Wednesday, 19 January, 2022
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Repeal of Article 370 ended partition sentiment in J&K. Will make peaceful integration possible

We, Kashmiris, are ready to leave dilution and confusion behind, and build a new future within India irrespective of religion, caste or creed.

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Kashmiri youth, since their childhood, have been fed slogans of azadi, autonomy, self-rule, and our so-called “pro-Indian” mainstream politicians since 1947 have always lacked the courage to speak the truth — Kashmir belongs to India. We have to cut through the rhetoric and remember to live as Indians and see the partition ideology for what it is — a farce.

However, since Independence, mainstream Kashmiri leaders have kept on changing their slogans — right from the time when the Indira-Sheikh Accord was signed in 1975, bringing in extensive autonomy and self-governance under Article 370 of the Constitution, which the National Conference still demands, to the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s call for self-rule, which proposed restoration of constitutional guarantees in its undiluted form to the erstwhile state. Their politics has revolved around the India-Pakistan Partition, Jinnah’s two-nation theory and power, nothing else.

On 5 August 2019, the Narendra Modi government announced its decision to abrogate Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in Rajya Sabha and passed a Bill that divided it into two union territories. Despite that, our so-called “pro-Indian”, mainstream leaders kept selling the narrative that Kashmir is a ‘problem’ that needs to be ‘resolved’. They continued pushing their agenda, claiming that the Muslim majority state will now be a Hindu majority, leading to erosion of the Kashmiri identity.

The narrative created by them tricked Kashmiris into believing the lies of the two-nation theories and that New Delhi was the ‘occupying force’ in Kashmir.

They are once again trying to play the victim card. In Kashmir, they talk about getting J&K’s special status back but when they talk with diplomats and media they project themselves as victims who have no other choice but to go with the so-called ‘partition’ sentiment.

It’s unfortunate that even today, politicians of Kashmir are trying to do the same despite the change in J&K’s status quo. It’s strange that even after the decisions taken on 5 August 2019, and the policies of New Delhi, everything seems to be the same. It’s once again looking like the so-called “leaders”, despite being provided all the privileges of their title, keep on talking about the sentiment of liberation that is against the interests of the nation.

It was for the greater good that PM Modi invited the regional leaders for a dialogue at New Delhi, despite their questionable actions of the past.

Also Read: When it comes to Kashmir and Article 370, the axe forgets but the tree remembers

Questions need to be asked

Questions must be asked of these leaders who claim that there was an outrage against the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir. When the J&K’s special status was scrapped and they were detained, a majority of Kashmiri people did not protest against the detention of mainstream leaders, nor did the civil society demand their release. At the end of the day, they were released only after signing a bond agreeing that they will abide by the decisions taken by the government.

People sitting in the national capital should realise that the mindset of a young Kashmiri has changed and they don’t consider the traditional politicians, who fed them with slogans like autonomy and self-rule, as their leaders. The partition mindset of leaders needs to change, the poison they are feeding young brains needs to be stopped. An average Kashmiri, like any Indian, wants their children to study in the best school, get a good job and live a progressive life. But even today, Kashmiris are held in social captivity by politicians, especially by mainstream leaders. While their role should have been to connect and integrate Kashmiris with the rest of the country, they all have, instead, focused on a dynastic rule and received ‘blessings’ from New Delhi.

The so-called ‘people’s leaders’ should stop hoodwinking the masses. The people know that they did nothing for the common Kashmiri. Everyone knows that the kith and kin of these so-called leaders are living a comfortable life outside Kashmir. Their children are studying in famous and expensive colleges across India and in foreign countries. The seats in professional colleges that were reserved for a common man from Kashmir were snatched by these leaders to ensure that their nears and dears become doctors and engineers.

Just a few days back, the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, took a bold step by dismissing eleven terror-friendly government employees. The move has created ripples within bureaucratic circles. Some local officers are following in the footsteps of the politicians by claiming that Kashmiris are being targeted. It looks like they need to be told that if they have nothing to hide, then they need not worry. However, if they are carrying the baggage of the past, then they will be asked to explain their position. It’s quite possible that they might also face the axe.

Also Read: Modi-Gupkar meeting was a four-part game. Delhi has upper hand in three rounds

History of corruption in Kashmir

History stands testimony to the fact that whoever came to power in Jammu and Kashmir till 2018, filled their own coffers. They secured the future of their own children but ruined the lives of common Kashmiris. While the son of a common man in Kashmir has been pushed towards stones and guns, the children of the elite families have remained far away from the violence.

Pakistan has taken full advantage of the chaos and confusion created by local leaders. Our neighbour has succeeded in keeping the conflict alive and has sustained the proxy war, which it launched against India in the 1990s. Had Kashmiri politicians not kept the partition ideology alive, Jammu and Kashmir would have been one of the most progressive states in the country by now.

The people of Kashmir are aware of the fact that Pakistan has no love for Kashmiris. It loves the Kashmir waters and rivers, but not the people or the land. Pakistan has successfully exported terror into the Valley and continues to do so. Pakistan knows that Kashmir has a plethora of natural resources, and if it succeeds in its nefarious designs, it would control everything — from its mountains to its waters.

Kashmir has been silent for the past two years and its people are hoping that promises made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah will be fulfilled soon. A common Kashmiri has already accepted the change in Jammu and Kashmir’s status-quo and is hoping that their miseries will end, finally paving the way for peaceful integration. We, as Kashmiris, are ready to leave dilution and confusion behind, to build a new future within India irrespective of religion, caste or creed.

The author is a journalist, columnist, political activist and the former VC of the JKPCC. He is based in Kashmir. Views are personal.

(Edited by Srinjoy Dey)

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