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Monday, 15 August 2016

Healing Touch and Kashmir Valley, an Oxymoron

After I finished watching the Prime Minister’s third I-Day speech, I was flipping through the national media channels and I decided to stick to a program in India Today. Here, Rajdeep Sardesai moderated a discussion in India Today channel, where the panel of eight panelists from different walks of life were rating the Prime Minister’s speech.  As the moderator started dwelling into various parts of the speech, he says “should the Prime Minister have addressed the ongoing unrest in Kashmir”. Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan, who the moderator claims is a man in touch with ground realities of this nation, makes a bold statement that the Prime Minister should have at least spoken about the situation in Kashmir as they were in need of a “healing touch”.  This statement which was supported by the congress panelist got me thinking on few things, which I shall list out now.

Do people in the Kashmir valley, who sympathize with a terrorist, really deserve a healing touch?

I have no doubt that the Kashmiri terrorist Burhan Wani, whose death has triggered these events, was hunted down and killed by our security forces. This event in any other part of the country would evoke appreciation and respect for our armed forces. But in our Kashmir valley these incidents make our beloved citizens teary eyed. The Kashmir Valley is thus no stranger to the emotional roller coaster ride of public opinion. The current unrest is thus no different from its several earlier avatars like the 2010 agitation. The mourners in the valley chant 'azadi' (freedom) in the funeral of the terrorist; in effect they want an independent Kashmir valley! The absurdity of this should not be lost here, as these are a group of people who think they are wronged by history and they refuse to move on. But one thing these people forget about is that rest of their countrymen have been wronged by history at some point or other, but they have moved on from sulking and whining to the path of economic progress. So, I don’t think they need any healing touch for their absurdity.

 Does stone pelting warrant a wave of sympathy for pelters?

As is tradition with Kashmiri muslims, the first thing they resort to is riot and use their best form of weaponry – Stones! It’s a form of rioting borrowed from their brothers and sisters in Palestine in what is called “Intifada”. And everybody joins in and it is a lot more dangerous on Fridays. This exact scenario has been playing in the valley for more than a month now. But this time there have been other dimensions to this stone-pelting business. From behind kids and young men, there were rioters who were throwing grenades at our jawans. That is stretching it beyond tolerance. And rightfully, the jawans shot metal pellets at the rioters that caused injuries to many, some of them serious. One shouldn’t expect to continuously throw stones and grenades and expect to be greeted with flowers and appreciation. Can you imagine the situation where stone pelters have to be sympathised with and what consequences such an act of sympathy would lead to? It would encourage people in rest of the country to throw stones for fulfilling their demands, which would create chaos and affect the rule of law in the country. Finally, what these people deserve is swift justice and not a wave of sympathy.

 Does our heart bleed for the situation in valley?

Yes, it certainly does but that is for our jawans and security forces. This is because, we would rather see a dozen Wanis and pelters killed outright than even have ONE of our jawans even injured. Our heart doesn’t bleed for people as, the first and most important point about the current unrest is the limited nature of its geographic spread. The unrest and violence is confined to the Kashmir valley with not a squeak from the Jammu, Kargil and Ladakh divisions. It is clear that the separatists and their followers have no support in the rest of J&K. It is bogus for them to claim to be talking of J&K and its future. If there is something that these recent events have uncovered, then it is undoubtedly the idea of secession based on extremist religious identity. India is home to all the world's religions and over 180 million Muslims. If 180 million Muslims can be part of India, what is the basis on which the 4 or 5 million Muslims in the Kashmir Valley wish to secede? Everybody in this country including us should set the record straight and equivocally make it clear to our fellow citizens of the valley that Indian Constitution gives all the fundamental rights to its citizens, including Kashmiri’s, and thus we reject the demands for secession based on religious identity and our hearts don’t bleed for stone pelters and secessionists.

In conclusion, what our liberal, communist media and civil society should realize is that there is a sea of other people in this country whose voices and problems deserve the nation’s attention rather than our stone pelting Kashmiri citizens who have no regard for what they have been given. These other people belonging to host of other states are law abiding citizens whose problems and concerns go unanswered because our media and activists are so engaged in providing healing touch to law breakers, stone pelters and terrorist sympathizers of the Kashmir valley.

Happy Independence Day!!!

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