Kashmir Magazine

Younis Sideeq Wani

Kashmir, the place called “paradise on earth”, has witnessed turmoil for lot many years. Perhaps, since independence peopleare doomed to recall the chaos and bloodshed, agitation and fragmentation, violence and oppression, executions and miseries that have wounded the inner soul of people. Even today, the era that made headlines “Kashmir on the boil” still happens to be a snare that makes people battle around and cry out their sentiments that people of India running government could never decode.
However, flock of people from Kashmir has slapped the death and is ready to fight every circumstance, whatsoever.Large number of people still has faith in the present government at state and center that make certain promises to fulfill but are yet to be even considered. Yes, solving the Kashmir issue has been every party’s commitment and vow but not even asingle party had lived up to their promises nor at an outlook to initiate a proper dialogue,neither with the stakeholders nor with the humanity of Kashmir.Political bigwigs from center have been visiting Kashmir,literally not to solve the Kashmir issue rather comes to strategize the way to consolidate the party at the grass-root level with an eye to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.We have been listening to various politicians and other diplomats who continue to make remarks and claim that “Kashmir is a disputed part and need to be addressed politically”but amid all these statements, the issue in Kashmir has always been addressed militarily but never politically.
Several factorsresponsible for atrocitiesin the valley.
• Instrument of accession: It has often been a part of political discourse for decades in our news hours and debates. Instrument of accession is an agreement signed by Maharaja Hari Singh who always wanted to keep Jammu and Kashmir an independent state but the situation ascended in the stateprompted Maharaja to sign the instrument of accession on 26th of October 1947 under terms and conditions against the will of the majority of people.
Last year, former FM, P. Chidambaram proposed a dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir with the starting point being the “Instrument of accession”.

• Kashmir, a dispute between two rippling nuclear nations: Pakistan being a Muslim dominant countrythatcarved out from India on the basis of religion, which even British leaders agreed that partition is the best way to limit the mayhem and bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims. However, it seemed skeptical to the people of India, whether agreeing on the “partition” was a strategy of their “divide and rule” policy. In 1947, it was decided that the areas with majority of Muslim population will fall under the demography of Pakistan that later led approximately 30% of Jammu and Kashmir (princely state) merge Pakistan. The part is called “Azaad Kashmir” and also known as Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), while the other part with Muslim majority, also known as Kashmir or Indian Administrated Kashmir (IAK) remains under the Indian topography, which is the premise of bitter bilateral relations between the two countries. India claiming it as an integral part of their nation and Pakistan claim it theirs’ by the accord of “accession”.
“Kashmir dispute is a political issue and the people of Kashmir will never find peace until this dispute is not politically resolved,” said former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. He adds, “Our own proposed solution and agenda aside, we will continue demanding that New Delhi initiates an unconditional political engagement with all other stakeholders, including the Hurriyat leadership in a sincere effort to end the turmoil and bloodshed in Kashmir and find a lasting solution to the political issue”.
Moreover, the violation of ceasefire at LoC by Pakistani troopers and surgical strike like activities by Indian armed forces add more fuel to the disorder in the valley.The escalation in ceasefire violation along the de facto Line of Control (LoC) has created the scene of carnage in the border villages of Indian occupied Kashmir leaving people in discomfort and forced to flee from the solace of their homes to settle down in migration camps.

• Execution of Afzal Guru in Tihar Jail:Afzal Guru was a Kashmiri separatist, who was convicted in 2001 Indian parliament attack. He was awarded with death sentence by Supreme Court on 4 August 2005, and was executed by hanging on 9th of February 2013. The mercy petition was filed against his execution that was requested to be rejected by Ministry of Home affairs. His execution was carried out secretly without making any public announcements giving it a code name “Operation Three Star”. Even his family was informed after he was hanged(through a letter written by Guru himself) just before his execution. However, tension flared through the corners of Kashmir and later scuffle broke out in different parts of Delhi involving, students of Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. The main reason that still bothers the people of Kashmir and humanity is that after the execution, his body was not handed over to his family rather was said, that his body has been rested under the dust of Tihar Jail. So, this added a fuel to the unrest in the valley.

• BJP-PDP Alliance:The Jammu and Kashmir state legislative elections, 2014 washeld in five phases. The election recorded highest voting turnout in last 25 years, more than 66%, despite several boycott calls by hurriyat leaders. “In fact, Pakistan and militant groups tried their best to destabilise the democratic process in the state, said former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.

PDP became the single largest party with 28 seats followed by BJP with 25. However, their numbers led them to a dialogue and ended up merging as “agenda for alliance” under some conditions between the two parties. This breakthrough resulted as the “dark-period” in J&K, which acted as a catalyst to grow the unrest and proved heinous to peace and harmony in the valley. People were skeptical over this alliance from the very beginning and arouse their apprehension.
PDP-BJP alliance has brought the State to “the verge of mayhem and turmoil,” said former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and working president of NC, Omar Abdullah.
Senior People’s Democratic Party leader and former deputy CM Muzaffar Hussain Baig in an interview with News18 said, Mehbooba should “go back to the people,” instead of “sticking to the alliance” with BJP.
The PDP has been “the loser in the coalition” as it has “lost more political capital than the BJP” Baig said. He also added that “There is disenchantment, inexperience and lack of commitment in the present coalition government. Mehbooba has to take a hard view of it.”
Even the senior BJP leader and former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha hit out at the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir for not acting on the 'agenda of alliance'--a common minimum programme prepared by the coalition government.
"More than two years have passed and we have not acted upon that document, instead we are finding alibi for why we have not acted upon that document," Yashwant Sinha said. The coalition still continues but is yet to initiate the dialogue to end the oppression in the valley.

• Nutralisation of Hizb Commander, Burhan Wani: On 8th of July 2016, Indian paramilitary forces gunned down Hizbul Mujahidin commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani. A man who was known for his voice notes and videos on social media that went viral and made impact on the people to join him against the oppression and human right violation in Kashmir. Widespread protests erupted in the Kashmir valley after Burhan’s deathcausing unrest in valley for nearly six months. In which
At the age of 15, Burhan fled from his home to join a militant group on 16 October 2010 due to an incident in which security forces beat him up along with his friend Khalid (who also got killed by the Indian Army on 13April 2015 over an allegation that he was a militant sympathizer who had taken his friends to get them recruited. The Jammu and Kashmir police couldn’t confirm or deny whether he and his friends had joined militancy), according to his father who claimed to have been accompanying him.
The death of Burhan Wani sent alarms to every corner of the valley resulting in protests, bloodshed and mayhem. Contrary to this,Indian Armed Forces occasionally violated the Human Rights, which went unnoticed in the largest said democracy that fueled the unrest.

• Use of Pellet guns and Human Right Violation
The valley remained under curfew for53 consecutive days.
On January 24, 2018 Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said in the Legislative Council. Violent protests have rocked the valley after the killing of HM commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 206. As many 51 people got killed in the Kashmir division from July 8, 2016 to February 27, 2017 in the unrest. While over 9042people were injured in the firing of bullets, pellets, pava-shells and others during the period.
Of these 6221 were injured due to pellets, 368 due to bullets, four due to pava-shells and 2449 suffered other injuries, she said.
As many as 782 people suffered injuries in their eyes due to the pellets.
“There have been some human rights violations in Kashmir … and it is a fact [that] mistakes have been made on both sides and ultimately Kashmiris have suffered,” said, Waheed-Ur-Rehman, spokesperson for PDP.

Amid the by-election that were held last year in the valley. An Army Major Leetul Gogoi who was honored by the Army the day after he tied Farooq Ahmad Dar to the bonnet of a jeep to save his men and election officials while parading through a violence-hit area in Srinagar. It is said that he had gone to vote, not to protest. Major Gogoi, however, asserted that he was instigating the protest.
“Had we opened fire, there would have been a dozen causalities…I got a fraction of a moment to get out safely. I saved at least 12 lives,” said Major Gogoi, who received a Commendation Card from Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat.
General Bipin Rawat who met CM Mehbooba Mufti after the incident took place assured her of timely action against its personnel who were responsible for tying a man to the vehicle at Budgam as ‘human shield’. The probe in the matter was as such that General Rawat, honored him with a Commendation.
The video of a man tied to jeep sparked outrage on social media. In the background, an army solider can be heard saying, “Yehi haal hoga pathar baazon ka [This will be the fate of stone-palters].”
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, said on Twitter, “This requires an urgent inquiry and follow up NOW!”
Mirwaiz Umer Farooq Chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) said that the honor has not “come as a shock to Kashmiris.”
“This is how the army has been conducting itself in Kashmir for so long,” he stressed. It is a “clear message to how Indian authorities are rewarding human rights violators in the valley and all the inquiries are a farce. It also shows how they view Kashmiri sentiment which was so hurt by the incident,” he added.

• Opposition: Opposition plays a vital role in every government. Similarly, National Conference (NC) a party in opposition proved a threat to the PDP-BJP led government in the Kashmir valley post their collation and the death of Burhan Wani, which led people to streets.
NC president and former Chief Minister of the state Omar Abdullah cursed the government over the innocent killings and unrest in the valley. Moreover, he targeted the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti over the use of pellet guns by the Indian Armed Forces and failing to stop its massive use in the valley. “We disapprove of it… but we will have to persist with this necessary evil till we find a non-lethal alternative,” said then J&K government spokesperson and education minister Nayeem Akhtar.
Though the use of pellet guns was first witnessed in 2010, when Omar Abdullah was the chief minister of the state. But after his government was flushed down by the People’s Democratic Party in 2014 state elections after which Kashmir witnessed unrest for over six months, he recalled how Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti opposed the use of pellet guns while she was in the opposition.
“Unfortunately, despite the enormous and staggering human costs of using these guns that we witnessed in 2016, Mehbooba remains unmoved…Imagine the height of hypocrisy and shamelessness that this government has the audacity to not only continue with the use of pellet guns but also increased their number ten-fold. Making customary offers of donating her eyes to pellet victims cannot absolve her of this new U-turn,” he said.
Omar also expressed disappointment at PDP’s “deliberate and deafening” silence on the comments made by senior BJP leader and its Member of Parliament, Sakshi Maharaj, who had recently remarked that there was no place for Muslims to be buried in the India and they should be cremated.
“Such is the extent and depth of PDP’s sell-out to the BJP that they can’t even muster the courage to oppose Sakshi Maharaj’s statement denigrating Muslims and questioning their right to be buries in accordance to their religious rights and rituals PDP is partner of the BJP and is a part and parcel of such communal programs that are aimed at harassing and intimidating minorities in order to derive political dividends in elections around the country,” he said.

Omar Abdullah proved himself a bitter for the government in power post Burhan Wani’s killing and the use of pellet guns at large scale, which served him better to put up his arguments with credible facts. Even he demanded Mehbooba to “own her wrongs” over killings in the valley.
“This chair demands that you accept and own your wrongs to learn from them. If you (Mehbooba Mufti) continue to blame others then you have no right to sit on this chair, said Omar Abdullah.

Mayhem still continues, bloodshed still graphitizes the agitated graveyards, separatists still demand freedom and some people still stand by their words. The curfew is imposed at least once a week, separatists are sent behind the bars and some innocents to rest forever. Calls for shutdown keeps on fluctuating so does the intuition of political leaders with regard to the “dialogue”.

“In Kashmir when we wake up and say ‘Good Morning’ what we really mean is ‘Good Mourning’.
Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the Kashmir Magazine