Why such a sorry state of affairs in Kashmir?

Niloofar Qureshi
April 29, 2017 0 Comments OPINION 210 Views
Why such a sorry state of affairs in Kashmir?

In December last year when the ‘joint’ Hurriyat spoke about adopting “sustainable modes of protests” in future, average Kashmiris who had been hit hard by the near six month long 2016 protests heaved a heavy sigh of relief. However, the way events have been unfolding this year makes it very unlikely that Kashmir would see a peaceful summer of 2017. Thus, while our leaders may continue to wax eloquent on how we are “nearer to our goal as never before,” a ‘simmering’ summer means those associated with the tourism industry as well as daily wagers will have to once again have to grapple with the problems that arise from loss of livelihood.
And students will have to lose out on education!
What makes this summer look even more sinister is the recent video in which armed militants can be seen parading before the camera. Though video clips of militants brandishing weapons is not unusual, but never before has such a large posse of militants been captured in a single video. Thus, it would not be an exaggeration to conclude that the aim of this video is to project a ‘show of strength’ which will obviously translate into an upsurge in militant activities. The ‘fidayeen’ attack on an army camp in Kupwara is an indicator that the militants mean business and this gives the security forces the legally tenable excuse to impose stricter checks and curbs on locals.
However, since those whose livelihood is being adversely effected by protests and students who lose out on education seem to have no issues with the sorry state of affairs in Kashmir, I will not speak for them. My main worry is what happens to the ‘self determination’ movement based on the UN resolution that calls for peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue when it is being overwhelmed by the combination of violent street protests and militant activities. It may sound rude but the fact is that the ‘joint’ Hurriyat seems to have lost its plot and I would not like to hazard a guess on whether this monumental ideological ‘climb-down’ is its own decision or under some external pressure?
The Hurriyat has a lot to explain. There was a time when defying New Delhi’s objections an European Union (EU) delegation met with and conferred with the Hurriyat and this was as recent as just eight years ago. And that was the time when the Hurriyat mattered to the international community. That was the time when Lord Olof Lindgren heading the EU delegation after its Kashmir visit went on record to say “There are a lot of human rights issues that we are looking into. I cannot go into the details of those but those are of concern to the European Union and we discussed them with the Indian government and we have met the Human Rights Commissioner in the state.” This may sound unbelievable but is true!
Today the Hurriyat claims that its strategy of protests and endorsement of the ‘armed struggle’ has attracted international support for the Kashmir cause and even though there are no indications to substantiate this assertion, I still wouldn’t like to contest this. However, I would humbly like to ask our leaders that if this is the reality then why the Hurriyat has become an inconsequential identity in the eyes of the international community within less than a decade? An example- Geelani sahib is unquestionably the leader of the Kashmiri people and the international community knows this even though it may not officially acknowledge it. Yet, despite his fierce objection for cancelling the 2013 Zubin Mehta musical concert organised by the German Embassy citing ‘state sponsored terrorism’ as the reason fell on deaf ears. The EU delegation under Lord Olof Lindgren that visited Kashmir just four years ago and spoke about human rights issues had a representative from Germany. So why was Geelani sahib’s plea turned down unceremoniously?
Coming back to 2017, our leaders need to take a more realistic stock of the situation and work in the best interests of the Kashmiri people by implementing “sustainable means of protests.” whether protests decisively influence the thinking of the international community is debatable, but one thing is certain- they cause irreparable internal damage and punish the masses. Even Geelani sahib has admitted to this just two months back when he warned Kashmiris that New Delhi is “deliberately creating disturbances in the state and are hell-bent to cripple our economy so that people won’t pursue their freedom movement.” If this is the case, then why is the ‘joint’ Hurriyat playing the role of New Delhi’s accomplice by calling for hartals and helping it to “cripple our economy so that people won’t pursue their freedom movement?”
Hasn’t the time come to not only think but think real hard as to who is really gaining from the protests and hartals in Kashmir?
Email: niloofar.qureshi@yahoo.com

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