In these columns it had been pointed out that a new wave of militancy has been rising in Kashmir for past some time. This wave was of young committed and highly educated youth without any external support or motivation. The main reason has been total clamp down on free expression and extreme alienation due to excessive suppression by the security agencies. The spur in this wave was caused by the joining of a Kashmir centric mainstream party having the motto of the “healing touch”, with the extremist Hindutva groups to form a government in the state. This was in spite of the fact that the said party explicitly opposed the entry of Hindutva elements into Kashmir during their election campaign. The youth that had supported and helped the party during election campaign felt betrayed and stabbed in the back. Even the leader of the party Mufti Sahib was reluctant to join and dithered for a month or so. In fact, apparently, he was persuaded by some other members on the plea that it was essential to align with the Government in Delhi to get the massive funds needed for rehabilitation and development. Unfortunately, in spite of a total surrender to the Hindutva party, the promised funds never came and Mufti Sahib virtually died of that shock!
RSS and BJP have always been anti-Muslim. In fact, before the independence of the country, they even opposed the freedom movement and sided with the British. According to Rajeshwar Dayal, the Chief Secretary of the United Provinces in 1947-48, Golwalkar had planned to carry out a Pogrom of Muslims. In his book, “Bunch of Thoughts”,he writes about non-Hindus: “The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture ... In a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizens' rights.” RSS is now giving practical shape to these ideas of Golwalkar through their nominee, Narendra Modi. In this game plan Kashmir and especially, the Kashmiri Muslims have been their favourite targets.
Their first onslaught was in fifties through the Parija Parishad agitation in Jammu for complete merger of J & K state into the Indian Union. This resulted in the dethroning and arrest of the then tallest leader of Kashmir, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who had been duped into accepting India as a progressive and a secular country by Nehru and others. However, these so called progressive leaders of the freedom movement led by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru were able to contain these extremist Hindus only partially. They did not fully succeed in eliminating these extremist Hindutva elements as they had themselves accepted the partition of the country on the basis of religion. These elements continued their movement covertly and came into the open off and on. Now, they are in the open with full onslaught on Muslims especially those from Kashmir who have always been portrayed as “Pakistani Agents”. These days it is a fashion to be anti-Muslim and specifically anti-Kashmiri Muslim as that behaviour is construed to be true “nationalism”! The onslaught is so strong that even the most progressive and secular elements of the recent JNU agitation had to back out from their pro-Kashmiri stand! From “Azadi” for Kashmir they came to the oft repeated slogan of the “Integral Part”!The Hindutva wave has covertly seeped into every institution including Army, Administration and even the Judiciary.
Within Kashmir, the witch hunt and suppression of youth had reached a peak which has now resulted in more and more youth joining militancy. In fact, the DG, CRPF has also said that the youth joining militancy is a cause for concern. Now, the whole thing has been topped up by missive from the Ministry of Home Affairs to various agencies and states to check all Kashmiris in every part of India. Already in Goa, Kolkata, Delhi, and some other places checking of all Kashmiri students, employees or businessmen has started. Because of disturbed conditions in Kashmir, many parents had sent their children to various peaceful institutions in India for studies. Similarly, many Kashmiris right from nineties had set up businesses in different parts of India. However, it seems now, thanks to BJP, no place in India is safe for Kashmiris. Probably, they are being given the final “healing touch”!
The most surprising are the contradictions at the highest political level. The top political leadership in the two neighbouring countries is exhibiting bonhomie by embracing and hugging each other while as at the ground level the Kashmiris supposed to represent the “core” problem are being witch hunted and driven to a wall. The “new nationalists” in India have made it abundantly clear that they want the land of Kashmir and are not interested in the fate of Kashmiris. A columnist friend has called for a debate on the issue. Well, debates do not solve problems. It needs an unconditional stand by all concerned within Kashmir regardless of their ideology or their political streams. In fact, all progressive, secular and truly nationalist persons in India should come out openly to defend Kashmiris all over India. Now that Mehbooba Ji is satisfied with her meeting with the Prime Minister regarding implementation of the Confidence Building Measures, the first CBM to be implemented on the ground should be to ensure safety of Kashmiris within Kashmir and in every part of India. Rehabilitation and development can wait but not the right to life! The alternative, as already pointed out, would be a spur in the new wave of militancy which would be a colossal disaster for the entire sub-continent and ultimately for the entire South Asia if the two sides lose their cool!