STOP !

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Don’t let those groups visit Kashmir who accord a dangerous legitimacy to the cult of gun and the cult of separatism based on religion

Waseem Gul

I was a teenager when I started hearing about the individuals and groups visiting Kashmir. The names would be on repeat sometimes. Gautam Navlakha, Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Kavita Krishnan, Yashwant Sinha, Kapil Kak, Wajahat Habibullah, Sushobha Barve, Bharat Bhushan, others. I heard them talking of the “pain of Kashmir”. Through school and college, I heard boys discussing the statements made by these individuals. They described even normal events in the society as “New Delhi’s attack on Kashmiri identity, culture, religion and demography”.

Photo-ops with leading separatists

These individuals had photo-ops with the leading separatists of Kashmir. The same separatists who have indoctrinated generations of Kashmiris with hatred for India and accession to Pakistan on the ground of religion. The same separatists who have led organizations that nourish dangerous anti-India militant groups under their umbrella.

These individuals prepared reports based on their visit to Kashmir and released them to the media. Did these individuals realize that their statements accorded a dangerous legitimacy to the cult of gun and the cult of separatism based on religion?

Playing a dangerous game in Kashmir

I realized that some of these individuals seemed to have too much of a sugar-coated tongue for Kashmir. Did they realize that their words would indoctrinate young Kashmiri minds? Or did they do this deliberately?

Through my college years, I continued to think of these individuals as mercenaries in Delhi and other parts of India who do not want peace to return to Kashmir. I always wondered whether they were paid by Pakistan to do so. It seems to me that these individuals want the Kashmir pot to remain boiling so that they mint money and lead a luxurious life at the cost of gullible Kashmiri Muslims. Kashmir has become a Get Famous Quick zone for such individuals.

I have gone through the reports prepared by these groups after their visit to Kashmir. Only a few days ago, one such report was released by a group called the Concerned Citizens Group (CCG), comprising Mr Yashwant Sinha, Mr Wajahat Habibullah, Mr Kapil Kak, Ms Sushobha Barve and Mr Bharat Bhushan. I found the report nasty, like their earlier reports. These reports are based on lies. They are drafted based on inputs given by Pakistan’s proxies. The group seems to have ignored all sane or nationalist voices in Kashmir.

Why do these groups only meet only those people who have a separatist mindset? Why do they seek to convey that their reports represent the ordinary Kashmiri youth?

In order to keep their shops going, these individuals make reports and issue statements that support the secessionist narrative. Their stand propagates the narrative of foreign agencies and Pakistan’s proxies in Kashmir. This impacts young minds in the Valley.

They begin their report by saying: “On the face of it, Srinagar seemed peaceful. People were seen going about their daily chores. Life seemed more ‘normal’ compared to our earlier visits.”

In the rest of the report, they work on demolishing the assumption that life in Srinagar is normal. The group claims in their nasty report that the people of Kashmir are not ready to accept the Centre’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu & Kashmir. The report further states that there is no space for any dissent or criticism of the government policies and police action on any platform – be it social media, print or electronic media, and that journalism has been virtually criminalized. The report claims that no protests by civil society are allowed, nor are rallies by political parties permitted.

What the Sinha Group Seeks to Achieve

So here is what Mr Yashwant Sinha, Mr Wajahat Habibullah, Mr Kapil Kak, Ms Sushobha Barve and Mr Bharat Bhushan are trying to do. They are trying to portray the Modi government as a dictatorship over Kashmir. Are they deliberately trying to provoke the common youth of Jammu and Kashmir, which will lead to bloodshed, loss of lives and a toxic circle of death? Are they so desperate to keep the Kashmir pot boiling for their own benefits?

Why does Mr Yashwant Sinha’s group neglect the ground reality that democracy has been strengthened in Jammu and Kashmir through elections to District Development Councils?

Why does the Yashwant Sinha group ignore that stone-pelting has become a rare occurrence in Kashmir, when it was once commonplace even by school and college students.

Why doesn’t the Yashwant Sinha group appreciate that stone-pelting by indoctrinated youth has stopped, because it criminalizes the society.

The CCG report is a bundle of lies being peddled by these individuals for their own benefit. The youth of the Valley must rise against this propaganda and make it clear once for all that the machinations of these thugs are not going to work. Why doesn’t the Government of India act tough against these thugs, who are here to burn the valley again? If the Indian state does not act tough against these groups, the message will be sent that these groups have the nod of the government. In that case the Government of India should stop drumbeating that they are serious about bringing peace to Kashmir.

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