A word of caution for SS

By K.N. Pandita

Sangarsh Samiti’s (SS) call for strike has entered 54th day. It is a long and unprecedented event in the history of Jammu.

Congress has come out with a warning asking SS to wind up the agitation. How should this be interpreted?

Tactically, SS is at some slight disadvantage. The agitation started with opposition to the withdrawal of land allocation order by the government. The catalyst to mass movement was Governor Vohra’s insult to Jammu people.

That was New Delhi’s brief for him.. Even Congressman, Mr. Mangat Ram is reported to have told the Governor that Jammu stir would not last more than two or three days. Politicians with short vision have tremendous capacity for self delusion.

The SS focused on the land – deal issue whereas other chronic issues of immense importance — mostly political and economic — cropped up as agitation intensified. Vigorous debates in the media made it amply clear that the Amarnath land deal notwithstanding; there were much more serious issues that needed to be addressed, and particularly the issue of discrimination of Jammu by Srinagar regime.

New Delhi Sultans are veering round the option of withdrawiang both government orders and upholding and implementing the court decision on Amarnath yatra.

In what may be called the farcical talks of All Party Committee, the official side meticulously tenaciously stuck to the land-deal issue and skirted the issue of discrimination, deprivation and lack of development in Jammu region.

Congress circles in New Delhi have not hidden their traditional malice against Jammu nationalist forces by alleging that the groundswell in Kashmir valley happened because SS went out of its way to play its agitation card. Economic blockade of the valley, which never was there, was invented to stir up emotions and mobilize people.

As New Delhi is circumventing the issue of discrimination against Jammu, it is bound to put SS is in an embarrassing situation abut how to shift emphasis from land allocation issue to discrimination issue. Playing its card cleverly, New Delhi wants to hold the bull by its horns.

SS should make the core purpose of the mass movement very clear to the people who have stakes. and more importantly to the state and central teams involved in talks. It means redrawing tactics of mass movement.

Full emphasis has to be laid on self-rule rights of the Jammu region without jeopardizing national interests or the interests of any other group. If the argument is that such a demand would mean secession of Kashmir Valley from the Indian Union, then the Indian leadership has been misleading the world for last six decades.

SS has to understand that New Delhi Sultans will never concede anything to the people of Jammu. The reason is the Kashmir heavyweight. It is of no importance to them that Pakistani flags were hoisted all over the valley on the day of funeral procession of slain Hurriyat leader. It is of no significance to them that hundreds of thousands tried to reach Muzaffarabad crossing LoC. They are happy with the idea that they manage flawed elections in J&K where one or the other party comes to power and India has a face saving.

If these elections were not farcical, why should the mainstream political leadership have vomited anti-India and anti-Hindu venom? Why should have they called it invasion of Hindu civilization on Kashmir? What are their “elected” NLAs and MPs doing when their mass base is eroded?

How long can a farcical game go on? Nowhere in the world has peoples’ mass movement been defeated. Nowhere has the might of the state succeeded in suppressing people’s voice.

Therefore the wise thing for the Indian rulers to do is to go in for referendum in all the three regions and decide according to the wishes of the people. It is time that a bluff is called to six-decade-long Kashmir blackmail.

If the Muslims of Kashmir want to get rid of Indian stranglehold, Jammu people of all shades of colour and content want to get rid of Srinagar stranglehold.

SS has performed its role very well. The time has come it should incorporate total autonomy for all the three regions in the agenda of its political movement. This is the time and this is the opportunity. The call comes from the masses of Jammu, as does form those of Kashmir and Ladakh. A democracy has to respect the wishes of people.. New Delhi may like getting blackmailed for unknown reasons but the Jammuites have all the reason in the world to get disappointed with Srinagar and New Delhi leadership as long as their right to self-rule remains suppressed.

The End

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