As a great nation we cannot go back on it. We have left the question for final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision…” (Amrit Bazar Patrika, Kolkatta, Jan. 1952). Armed rebellion in Kashmir started when India payed no heed to the moderate voices who called for peaceful settlement of Kashmir and to remind India of its own promise that is why when any armed guerilla dies in any encounter people here call him a martyr and thousands of people including women and children come out for his funeral amid tears and sobs of whom Indian media calls “terrorist”.

Is militancy about to end in Jammu and Kashmir?

Indian strategists and analysts live in fantasy and make believe world in this regard. Violence is not the favorite hobby or recreation of Kashmiri youth who have taken arms. It will die down in few days without the support of local population. As I said in earlier question there is emotional attachment of people towards armed guerillas because India frustrated every move for the peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute so in one way itself responsible for the creation of militancy in Kashmir. Any struggle has two fronts Political and armed when you crush the peaceful and political struggle with brute force what is the alternative. But at this point of time they (ultras) have maintained low profile just to pave way for the peaceful struggle so it is upto India to grab the opportunity. Political struggle has been allowed to take the drivers seat by the resistance leadership and you saw last year how people of Kashmir transferred this struggle into peaceful one successfully, India should respect that and avoid repeating its mistakes as situation can take ugly turn any time. India should start meaningful and result orientated talks with Kashmiris and Pakistan and there should be some change felt on ground by common people of Kashmir. This should be the first step in resolving and addressing this issue. Till India harps on bogey of ‘integral part’ and ‘cross border terrorism’, ultras will feel tempted to continue their activities just to add to the Indian vulnerability and bewilderment. It is therefore absolutely preposterous to think about breaking the will and resolve of Kashmiri ultras through military operations.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Pot calling the kettle black

The statement of Indian Prime Minister ManMohan Singh at the plenary session of G-20 summit at Pittsburg in which he accused the Pakistan of using “terror” as State policy against India has come at a time when India faced diplomatic embarrassment by some world leaders calling for end to Kashmir conflict owing to its inherit potential to destabilize the whole equation in South Asia according to the national aspirations of Kashmiris at many international forums and at UNGA 64th session recently and at a time when foreign ministers of both countries were about to meet.

It is the talk of resolution of Kashmir dispute that pinches the body politic of India as despite promising self-determination to Kashmiris before whole world she backtracked and through sheer military muscle is holding it against the wishes of its local populace and against her tall ‘ideals’ of peace and justice which stand strangulated, pawned and mortgaged by herself.

The rhetoric by Indian P.M at G-20 summit is a desperate attempt by India to camouflage the real dispute of Kashmir under the bogey of cross border terrorism and facilitate commotion to escape from focusing on real issues and in the end to put blame on Pakistan’s shoulders for the failure of dialogue to yield any positive outcome. As since 1947 India has been concentrating on conflict management rather than on conflict resolution to consolidate its hold over Kashmir.

Due to the lingering of Kashmir dispute the peace, prosperity, progress and welfare of one and half billion people of South Asia is in peril mainly due to jingoism and belligerence of India but she can not afford to remain away from addressing this vexed dispute amicably for ever as it will threaten its national integrity, neither valiant people of Kashmir who have invested their every thing be that blood, honor, property for the independence and sovereignty of Kashmir will allow this. Here, we as traumatized, victimized, bruised and enslaved people of Kashmir cannot but express our gratitude to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi and Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit for lending moral support to the cause of independent Kashmir.