By Dr Zafar-ul Islam Khan
I feel sad at the silence of our organisations at the state terrorism in Kashmir that has been going on there for the last two and a half months and all sorts of cruelties are being meted out there. Not only that, even petty efforts to win the hearts and minds of Kashmiris are being avoided. Instead, news comes every single day that more army deployments are being sent to various parts of the state despite the known fact that Kashmir is the only region in the world where, in comparison to its population, largest number of army personnel are deployed.
We condemn the Uri attack in the strongest possible terms and see it as Pakistan’s idiocy and lack of farsightedness of the highest order exactly in the same way as these fools had pushed uncouth tribal gangs into Kashmir in 1948 and thus had forced the Maharaja to accede his state to India. In 1999, following Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s historic Lahore visit, Pakistan landed its forces on the barren and useless heights of Kargil and thus blocked the avenues of friendship that were opening. In 2001, because of General Musharraf’s boastful talk just before the Agra summit, all the progress made towards a settlement went into the dust bin. Similarly, the pleasant atmosphere that was created after Prime Minister Modi’s unexpected visit to Lahore got sabotaged by the foolish and criminal attacks on Pathankot and Uri.
Those very Muslim organisations that had been frozen scared for the last two and half months and had been pursuing silence on Kashmir as their best policy, have been suddenly woken up by Uri attack and have been issuing statements one after the other. One gentleman has gone as far as even holding a press conference to condemn the attack. A few weeks ago, when a prominent community organisation called a meeting to adopt a united stand on Kashmir and issue a press statement, this very gentleman had refused to sign it saying that he won’t do it unless the statement condemned Pakistan as well. The result is that the statement in question has not been released to date.
This intro became rather long. What I was aiming to highlight is that those very Muslim organisations that had been frozen scared for the last two and half months and had been pursuing silence on Kashmir as their best policy, have been suddenly woken up by Uri attack and have been issuing statements one after the other. One gentleman has gone as far as even holding a press conference to condemn the attack. A few weeks ago, when a prominent community organisation called a meeting to adopt a united stand on Kashmir and issue a press statement, this very gentleman had refused to sign it saying that he won’t do it unless the statement condemned Pakistan as well. The result is that the statement in question has not been released to date. This was the same person who, only a few weeks ago had invited and offered the stage of his organisation to the head of an intelligence agency – ‘Learn a lesson, then, O you who are endowed with insight!’ (Qur’an, 59:2).
Through this piece I strongly condemn, alongwith the Pathankot and Uri attacks, the state terrorism that has been going on in Kashmir for the last two and a half months. Pakistani terrorists are not one of us but those ones who are involved in the state terrorism in Kashmir are our own. It is, however, another matter that the previous BJP government had escorted the head of Pakistani terrorists to Kandhar and released him there with full honour and large bags of money.
In order to stop state terrorism in Kashmir, it is vital that army and para-military troops are immediately ordered to vacate residential areas; thousands of those who have been injured should be airlifted to Delhi and given proper medical treatment; all the injured and those who have been killed by the army are compensated in the same measure as is practiced in the rest of the country; use of pallet guns is immediately banned completely (according to our information and contrary to Government’s claim pallet guns are still being used); the black act known as AFSPA is immediately withdrawn from Kashmir — in July our own Supreme Court had ruled that AFSPA cannot be imposed on any region permanently — and negotiations should be initiated with Hurriyat and other separatist leaders. Along with this, negotiations should also start with Pakistan so that a permanent solution can be found that is acceptable toIndia, Pakistan as well as the Kashmiri people. India and Pakistan have the misconception that Kashmiris are not a party in the Kashmiri dispute. This is wrong. In this age and time no solution can be found by ignoring the people.
We would also like to remind the present central government that its hard-line approach and the thinking that in a situation where one bullet is fired, it reply with 10, is wrong, childish and dangerous. Playing the role of the elder brother, India should display large-heartedness with both the Kashmiris and Pakistan so that expenses on defence can be drastically reduced and India be made a developed country. After spending all the resources on defence and security we are left with nothing for education, health, rural development, agriculture and to improve our basic infrastructure. In these sectors our rating is below not only that of our neighbouring countries but we lag behind even African countries. In comparison to developed countries we are still living in some past century. This is the reason that our talented youth are leaving the country in droves to live somewhere else. This is a shameful situation for those who do not tire of singing songs of their patriotism and love for Bharat.