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Monday, July 11, 2011

Kashmir-normalcy in paradise

I have to admit in the beginning that the title of this post is intentionally (and maliciously) directed towards those who suddenly feel vindicated that there was never any problem in or with Kashmir. They think it is was just an aberration and the entire population went wayward and collectively decided to spoil twenty three years of their lives; raise an entire generation under the shadow of guns and grenades; curfews and hartals; crackdowns and frisking; killings and disappearances and to tolerate humiliations. Some might even go to the extent saying well they deserved and security forces are just doing sacrosanct job of protecting a piece of land from delinquents. The powers to be instead of gloating might have wisely applied themselves to use prevailing calm in the valley to strive for a solution to the problem? Because I don’t buy apologists refrain that there is no problem in Kashmir. The historical wrongs inflicted on Kashmir cannot be wished away. An unprecedented flow of tourists following high turn out in local elections does not mean everything is hunky-dory with the valley. I could understand the maliciousness of the main stream Indian media and right wing thugs in missing no opportunity in spreading untruth about Kashmir, but when purportedly secularists and intellectuals succumb to those canards, they only end up spreading saffron agenda. Kashmir problem did not start in 1989; that it only took a violent turn. Kashmir problem started even prior to 1947 and even much earlier. Without going into details, there has never been any ambiguity that the instrument of accession signed by the ruler of Kashmir and government of India was temporary. Kashmir had its distinct constitution, with a head of state elected by elected by state assembly and a council of minister headed by prime minister. Despite the tyranny of Dogra rule when time came Karan Singh, son of Hari Singh the last Dogra ruler who fled state after tribal invasion, was elected as the head of state and that arrangement continued until 1967 when Indian government imposed a hand-picked governor, like British resident commissioner. Most of the time appointed governors remained innocuous and sometimes were even gracious; but then there were also obnoxious like Jagmohan. And Jagmohan is the one person who can squarely if not entirely blamed for the cesspool that valley became subsequently where thousands of lives have been lost when those should never have been. Jagmohan displayed flagrant power play at the behest of Indira Gandhi by removing legitimate government of Farooq Abdullah in 1984. It was the time Indira Gandhi sent her two agents Jagmohan and Ram Lal to Srinagar and Hyderabad, respectively. While Jagmohan dismissed Farooq Abdullah; Ram Lal stabbed N. T. Ramarao. While the entire opposition first landed in Srinagar and then Hyderabad.  They succeeded in getting NTR reinstated but not Farooq Abdullah, who had been tagged with an anti-national label. Kashmir ever since dismissal of Farooq Abdullah has never been same again. As a matter of fact it was never same again ever since mid-night dismissal of Sheikh Abdullah and his subsequent incarceration. For those who think there was never any problem in Kashmir, it might be a time to take a lesson or two in history. It would be too much to ask mandarins of Indian government but should they relegate Kashmir issue under any naïve pretext, they will do only at their own peril.   
-Rajiv Kumar

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