Dishonest Games by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (September 02, 2016)
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
For nearly two months now the Kashmir valley has been on fire. A continuous curfew of 50 days or so was lifted earlier this week, but certain areas are still under curfew.
Protesters have been regularly shot dead by security forces. Hundreds have been maimed and disfigured for life, most of them young men and children.
Children shot in the eye and faces by security men lying in hospital beds all over from Srinagar to Delhi provide the most gruesome evidence of what has been going on in the valley.
From the government side in Srinagar and Delhi the case is being made that children have been used by cynical politicians in the state to create trouble for the PDP-BJP coalition government.
As things stand in J&K, there may be a grain of truth in it because the Kashmiri leadership has been known for its dishonest maneuvers from the beginning. The state has been caught in the vicious grip of dishonest dynastic politics.
In the beginning there was the Abdullah dynasty. The state had no respite from the Abdullah clan - Sheikh Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah (with the Sheikh’s son-in-law, Shah, too, accommodated as a CM for a while) - when another budding dynasty of the Muftis, father and daughter, took their turn at the CM’s gaddi.
Mufti Sayeed’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) came to power showing sympathy for the jailed and wounded separatists. In 2010, when Omar Abdullah was in power and tried to contain separatism the PDP condemned this for his alleged unfairness.
Now that Mahbooba Mufti is the CM, Abdullah’s National Conference has taken the place PDP occupied in 2010 and is leveling the same charges at PDP-BJP government as the PDP did at National Conference. Now the public acceptance of the Abdullah’s is growing as the PDP ministers are hiding their tale, not stirring out of heavily-guarded areas in the state capital.
It is clear from the game that both PDP and NC have been befooling the Kashmiris. The track record of the Hurriyat leadership has hardly been praiseworthy.
Kashmiris have noted that one of the senior leaders always made it a point to visit the parents of young men killed by security forces with flowers and sweets. This man used to “congratulate” the parents for the “martyrdom” of their sons. All this went on while none of this man’s children or grandchildren was sent out to court martyrdom.
Such cynicism of leaders has made life hell for the people of the “paradise on earth” that Kashmir once was. That is why when Mahbooba Mufti declared last week in Srinagar in the company of Union home minister Rajnath Singh that the Kashmir turmoil was the handiwork of only five percent of Kashmiris, people were reminded of her father’s and her party’s position in 2010, which was diametrically opposite to what she is saying now.
If we accept what she is saying today we can’t escape the conclusion that what she and her party were saying and doing in 2010 was insincere posturing.
The rest of India had begun to see a pattern in the cycle of violence and counter-violence in Kashmir. After every few years, on some provocation, the valley erupts into violent protests, which leads to disproportionate use of force against protesters resulting in deaths of civilians and grievous injuries to many others.
The valley lives under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that condones all kinds of excesses by security forces. The violence and counter-violence snowballs as the number of people killed and maimed continues to mount. Over a period of time a natural fatigue sets in and the cycle of violence abates, and gradually simmers down to near-normal conditions.
This time it does not show any sign of cooling, even after 54 days or so. Violence has not worked in the past and will certainly not work now. Giving up maximalist positions by parties involved and agreeing to talk has no alternative. The bottom line is that the violence must stop and genuine negotiations must begin, now.