Some More ‘Clarity’ on ‘Azadi’ Please!

Nlloofar Qureshi
September 12, 2016 OPINION 348 Views
Some More ‘Clarity’ on ‘Azadi’ Please!

When the media was not permitted to attend his press conference Hurriyat (G) chairman SAS Geelani did what anyone in his situation would do. He issued a presser to convey his views regarding the ongoing protests in Kashmir as well as on other ‘azadi’ related issues. In doing so the Hurriyat (G) chairman has come out with some very specific statements concerning Kashmir attaining ‘azadi’ but while the same has enthused the common Kashmiri, it has also confused them. Therefore to ensure that whatever apprehensions the people have are put to rest the inferences made by him on the issue of Kashmir attaining ‘azadi’ requires some more elucidation.

Geelani sahib has mentioned that “Never before have we been so close to freedom with such clarity as we are now.” Though this proclamation is exhilarating but this is not for the first time that the people of Kashmir have heard such a claim being made.  More than a quarter century ago when our boys who had crossed the Line of Control came back as ‘mujahideens’ armed with Kalashnikovs they too promised the people of Kashmir that “azadi was just round the corner.” The mood then too was upbeat with the people looking forward for ‘azadi’; but it never came!

Therefore it is but natural for the locals to be hesitant this time as the prevailing situation in Kashmir has a striking similarity with the conditions in the early nineties. Today the Valley is on fire just like this it was then. We are seeing protesters taking to the streets, clashing with law enforcement agencies (LEA) and being killed or injured in large numbers- just like it happened a quarter century ago. We are also witnessing “mujahideens’ attacking security forces as well as intimidating and attacking the police as well as those who they feel are ‘collaborating’ with the Indian state, its security forces and intelligence agencies.

Since the ‘azadi being around the corner’ claim took us nowhere and only brought about disillusionment for the Kashmiris, Geelani sahib’s assertion that “Never before have we been so close to freedom with such clarity as we are now” definitely comes as a ray of immense hope. However, the bitter experience of the nineties compels the people to ask – what exactly is this “clarity” that has brought us “so close to freedom” as “never before”?  This question requires to be answered in detail because even though the protests have been going on for over two months now, but besides mounting toll of the dead and injured, nothing else seems to be happening!

With Geelani sahib telling the people of Kashmir that “The current phase of the freedom struggle has provided a powerful push towards our goal of freedom, which is very much in sight,” the requirement for sharing the reasons of this optimism with the public becomes all the more relevant. Why I am saying so is because when I spoke to my friends in Kashmir about this statement made by Geelani sahib, almost everyone dismissed it as mere rhetoric and those who didn’t, remained non committal. Frankly, I don’t what to make out of this- is it that those whom I have always considered to be my most reliable friends are honestly expressing their personal opinion, or is it my entire acquaintance circle is made up of turncoats and ‘collaborators’?

What has made many very uneasy after reading the press release issued by the Hurriyat (G) chairman is his assertion that “In 1990 when people rose against the military control of India, the entire world was shaken off the slumber; Jammu Kashmir attracted an unprecedented focus from the International community.” His claim that what happened here in 1990 “attracted an unprecedented focus from the International community” is factually correct. However, what he has failed to specify is that 1990 was the year when the Kalashnikov first made its appearance in Kashmir and so the “unprecedented focus” on Kashmir was for the wrong reasons. Had what happened in 1990 really attracted positive “unprecedented focus” of the international community then the struggle for the ‘right to self determination’ wouldn’t have stagnated in the backburner for more than a quarter century!

The ‘United’ Hurriyat is continuously extending the hartal period and with every passing day conditions for the common Kashmiri is further worsening. After what the public has gone through for the last two months the promise made by Geelani sahib to the people of Kashmir that “the goal of Freedom” was “very much in sight” comes as a big relief. However, one only hopes that unlike the hollow promise of ‘azadi being just “round the corner” that was made in 1990 by our ‘freedom fighters’, the assurance given by the Hurriyat (G) chairman this time doesn’t disappoint. Because if it does, then who else would be left in Kashmir on whom the people will be able to repose their faith?






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