Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Last week as Jammu and Kashmir

dr.jayant bhadesia (bhadesia@hotmail.com) has posted a new blog entry.

Blog EntryLast week as Jammu and KashmirAug 12, '08 3:19 AM
for everyone

 Print Story

When moderates bowed before the Jihadis

Tavleen Singh

Posted online: Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 0041 hrs IST

Last week as Jammu and Kashmir boiled over and the Prime Minister called on all political parties to come together and help calm the fires of hatred and violence, I waited to hear one Kashmiri politician speak in a moderate voice. I listened to the speeches of the Abdullahs and the Muftis in the hope that one of them would say that the protests in Srinagar, that started the trouble, were wrong. I waited to hear one of them identify rumours spread by Kashmir's jihadi groups as the root of the problem. Rumours so absurd they talked of a plot to change the demography of Kashmir if Hindu pilgrims were allowed to stay in temporary houses in Amarnath during the yatra. If one 'moderate' Kashmiri politician had denounced the rumours as dangerous lies the fire may have gone out before it spread.

Nobody did.  And, last week at the Prime Minister's meeting they added more fuel to the fire. Farooq Abdullah reportedly said he would sit at his father's grave and ask if coming to India instead of Pakistan was a mistake for Kashmir. Mehmooda Mufti announced on every TV channel that if the road remained closed to Jammu then Kashmiris would look for other roads. Our painfully politically correct TV anchors did not dare ask her what she meant or whether it was not true that her party was part of the Kashmir Government when the land was allotted. The former governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha, has taken every chance to point out that he cannot be blamed for a decision that was taken by the J&K Government, but nobody listened to him. It suited everyone to make him the villain of the story, to blame him for 'spreading Hindutva' by providing basic facilities to Hindu pilgrims.

We now have Hindu Jammu and Muslim Kashmir embroiled in a civil war and it is because we have not heard a moderate voice from Kashmiri politicians. Yasin Malik kidnapped Mehbooba Mufti's sister in 1989 and with that act started the violent movement for azadi. Are Mehbooba and her father not slightly ashamed to be batting on his side today? When he was taken to hospital in enfeebled state because of his fast unto death he told TV reporters that he was doing this because Muslims were being persecuted in Jammu and there was an economic blockade that was preventing 'milik' from reaching Muslim children in Kashmir.

It's hard to expect concern for non-Muslims from Yasin Malik, who admitted famously on television that he trained in Pakistan to fight India or Syed Ali Shah Geelani who wants Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. But, it would have been reassuring to hear from the Abdullahs and Muftis that there was no reason whatsoever for Kashmiris to have made such a huge fuss over the Amarnath land. It would have calmed passions if one of them had admitted that the land was not being given away and better still if one of them had reminded the Kashmiri people that Indian taxpayers pay hundreds of crore rupees a year to send them off on Haj and for Haj houses in our cities to make their pilgrimage easier.

The land in Amarnath was a non-issue. It became an issue because moderate politicians allowed themselves to become the B-team of the jihadis. Privately, many will admit that an ugly Islamism has changed not just the faith of Kashmir but destroyed the movement for azadi by sweeping it under the umbrella of the greater pan-Islamist goal. It is because they do not have the courage to publicly admit to what has happened that they could end up losing next month's election to those who have never hesitated to admit that they hate Hindus and India and like radical Islam.

Kashmir, Kashmiri culture and Kashmiri Islam have been destroyed by this new Islam because Kashmir's moderate politicians have been too cowardly to publicly fight the Islamists. As someone who witnessed the manner in which Islamist mobs violently closed hotels, cinemas, liquor shops and video libraries down in the nineties it saddens me to see Kashmir's supposedly moderate leaders bow before the jihadis once again. Last time it cost them their way of life. This time it could cost them the loss of Jammu. The protests in Jammu have been unacceptably violent and nobody can support violence.

But, it is important to remember that none of this would have happened if Kashmir's moderate leaders had not supported the protests in Srinagar's streets. All it needed was someone to speak up. One voice of reason, one Kashmiri leader who admitted that the protests against the allotment of land in Amarnath were wrong. We have not heard that voice.



Add a Comment

Copyright 2008 Multiply Inc, 6001 Park of Commerce, Boca Raton, FL 33487, USA
Stop e-mails, view our privacy policy, or report abuse: click here

No comments: