As militancy in Kashmir ebbed, declined and waned by the beginning of last decade, tourism became the next big summer phenomenon to talk about. However, this was short-lived seasonal event as street protests gripped the imagination 2008 onwards. Two summers have since been relatively peaceful even as the stone warriors are still potent enough on the streets. This spring it is a different question for the forthcoming summers –is militancy about to return in some big, small or modest way?
Pakistani establishment is so sincere in export of terrorism and religious hatred that despite acute economic problems they somehow find funds to help these groups which promote religious hatred, extremism, violence and terrorism.
India needs to clearly outline its endgame in Kashmir beyond petty politicking within the ambit of a grand strategy, harmonising Kashmir politics and governance with a firm control on the terror emanating out of Pakistan.
Was this a localised problem within the band culture and limited to the social media world or really reflection of radicalism taking deep roots in Kashmiri society?
If India is exploiting whatever I am saying, should that fear keep me silent? They will always exploit everything. But covering up and pretending that we are great, will not make us great. Standing up to truth can only put our house in order. And are we to shrivel up, only so that we can please the onlookers?! If the world is saying, “Look Pakistan is such an irresponsible state, how can we allow them to remain a nuclear power”, well, they are not too far from the mark. And they are not stupid that they needed to wait for my declaration to come to this conclusion. It is written all across our forehead. Aren’t we already labelled as a ‘state sponsoring terrorism’?
Today as the world was beginning to forget their misery (which continues even today), Rahul has relived the traumas he and scores like him faced which first made them refugees within their own state and sixty years later in their own country. Things have only gone from bad to worse in the valley as Kashmir now turns from Sufi to Salafi as the hapless government looks on. Or is it that they have no control over this radicalised imported version of Islam from a Wahabi Saudi with Pakistani activism.
Col Tikoo has demolished many myths and exposed many lies with facts and figures. He has also mercilessly exposed the ‘Janus-faced’ secularism in Kashmir. He has painstakingly explained how successive governments, continued to squeeze the rights of KPs till 1989. This made the subsequent ethnic cleaning perpetrated by Pakistan an easy task.
So, if you’re ever in this part of the world, look me up. I’ll either be in my mother’s bamboo hut in Assam, chatting around a cooking fire with the Thai-Phakes, wandering through the alleys and spice bazaars of the old city in Delhi, hopping trains on my way to the beaches in the south, hanging out with the Tumans in their houseboats on Nageen lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, or powder skiing in the Himalayas. I’d love to show you around.
Early this week Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah carried out massive reshuffle in his council of ministers and also the ruling party National Conference, of which he is the Working President. Though an exercise in interest of political expediency in view of next year’s elections the reshuffle in the cabinet is a first welcome step in giving voices to the margins. The move has significantly challenged the urban power centres to share the highest decision making table with peripheries of all three regions in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the revamp in the ruling National Conference was essentially an honourable exit of few persons from ministry and other positions to make way for some long neglected people and areas
Pakistan, India and J&K are all headed for elections. There, thus, is great patriotic duty of politicians (military in case of Pakistan) to take recourse to rhetoric based grand standing to garner public support in their respective constituencies. In each country and state this has provided the right fodder to the political class to engage in upping the ante – much against preserving National Interest.