Views from Srinagar
In occupied Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik wrote an open letter to the “world most powerful country”, reminding it of how it failed to question India over the sabotage of the 2006 Kashmir resolution process by the Indian bureaucracy.
Muhammad Yasin Malik In the letter said that in February 2006, he met the then prime minister of India Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and presented a copy of 15 lakh signatures of Kashmiris that JKLF collected during its signature campaign to him.
During the meeting, Malik writes, the Indian premier told him that India was “trying hard” to resolve Kashmir dispute and for this, they were having a “fruitful dialogue” with Pakistan also. “Prime Minister Manmohan told me, ‘Be assured Mr. Malik, I want to resolve this issue.”
“In reply”, Malik writes, “I said if India is ready to resolve the issue, then it should be ready to accommodate every stakeholder in the process of the resolution. I advocated the inclusion of United Jihad Council into the process. … I asserted that militant leadership was a reality and any ones liking or disliking cannot deny this reality and if any stakeholder is kept out of the resolution process, then we are actually giving them a genuine reason to sabotage that process. On hearing my argument, the Indian premier asked me ‘can you guide me on this issue’,” Malik writes in the letter, published by a Srinagar-based newspaper.
“I said I wanted to discuss this delicate issue one-on-one and immediately the Indian premier took me to a separate room with the request to include Indian home minister in the meeting. During this one-on-one meeting, I told the Indian premier that how successive Indian governments from IK Gujral to Vajpayee to HD Devegowda were engaged in talks with the NAGA militants that too in a third country. I said that Indians neither asked NAGAs to surrender their arms first nor did put any pre-condition. Even Indian forces don’t enter the territories held by the NAGA militants. So if Indians have no reservation while talking to NAGA militants, why they are shying away from taking to Kashmiri militants. Why these double standards?” Malik writes in the letter, which has been addressed to “the United States of America.”
Malik writes, the Indian prime minster asked him about the help he could provide in this regard. “I said I am planning to visit US and there, besides taking up this issue with the American authorities, I can also seek the help of a fellow Kashmiri living there. Soon after this meeting, I went to US and had a meeting with US State Department at the Capitol Hills. Ghualm Nabi Fai of the Kashmiri American Council was also with me,” the JKLF chief writes, in what could be one of the first such publicly-known disclosures on the process of resolution of Kashmir issue.
The US assistant secretary of state for south and central Asian affairs, Christina B Rocca, director Intelligence and research US State Department Walter Anderson, executive secretary of the State Department Harry Thomas along with desk heads of India and Pakistan were present in the meeting. “I informed them about my parleys with the Indian prime minster and the issue of making the resolution process more inclusive. I said if the international community was serious for the resolution of Kashmir dispute, then Kashmiri militant leadership should also be taken on board. Christina Rocca instantly interfered and said ‘Yasin! What you are talking about is illegal in USA’. I said I am not going to debate on legality and illegality of this. My point is that if the ongoing process is a resolution process, then we should take every stakeholder on board because ignoring any stakeholder is actually giving him or them a license to sabotage and turn this process into an assassination process,” the JKLF chief writes. “This cooled down her a bit and she said ‘you should meet other people also on this issue and convince them.’
“Soon”, Malik writes, “I was invited to the White House to hold a meeting with Elisabeth Millard, Special Assistant to US President Bush and Senior Director for South and Central Asian Affairs. The response was positive and before I left US, I asked Fai Sahib to remain in touch as we may have to travel to Pakistan also. I came back to New Delhi where I met officials of the US and British embassies and informed them about the happenings. They asked me to inform them before leaving for Pakistan so that they could inform their embassies in Islamabad. Soon I was in Pakistan to attend a conference.”
Questioning US and UK, Malik writes that the fact that pained him was that the two countries “knew each and everything vis-a-vis the process and hence should have questioned Indians about why they failed the process but they chose to remain silent.”
“On this I once met the first secretary at US embassy in New Delhi and asked him why they didn’t ask Indians about the same. His reply came as a surprise to me. He said ‘look Yasin, India is an elephant and an elephant moves by itself and cannot be moved by anyone’. I told him that if they knew this much about India, why they engaged with it in the first place,” Malik writes further. “I told him that same was done to JKLF in 1994, when US, UK and European envoys convinced us to shun the gun and provide peace a chance. They assured us that in case we do it, they will ensure space to our peaceful political struggle. They guaranteed us that resolving Kashmir issue will be their foremost priority but what happened was a total failure on their part.”
Malik writes that on persuasion of the US, UK and European envoys, “I took the most unpopular decision of unilateral ceasefire endangering my and the lives of my colleagues.”
“More than 600 of my colleagues were gunned down by Indian forces after this but no one from the international community intervened. I and my colleagues propagated peaceful struggle through historic signature campaign Safer-e-Azadi and other political programs resulting in a historic transformation in 2008 when people of Jammu Kashmir as a nation transformed its struggle from a violent to a non-violent outlook.”
“I along with my people was hoping that USA and rest of the international community will acknowledge this good change and intervene but nothing like that happened. Indians crushed this mass uprising with their military might, killing 72 innocents in 2008, 45 in 2009 and 128 in 2010 with impunity. No one questioned this state-sponsored violence against unarmed civilians as policies based on morals and human instincts were fast disappearing and taken over by the policies based on economic benefits, big market deals and security cum foreign policy matters,” the JKLF chief writes, adding: “What is more distressing is that from 2010 mass uprising, the diplomats from USA and Europe who from 1990 till 2010 used to visit Kashmir and meet resistance leadership frequently, suddenly stopped meeting the resistance camp and instead have been meeting the collaborators since then. This is apparently the outcome of India-US strategic partnership deal and this is yet another example of the obliviousness of the international community. This is a sorry state of affairs but a bitter fact that this kind of selfish attitude has proved detrimental to humanity and it has a potential of ruining nations and destroying regions.”
Malik writes that from 1947 till date, “despite many provocations, Kashmiris have never pursued any global agenda regarding their struggle. We have always strived for a peaceful resolution of the disputed nature of Jammu Kashmir but neither India nor the rest of the international community have acknowledged our peaceful struggle. From 2008, thousands of our young educated youth are facing the wrath of Indian oppression. They are being arrested, put in jails under black laws, tortured, blinded, their families humiliated by Indian forces and police, resulting in many of them joining the armed struggle.”