By K.N. Pandita
Kashmir separatists and secessionists seem to have changed masters. Ever since the US decided to be more assertive in war in Waziristan region, and in the process, Pakistan got more and more exposed in her double deal, Kashmir insurgency leadership is obsessed with the idea that looking up to Pakistan may bring only harm than good to their movement because of terror notoriety looming on Pakistan. Now they have begun to look to eastern option.
In recent past, there were some clear indications suggesting that China had adopted more belligerent stance on Kashmir, not only to boost the morale of Kashmir seditionists but also gradually to inch towards its ulterior motive of territorial expansion eastward. Of late, China has changed its traditional approach to Kashmir issue and matters related to it.
Apart from encroachment by stealth on our eastern and north- eastern border, and fabricated claims on some Indian territories, Chine lately unfolded a grandiose connectivity plan westward as part of Sino-Pak embrace. Beijing announced its mega plan of laying railway line across the Karakorum, and over the chunk of Kashmir territory illegally ceded to her by Pakistan. Strategic importance of a railway line across the Himalayan watershed is not hidden from the sight of the planners of global strategy. Defence analysts have, on a number of occasions, disclosed that China has fixed long range missile bases along the highway that target Indian cities.
This was followed by yet another adventurous enterprise of extending Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to Eastern Turkestan or Xingjian through the same overland Karakorum route. This option came up when India showed reluctance to be part of the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project. India has her own reason not to take it up.
China’s another step in the series of changing skin on Kashmir —from previous neutrality to present partisanship — came in the shape of her embassy in New Delhi issuing visa to Kashmiris on an attached sheet and not on normal page of the passport. It is an indirect message to India that Beijing considers Kashmir not part of Indian Union. Despite India’s protests, Beijing made no promise to reverse this blatant antagonistic stance.
At the same time, in a piece of brilliant swindling, China invited Hurriyat chief Omar Farooq to China for a “courtesy” visit. This is the Chinese way of leg pulling, fraternizing a recalcitrant seditionist to be its guest of honour. It would be pertinent to recall that the Chinese authorities ordered bulldozing of nearly ten thousand pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square accusing them of sedition. But here it is inviting a seditionist to be its honourable guest.
Kashmir valley seditionists are on India tour to garner support for anti-India movement in Indian civil society. Various homeland NGOs are their sponsors. The plan is not homemade but an imported one, to forge nexus among all dissenting elements in the country. We find “human rights or civil liberties activists” coming together at various fora in the country hoping to build a strong joint front for India bashing.
Kashmir seditionists started with a meet in Delhi where the Maoists, Naxalites, Khalistanis, Hurriyatis, pro-Pakistanis, Naga outfits and wayward “thinkers” all came together to orchestrate anti-India tantrums. Not any ideology, not any common cause but only the mission of spreading anti-India venom binds them together. This was the sum total of New Delhi seminar last month.
Their second meet was at Chandigarh and the third in Kolkatta. Maybe their “Bharat bhraman” takes them on a fairly longer tour of India since there is no scarcity of India bashing supporters and sympathizes in any part of the country, media included.
The seditionists must have noted two things resulting from their “bash India” spree. One is that at all the three places where they managed to use the NGOs as shield; the audience hackled them for their anti-national utterances and distortion of history. This shows that at least a rudiment of awareness has come to some strata of Indian civil society enabling it to distinguish a true nationalist from a fake one. This realization is bound to deepen further with the passage of time. Secondly, having met with outright criticism and repudiate reaction from those who have been hurt the most, the seditionists know in how much water they stand. Observers do not fail to suspect a nexus between the Hurriyatis and Pakistani agencies.
It is technically meaningful that the seditionists and dissenters are given the opportunity to pour out their heart so that they are engaged in a serious debate on crucial issues. Facing serious criticism and reaction should convince them that democracy is not just one-way traffic. We know the background of some of the NGOs and newscasters in this country that are promoting the cause of dissent and sedition. The best way of exposing their designs is to engage those whom they offer platform or assign banner line news in a serious and meaningful debate.
The fact is that the seditionists have been given too long a rope which makes them believe that they can take the entire Indian civil society for a ride. They are under a misconception that freedom of expression, being a fundamental right provided by the constitution, also means the freedom of negotiating sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. These NGOs assume very attractive names and brandish highly polished terminology like peace, progress, human rights, civil liberties etc.
While these NGOs vex eloquent on “human rights violations of Kashmiris”, they meticulously avoid demanding enquiry into the killing of some important personalities in Kashmir like Molvi Muhammad Farooq, the father of Omar Farooq, or of Abdul Ghani Lone, the father of Bilal Lone. An enquiry into these killings might pull out strange skeletons from the cupboard.
In 1953, the Indian state came down with a heavy hand to nail the anti-national elements. But the situation is worse today than what it was in 1953. Additionally, today our national leadership is tactically weak and politically enfeebled.
The Delhi police did not think the entire anti-national tantrum exuded by Hurriyat leader Geelani and his cohorts on the stage in October seminar in Delhi as anti-national. That is what the home minister opined. But now that a court of law has admitted sedition petition against these seditionists, the police is rushing for cover. Only strong governments are capable of meeting threats to territorial integrity of a country. Vacillating home ministry does more harm than good by trying to be seen soft and compromising.
There is a lot that seditionists need to explain about their role. It is for the satisfaction of the toiling masses of Kashmir who are asked day in and day out to paralyze life and work for the destruction of their land and society through, violence, terrorism, hartals, strikes and accusations. The separatist and secessionist leadership has to answer if adopting a confrontational course is going to help Kashmiris in any way.
Kashmir is a dispute, as Mirwaiz said in Kolkatta. The tribal attack of 1947, illegal occupation of a vast chunk of original state of J&K called PoK and Northern Areas by Pakistan, Pakistan’s non-compliance of the UN Resolutions on J&K, by which much tension would have subsided, are all outstanding issues on which clarity from all quarters is to be sought. Kashmir is a dispute and unless illegal occupation of Pakistan and China is vacated, the dispute will go on. Mirwaiz says Kashmir is not a case of development and not a case of peace but a case of azaadi. In major cities of India like Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkatta and Srinagar, the seditionists speak freely and publicly against India challenging her territorial integrity. When the audience counters them, the police take them into protective custody. Is this not azaadi? Mirwaiz and Geelani both hailed Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei’s call to Muslims of the world to support the separatist struggle in Kashmir: the government did not touch them. Is this not azaadi? Let Molvi Omar speak the same language for the Baluchistan Liberation Army or the Jundullah group and he will be shocked by the consequences. Then he will realize who is azaad and what is ghulami. Nawwab Akbar Khan Bugti, the Baluch chief, was killed in his home by a guided missile of Pak Army for the reason that he was a “seditionist” and a “separatist”.
But the Hurriyat separatist and secessionist leaders like Geelani and Omar Farooq are protected by the Indian police against mob frenzy. Who has azaadi, Nawwab Bugti or our honourable secessionists?