What is the way out?
Assabah Khan, 28.8.2008
Indian Administered Kashmir is back in news. This time the reason is Kashmiris are protesting against transferring of 40 acres of land to non- state subjects. Why are Kashmiris so suspicious about transferring of this land? Mr. Umar Abdullah President of National Conference read out the statute 9 of land transfer order to public in a TV show hosted by take 1 Television. This statute allows the parties taking possession to construct railway lines and public transport system on the acquired land. People are questioning how come a government is going to lay railway line for 3 months and take it off for 9months? When the pilgrims are free to move the whole of Kashmir why are they wanting to have separate public transport system? These are some of the questions which makes this whole order suspicious. Tremendous public reaction and a strike for ten days enforced the state government to revoke the order. I was in England
for ESF 2004 and we met a person named Jeff Hurd. Jeff is a Jew working for Israeli Committee Against Demolition of Palestinian Homes (ICHAD). Jeff told me if I ever visited Israel he will familiarize me with a concept called 'Metrics of Control'. I couldn't understand
what he meant by this? He said this is how Israeli government is creating pockets of Jewish settlements and thus uprooted the Palestinians. He even told me that I should tell my people to be careful as Israeli Intelligence agencies are sharing information with Indian Intelligence agencies to create the same Metrics of Control in Kashmir. In my mind I dismissed this whole argument as absurd and I even forgot I had ever met this man. This year when I saw many Kashmiris talking about creation of Israeli type settlements I was reminded of Jeff. Is Government of India really trying to change the demography of the state is an issue of debate?
Jammuites came out on the streets against the revocation of land order. They blocked the national highway Kashmir's only link to outside world. Kashmiri drivers are attacked with petrol bombs. As more and more Kashmiri drivers started pouring in narrating horror tales of attacks by Hindu rightwing people the situation in valley started worsening with shortage of supplies like food, medicines, petrol and other daily commodities. On 11th August, 2008 fruit traders association gave a call of Muzaffarabad march and threatened the government with crossing the Line of Control as their fruit woth billions of rupees started rotting as a result of economic blockade.
Pro- freedom leaders and even Peoples Democratic Party PDP decided to support the call. Almost 6 people died the same day including Sheikh Abdul Aziz a pro-freedom leader.Next day on 12th August almost 12 people died. 10 died in the valley and two in Kashtawar district of
Jammu. All these people died as a result of firing by Indian troops on unarmed civilians who were protesting against economic blockade.
Next day on 13th, pitched battles could be seen between troops and Kashmiri people as a result killing almost 10 people and many were critically injured. What was shocking for the Indian authorities was not the killings but the amount of people who poured out on the streets during Muzaffrabad march. So far government of India was misleading the national and international public that Kashmir is a problem of cross border terrorism but all of a sudden it was faced with a sea of unarmed civilians not only demanding opening up of Muzaffarabad road but freedom of Kashmir. They were carrying no arms and they carried peaceful rallies and government could not find any excuse to justify excessive use of force. With the death toll rising to 40 with many critically wounded not sustaining the injuries the whole valley was wrapped in rage and sorrow and Kashmiris feeling that last shred of trust with Indian state was torn.
Unending sea of people shouting pro- freedom and anti-India slogans which turned on the roads during March to UN office on 18th August, 2008 almost made the government of India feel crazy. It was almost a mandate from the people of Kashmir that they no more want Indian rule
in Kashmir. Highly placed sources told this writer that Initially government agencies had decided not to allow the march to UN but at 11:00 PM at night Indian Intelligence People gave in the inputs that government should allow the rally to go ahead and they are going to achieve something big next day. As highly placed sources quoted that the main objective was to break the coalition. Many rumours about breaking of coalition were spread including that Mirwaiz Umar mightnot turn up at Eidgah rally. But on 22 August, 2008 when again a whole sea of people turned up and no break in coalition could be achieved government decided not to allow march to Lal Chowk. Curfew was imposed in valley. According to Hindu Indian national newspaper 13 journalists were beaten, curfew passes were dishonored, local TV channels were banned. So, is this repression going to serve the purpose of government of India or are Kashmiris going to internalize all their suffering till it ignites again and erupts again in more intense manner.
The best solution would be to open all the trade routes to Jammu and Kashmir, initiate a dialogue process with the government of Pakistan without any delaying tactics, have some kind of joint control of the region and have maximum sovereignty for the valley.
Azadi It's the only thing the Kashmiri wants. Denial is delusion.