Kashmir: The debate on ‘Azadi’

Views from Srinagar

Bashir Ahmad Dar

INAUGURATING the Ujala Scheme in Jammu and on her return from New Delhi Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti berated the people demanding “Azadi”. Her critical response was whether the people demanding “Azadi” were asking for the kind that is in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
She demanded whether people wanted “Azadi” where innocents are killed, children blinded and maimed?” While lambasting people she was overconfident on her understanding which is not good. Her body language was not amicable.
The coalition government of PDP and BJP has been corrupted by power. The mishandling of state’s affairs since the alliance was forged has proved that absolute power corrupts absolutely. They leaders when elected deride the people and derive sadistic pleasure from suffering of the people.
What is happening in countries in Middle East and Afghanistan is an outcome of naked aggression and continued interference by imperialistic powers for their own ends. An average Kashmiri has the necessary understanding about the burning Middle East and when the blame should be placed.
Kashmiris abhor violence and would never want such a situation to occur. Kashmiris firmly believe in pluralism and are firm proponents of multiculturalism. There is no place for sectarianism and communalism in Kashmir ethos and that is what Kashmiryat is. As far as self-determination is considered people wish it but no one wants it with the present violence in which 72 innocent persons have been killed including young and old, children have been mercilessly beaten and more than 600 young people in Kashmir have been blinded by pellets. People of Kashmir have been injured and killed by government forces and AFSPA is giving a clean chit to the trigger-happy.
Yes, people want azadi to live a dignified life and exercise human rights as per Universal Declaration of Human Rights. People want self-determination so that children, teenagers, adults, men and women, old and young are not beaten, maimed, blinded, killed or for that matter imprisoned. People want self-determination in which there is no scope for theatrics like the ones played on 8th and 9th August 1953 in which Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the most popular leader of the time, was deposed and arrested and a personal favourite Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad was “installed” to get things done. Then there was the holy relic incident of 26th December, 1963 for putting in place Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq to get eroded the special position the state enjoyed since 1949 under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Then there was the drama of 25th February, 1975 of reinstalling Sheikh Abdullah without allowing him the luxury of fighting an election; the melodrama of July 1984 in which the government of an assertive Farooq Abdullah was toppled by engineering defections and taming the cub for full integration of the state against all norms of democracy followed by the absurdity of 1987 elections that witnessed massive rigging to keep Farooq Abdullah in place.
People want self-determination in which there is absolutely no scope for massacres like those of Gaukadal, Zakura, Tengpora, Bijbehara, Sopore, Kupwar, Sangrampora, Wandhama, Chattisingpora, Kishtawar, Kaluchak, Nandimarg, etc., in which thousand of Kashmiris were killed in cold blooded murders.
People want to live in those conditions in which there is no scope for enforced disappearances which have created more than 8000 half-widows waiting in vain for over a decade now to know the whereabouts of their missing husbands. People want self determination to bring to justice all the people responsible for killings; kidnappings; torturing innocents; massacres; enforced disappearances and other human rights violations.
People want a state in which there is no scope for Abdullahs, Bakhshis, Shamasdins, Sadiqs, Qasims and Muftis to bargain the dignity, honour and freedom of people for self-aggrandizement. People want it to get rid of Qadir Ganderbalis and Kuka Parrays, the SOG, the Task Force, the VDCs so that they can enjoy human rights due to them. People want freedom from all anti- people laws like AFSPA under which reckless trigger happy jawans enjoy impunity from any punishment after indulging in torture, killing and blinding people, disabling and incapacitating people indiscriminately. People want azadi from PSA – the lawless law under which hundreds of people of all ages including children and teenagers aged 8 and above are languishing in jails in and outside Kashmir.
People want azadi to reclaim the space occupied by Security forces and the police throughout the length and breadth of the State. Every habitation in Kashmir is heavily militarized hampering even the normal movement of civilian population. People want complete withdrawal of armed forces from civilian areas and substantial reduction in armed forces.
People want freedom to be able to take rational decision about their present and future. They want social, political and economic freedom. They want control over the state resources, particularly the water resources including the existing hydel power stations for economic development.
People want azadi for a peaceful co-existence in which all citizens enjoy equal rights irrespective of caste, creed, religion or language. People want azadi from all types of prejudices in which there is no scope for Ranchi, Bhivandi, Muzaffer Nagar, Bombay, Delhi and Gujarat riots.
Confidence Building Measures: Immediate end to use of force particularly pellet guns; Immediate vacation of schools occupied by the security forces; Unconditional release of people including children taken in to custody in unrest period; Immediate stop to nocturnal raids, harassing people and damaging property; Judicial Inquiry to investigate cases of loot and arson by armed forces as complained by people; Unconditional release of political prisoners; Immediate review of all PSA cases and release of the people booked under it; Withdrawal of security forces and police men from all civilian places;
—Courtesy: Rising Kashmir
[Author can be mailed at bashir_ahad2004 @yahoo.com]

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