The Kashmir

January 20, 2012

Curfewed Night – A book review ~ by Prof. GL Jalali | #Kashmir

Filed under: Jihad, Kashmir — Tags: , , , , , — TheKashmir @ 5:06 am

Book review –    Curfewed Night

Prof. G.L. Jalali

Packed with facts and fiction, narrated in a locale of electrified human emotions

TITLE……………………Curfewed Night ; AUTHOR………………….Basharat Peer

DATE OF PUBLICATION…………….2010 ;PAGES………………………………….221

PUBLISHER……..Harper Publications, London

Its racy prose is both lyrical and moving, subject matter most poignant It describes what a heaven it (Kashmir) was and what a hell it is now – all man made.

It is an emotional tale of mans’ love for his land, the pain of leaving home and ultimately the joy of return

In the wake of the ongoing Muslim insurgency in the erstwhile princely Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that broke out in 1989 a spute of books, dealing with the J&K insurgency, have flooded the world book market. These books were authored mostly by the persons living either outside J&K or some foreign writers. There were a few Kashmir authors who wrote copiously on the Kashmir subject. Mr. Basharat Peer, the author of Curfewed Night (under review) is one such author who has the distinction of writing a revealing book on the ongoing political turmoil in his native land – the scenic valley of Kashmir. His book “Curfewed Night” is the memoir of a young Kashmiri Muslim Journalist who spent his childhood and adolescent years in the strife ridden Kashmiri valley.

Belonging to a well-to-do Muslim Peer (priestly) family, Basharat’s father Mr.GA Peer is a serving bureaucrat (now posted as Commissioner-cum-Education Secretary in J & K state).His mother serves as a school teacher while his grand father is a retired head-master of a Government Secondary School. His upbringing was unlike that of other Muslim boys in his native village, Seer which is on way to valley’s internationally known tourist spot. Gifted with rich imagination and deft of thought, Basharat Peer describes his village environs-open paddy fields, neighboring mountains, rich flora and fauna, village houses with thatched roofs, running and roaring brooks – in an artistic manner couched in a simple, readable and, above all, racy style of his prose reminiscent of any matured and experienced English writer. Still, the young scribe has to go miles ahead. For his style of writing I offer my hearty congratutions to Mr. Basharat Peer.

The book consists of sixteen chapters running over two hundred twenty one pages. Each chapter carries an appropriate heading, capping the details given inside the chapter. Chapters from one to eight describe author’s early life up to the period when he is all set to leave the valley for plains in search of new green pastures and to make a successful career. In the second part the author of the Curfewed Night describes his journey as a reporter of a Delhi based newspaper through length and breadth of Kashmir, meeting a cross-section of the Kashmiris and noting their reaction towards the militancy that engulfed his homeland.

So the book titled Curfewed Night is an anecdotal record of the events seen through the prism of a writer who, overtly or covertly, sympathizes with the militants. It is a chronicle of events keenly observed by a young Muslim journalist who grows up watching this charming valley turning into a hotbed of Muslim insurgency.

Basharat Peer’s narrative takes the reader into 1990s when almost the whole of Kashmir valley was overtaken very badly by Pak-sponsored militancy. The author was only 13 years old boy, reading in a village school when the Indian army was fighting a tough gurrila war with the Pakistan trained militants.

Pakistan had never reconciled with the Indian stand on Kashmir.  When General Zia-UI-Haq came to power in a military coup against the democratically elected Bhutto Government, Pakistan started a proxy-war to grab Kashmir. It started indoctrinating Kashmiri Muslim youth, giving them arms training at military camps set up in PoK by Pakistan’s infamous ISl. Thus started the Jihad in Kashmir. It burst forth with vigor in 1990. The civilian government in the valley was almost subverted. That is what Mr. Basharat Peer, the author of the book the Curfewed Night under review, calls “Independence movement”.

Even in his adolescence, he was swept by this “Freedom movement” which was in full bloom. Once it so happened that he had to join a procession of “Freedom Fighters”, he felt himself a part of “something larger’……”Fighting and dying”. Fired with a strong urge to usher in an Isiamic order and to overpower the enemies of their so-called freedom, Basharat’s school friends would cross high-mountain peaks, standing magnificently all along the border with PoK, to receive arms training in alien climes. The rebel in the young school-going boy, Basharat, take the place of a coy- some sibling of a middle-class rural Muslim family and decides to join the much talked about freedom-struggle as Mujahideen. He wants to bid adieu to studies at school.

Peer’s parents heard about their sons firm resolve to join JKLF, the then premier militant outfit, fighting for valley’s independence. His parents intervened and succeeded in preventing young Basharat from joining the militant outfit. “He can join after finishing his studies,” they said to their overzealous son. Rebellion, his father said repeatedly, were led by educated men. The young boy had to yield to the wishes of his parents. He draws a pen picture of the situation appering in February 1990 in the valley, particularly in Srinagar. The author says, “By February 1990 Kashmir was in the midst of a full-blown rebellion against India. Every evening we heard the news of more protests and deaths. Protests followed killings, and killings followed protests. News came from Srinagar that hundreds of thousands of people had marched to pray for independence at the shrine of the patron saint of Kashmir, Nooruddin Rishi. All over the state similar marches to the shrines of Surfi saints were launched. I joined a procession to the shrine of a much revered Zain Shah Sahib at Aishmuqam near my school”(page 17). It is worth mentioning that Saint Zain Shah was originally a Kashmiri Brahman converted to Islam in 15th century,. When Kashmir was ruled by some fanatic Muslim rulers, including the infamous idol breaker Sikender Butshekan. As admitted by the author of the Curfewed Night, it was a full-fledged revolt against India, provoked and abetted by Pakistan in collabration with the Sunni Musllim Community. So, the so-called political movement was no less short of a religious movement aimed at seceding Kashmir from India on the “basis of two-nation theory, the sheet-anchor of the bloody Partition of the Indian subcontinent. It is on account of this premises that former President of Pakistan,Ghulam Ishaq Khan called the Kashmir issue “unfinished agenda of Partition”. To call the ongoing Jehad as Independence Movement by Mr.Basharat Peer, the author of the Curfewed Night, is sheer travesty of truth and the distortion of historical facts

His remarks about the former Governor of Kashmir, Jagmohan are unwarranted and condemnable in the light of facts. ‘The night of January 20, 1990 was long and sad. Before dinner, my family gathered as usual around the radio for the evening news on BBC World Service. Two days earlier, Jagmohan, an Indian bureaucrat infamous for his hatred for Muslims, had been appointed the governor of Jammu and Kashmir. He gave orders to crush the incipient rebellion……”(page15). To this question the author will find a suitable answer in the “My Frozen Turbulance’ written by Jagmohan two decades ago. He says when he had assumed the charge as the Governor of J & K state, the strife-torn state was “slipping away from India” as a result of conspiracy hatched and worked out by Pakistan’s infamous ISI, named “Operation Topac”. As a patriot and well-wisher of the peace-loving Kashmiri’s he had no option but to bring the deteriorating situation under control. It goes to the credit of Mr. Jagmohan that he retrieved the valley for the Indian-nation and let the flag of secularism flying aloft on the ramparts of the Red Fort. Had he remained as the Governor of J&K state for some time more the history of the strife-torn state would have been decidedly different and there would have been no Kashmir issue. Unfortunately, some anti-national elements, emboldened by false media propaganda by Pakistan against Jagmohan, this visionary and ace-administrator was unceremoniously removed as Governor of the state. I, as reviewer of Mr. Basharat Peer’s book Curfewed Night, am not holding brief for the former Governor Jagmohan, but stating facts for the information of the author of the book who appears to rely upon what former militants and their sympathizers have stated in their interviews with the author of the book.

His reference to the Gowkadal firings and killings needs to be discussed in the light of volatile propaganda. On page 15,the author say’s “One protest march began from a southern Srinagar area where my parents now live, passed the city centre, Lal Chowk, and marched through the nearby Maisuma towards the shrine of a revered Sufi Saint of a few miles ahead. Protesters were crossing the dilapidated wooden Gawkadal Bridge in Maisuma when the Indian paramilitary, the Central Reserve Police Force, opened fire. More than fifty people were killed. It was the first massacre in the Kashmir valley. As the news sank in, we all wept…? It was no doubt, a great tragedy. There was reliable intelligence reports that some mischievous elements in the protest march were bent upon raking up communal riots by setting ablaze on way Hindu houses in nearby Kashmiri Pandit localities, including Ganpatyar, Habba Kadal etc. That might have been the reason for the Indian Security Forces to take such a strong action. On hearing about such happenings, the heart of every Kashmiri – Hindu or Muslim- is bound to bleed and ache, let alone that of the author of the book under review.

One thing, as pointed out by a critic, goes to the credit of the author of the book Curfewed Night, is an extraordinary memories that does a great deal to bring the Kashmir conflict out of the realm of political rhetoric between India and Pakistan and the lives of Kashmiri’s. Again, Mr. Basharat Peer refers to his unsuccessful visit to Kunnan Poshpara Village in Kupwara district of North Kashmir were the security forces were alleged to have raped a number of village Women. It was just a propaganda stunt by Pakistan. A probe into the alleged rape incidents by the state authorities brought the fact to limelight that these charges leveled against the Indian army were totally false and fabricated. I wonder how an impartial news-reporter was led away by this propaganda stunt. His emotional out burst on these fabricated crimes committed by the security forces can be gauged from his own description !  “He sits at a bus-stop watching for the bus to take him to Kunnan Poshpora, but when it arrives he just goes on sitting, listening to the sound of reviving engine, and watching the bus drive away. For all the stories of suffering he seeks out, there is one he cannot bring himself to look at too closely.”

The author has no word to say about the Chattisinghpora and the Wandhama carnages committed by the militants on non-Muslim villagers. In Chattisinghpora village, situated close to Bashart Peer’s native village in Anantnag distinct, over thirty- Sikhs were brutally killed, while twentyfive Kashmiri Pandits in Wandhama village in Ganderbal Tehsil were gunned down mercilessly and their houses set on fire. A thirteen year old Kashmiri Pandit boy was the lone survivor in this village where almost fifty Pandit families lived prior to this brutal massacre of innocent Kashmiri Pandit Villagers. Their burnt houses still remain a living eye-witness to the atrocities perpetrated on the Kashmiri Pandit Community.

There is just one stray reference to the forced mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the land of their birth. The author went to attend his village school one fine morning. He found no Kashmiri Pandit teacher present in the school as all of them had fled the valley. Of course, he felt very sad and puzzled. ‘The murders sent a wave of fear through the community and more than a hundred thousand Pandits left Kashmiri after March, 1990. The affluent moved to houses in Jammu, Delhi and various Indian cities. But a vast majority could find shelter only in the squalor of refugee camps and rented rooms in Jammu and Delhi’ (page 184).

The author refers to the secular and harmonious atmosphere prevailing In the valley prior to 1989. ‘The practice of Islam in Kashmir borrowed elements from the Hindu and the Buddhist past, the Hindus in turn were influenced by Muslim practices. In my childhood nobody raised an eyebrow if Hindu women went to a Muslim shrine to seek the blessings of a saint. The religious divide was visible only on the days India and Pakistan played cricket. Muslims supported the Pakistani Cricket and the Pandits were for India. My father’s best friend was and remains a Pandit; my mother had long friendships with Pandit women who taught in the same school”( chapter 15, page184).

The chapter titled “Papa-II”deals with the author’s interviews with some militants. The details givien by these militants about some of these interrogation centres are horrible and blood-curdling ancedots. The discription of these horrible stories invoke the sympathizes of the reader, no matter how callous-minded the reader may be. If true, one cannot but condemn these inhuman acts committed by the army investigators. But there stands a question mark: are these real acts of the India’s disciplined army? However, there may be exceptions here and there. Perhaps it is aimed to tarnish the image of our security forces.

One such centre was shut and later on occupied by a top-ranking Oxford Educated Kashmiri bureaucrat as stated by the author of Curfewed Night, Says the author, “Before moving in, the Oxford-Educated Officer called priests of all religions to pray there and exorcise the ghosts”(page 133, chapter 11).

The author has almost sidelined describing the gruesome killings of some eminent Kashmiri Pandit leaders, Lawyers, Doctors, Journalists, Business men, Teachers and Scholars. Can the Kashmiris particularly Kashmiri Pandits forget brutal killings of Pandit Sarwanand Premi and his son, whose eyes were gorged with an iron rod and the bodies cut to pieces or Sarla, a school teacher in a Kupwara school, sawed to death in a sawmill. Militants are equally responsible for turning the happy valley into hell. Without describing these killings, the author has not taken his narrative to a successful conclusion.

However, author’s search for his “lost teacher”-Pandit Chaman Lai Kantroo- evokes our admiration for this budding Kashmiri Muslim author. He desperately makes a search for his childhood Kashmiri Pandit friends. He visits Awtar’s hut in Jammu where he meets his father’s adopted Hindu sister Gouri  wife of Awtar, Jee. “Is he Ammul’s son?” says Gouri. “Ammul was my father’s childhood name which hardly any one outside the family knew. My eyes were wet,” narrates Basharat Peer (page 183). He met his childhood friend, Vinod, by chance in Srinagar where he worked as Area Manager of a Pharmaceutical Company. After a long search he met his Master Jee Chaman Lai Kantroo, in a rented room in Amphela in Jammu. “A step stair led to the rooftop. Behind a curtain of clothes hanging on a nylon rope was a garret. “Come in, Basharat,” Mr Kantroo called out. I looked at him ; he had aged. His checks had sunk deep, his hair was almost white; his eyes were deep down, but seemed to have lost their verve.”(page190). His teacher gave him a book of poems composed by him. The cover of the book read “Eternal Sin”. His partings were surcharged with emotions on either side-from his old student Basharat and his teacher Pandit C.L. Kantroo.

He describes valley’s corrupt bureaucracy. Even bureaucrats demand huge bribes for sanctioning monetary relief. “The files do not move by itself from one table to another. Out of the relief money of one lakh, the applicant has to spend 25 per cent to thirty thousand rupees. Otherwise he will waste years visiting offices. And once he pays that, we ensure that his name in the compensation job list goes up and things move fast.”(page 164). He gives a pen picture of the devastated Rughnath Mandir in the interior of Srinagar city and the abandoned Martand temple at Mattan sans (missing) Shiva idol. At the end of the Curfewed Night the author crosses the Line of Control at Uri which now “functions as a defecto border between two parts of Kashmir” He comments, “The Loc did not run through 576 kilometer of militarized mountains. It ran through the reels of Bollywood coming to life in dark theatres; it ran through the conversations in Coffee shops and TV screens showing cricket matches. It ran through whispers of lovers. And it ran through our grief, our anger, our tears and our silence”. (Page 220-221). It ends with the people awaiting eagerly for the bus coming from the other side of our valley. “I watched thousands of men, women and children stand and along the soldier-laden road, welcoming the ones who had stepped across the Iine.”(page221).

I wish Basharat Peer writing his new book, describing the return of 4 lakh displaced Kashmiri Pandits to their land of birth and their Muslim brethren according them warm hearted welcome in the true spirit of “Kashmeriat” of which the author of the Curfewed Night is a strong votary Amen !

In the end I agree that the “Curfewed Night is an emotional tale of man’s (author’s) love for his land, the pain of leaving home and ultimately the joy of return”. Its racy prose is both lyrical and moving, subject matter most poignant. It describes what a heaven once it was, and what a hell it now is – all man-made! Buck up Basharat Sahib-that is my message to you!

*(The author is prolific writer and editor Samachar Post)

June 24, 2010

The Kashmiri Pandits: Dispossessed and Discouraged


“Gairon ke sitam pe kya sikwa karein

Hume toh apno ne hi patthar maare hain”

These two lines in Hindi by Dines Naidu fits that bleak pitch in which the Kashmiri Pandits are today so repulsively forced to express themselves and their unrelenting plight after years and years of life living as a refugee at the doorstep of their own home.

And while India commemorate its ‘kaagzee taraqqee-ae-nation’ (Paper Progress of a Nation) and whatever it wants to, the Kashmiri Pandits, being dispossessed and discouraged in the hands of their own country, have got nothing else to do beside indulging themselves in the song of lamenting. And Ehsan Amir’s these two lines seems to be giving voice to their unheard sighs-

“Humse mat poochhiye hum kidhar jaayenge

Thak gaye hain bahut, apne ghar jaayenge”

Reading the huge online archives of sites dedicated to Kashmiri Pandits and going through the word-by-word description of the atrocities that was ‘showered’ upon them, my brain along with the raising impact of migraine tells me to stop reading any further but my heart, who himself is living the life of a forced rambler after being thrown out from his own house, pleads me to read on, so to grasp even a little bit of that inhumane treatments that Kashmiri Pandits had gone through, I read on.

It was the unfaithful year of 1989-90 which made nearly 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits ‘migrants’ (as Indian Government ‘fondly’ addresses them) inside their own nation, when Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front backed by the country on the other side of the border, indulged their selves in the ruthless genocide of tens of thousands of Kashmiri Hindus, they, the Hindus, then ran away, forced to leave their land, their home, their past, their present and into an uncertain future where today, they find themselves just like I find myself – unaccepted, unwelcomed and uncared – among the very people who happen to be our own.

It was the month of scorching summer in the year 2004, when just after performing the last rituals of my murdered father; I was driven out from my very own house. Tears of loss of my father had not even dried from my eyes when my very own blood-relatives stabbed into my chest.

A long quota of years has passed since then but the pain and the wound is still fresh – fresh enough to fill my eyes with tears and heart with pain of betrayal. And there is not a single day goes by when I, looking at myself in the mirror, don’t see the longing in those red eyes which have been barred to soak themselves from the beauty of their birthplace. It’s a longing for that home, which now belongs to the killers of my parents and which I know just like the ‘Pandits’, that what was snatched away from them will never be given back to them – Their home, their land.

This gruesome tale of Sarwanand Koul “Premi” – a Kashmiri Pandit, who was born in Kashmir’s Sofshalli, Anantnag village, depicts the misery that the thousands like him had to go through.

Premi was a poet and a teacher and when terrorism was at its extreme in the valley (though it is no less today, too) he refused to leave his village. He thought that he would withstand the Islamic hurricane as he had taught every Muslim man, women and dog in and around the periphery of his village and so they cannot as ungrateful as to kick him to dust along with his teachings and then bite him to death.

But his faith or whatever that he had in his heart for them, taught him the lesson which took away his life.

The ‘Patrons-of-Dearth’ entered in his house on the night of 28th April, 1990 and ordered all the members of his family to assemble into one room along with all the valuables. Whatever existed of any monetary value in the house of ‘Premi’ was offered to those ‘guardians of Jihad’ who, as they put it, were fighting for their freedom – freedom for an ‘Azaad Kashmir.’

After taking away whatever material Premi had in his house, the ‘terror-mongers’ then demanded that ‘Premi’ step out of the house for few words to be exchanged in private away from his family. And when the members of Premi’s family howled and whined the ‘Gods-of-Mercy’ gave them their words that, ‘Premi’ would return and return ‘safe and in one piece.’

But Premi’s only son requested to be allowed to accompany his old father. So the ‘kind’ and ‘good-hearted’ as those ‘unmasked-men’ were, agreed to the plight of a son, saying-

‘If you wish you may also accompany him…’

And once they stepped out of the house, they never returned. The cold-blooded torture that was carried out at the old teacher’s body and his young son’s can put to shame even the worst tyrant of the three worlds put together.

The spot in the forehead where ‘Premi’ would put his Tilak mark was brutally nailed. His body had the burnt dots of cigarette butts. The limbs of his body were broken and bones from his shattered ribcage poked out. His eye-balls lay crushed on the dust and he was hanged from a tree upside-down and bullets were fired on him. And the same orgy was bestowed upon his son.

The women inside the house ‘wailed and waited’ but feared to go out – feared that they too, might get raped just like the other day the wife of their neighbour was raped by these same ‘kind-hearted’ men.

Shame on us that we call ourselves human!

20th June marks the day of world refugees and their plight. And on this day the entire world comes together to give their bit to the refugees from all around the world, but at the same time the Kashmiri Pandits who are in there 20th year of being the refugees in their own nation – where you and I live – are still waiting to be remembered and addressed in that proper way which any countryman deserves to be addressed – as Citizens.

The many thousand Kashmiri Pandits since then have been living in the Indian Government’s “semi-permanent camps for the displaced” in Jammu and New Delhi.

But if you go visit these camps, then you will see that, not only they are disgustingly stuffed but also lack sufficient facilities and basic necessities.

Like there is no regular supply of drinking water, always there’s a shortage of medicines, plus the sanitation facility are in the worst conditions imaginable. And on top of all this, the education and employment opportunities are severely lacking.

And so not surprisingly, as the result of all this below level of living conditions, the Kashmiri Pandits, after 20 years of their disarticulation, have faced serious health issues like high incidence of several kinds of diseases, depressions, stress-related problems and high death rate.

People might wonder why isn’t the government doing something concrete for them than? But the silence which marks the being of Kashmiri Pandits as refugees is actually an awkward truth that our politicians, our media and our secular parties are unable to come to terms with, so they push this matter under that dark carpet which happens to be the outcome of culpable silence and deliberate ignorance.

I can only hope – hope that someday these silent Kashmiri Pandits will be heard by those who can make a concrete difference in their life and with this – I pray (though I hardly pray) that all those who have died in this massacre may Rest In Peace (Although I feel that it ain’t going to happen).

Author :SadhoGopal Ram    ; Source : Chowk.Com

(more…)

January 23, 2010

CHEATERS


Here i share with you three interesting photographs of the so called leaders of Kashmir who have cheated with the people.

These leaders have ,for their monetary benefit  been directly or indirectly been responsible for thousands of deaths in Kashmir and have been responsible for making 7,00,000 Kashmiri Pandits homeless and refugees in their own country.

This picture shows the passport of Syed Ali Shah Geelani , hardcore fundamentalist and leader of Hurriyat Conference. Geelani is also seen as a ‘hawk’ in the peace process.

While as Geelani provokes everybody in Kashmir to shun India and anything related to India , he does not mind getting himself treated in best of Indian hospitals of Mumbai & Delhi.

And yes , he had sworn by the country’s constitution and still carries an Indian Passport , while as he continues to play his dirty politics which results in more violence in Kashmir.He claims that he would convert Kashmir into an islamic state, while as he enjoys the benefit of his ‘Kafir’ Government.

Indian Passport of Syed Ali Shah Geelani

The below two pictures are of the person who introduced and smuggled guns in Kashmir. The person who has cases related to terrorist activities pending , but due to being an ‘agent’ of both the governments of India & Pakistan , he is allowed to be a free man.

This man is in love with money .According to SATP In 2002 police recoved INR 4.8 millions meant for Yasin Malik . As ordinary Kashmiris continue to struggle and arrange for their livelihood , as Tourism being the main industry of Kashmir continues to fail since the start of militancy, Yasin enjoys being showered by currency , no matter which country it may belong to.

As a Kashmiri Pandit refugee said,“If the Kashmiri Muslims want to put cheaters in the Hall of Fame, that’s their stupid and suicidal prerogative,”

January 22, 2010

WANDHAMA MASSACRE -12 Years Later



The Massacre at Wandhama,Kashmir

On January 25, 1998, 23 Kashmiri Pandits living in the village of Wandhama were killed by unidentified gunmen. According to the testimony of one of the survivors of the incident, a 14 year-old Hindu boy named Vinod Kuman Dhar. the gunmen came to their house dressed like Indian Army soldiers, had tea with them, waiting for a radio message indicating that all Pandit families in the village had been covered. After a brief conversation they rounded up all the members of the Hindu households and then summarily gunned them down with Kalashnikov rifles.

The indiscriminate firing on the Pandits spared 16 year-old Manoj Kumar Dhar, and, he was the lone eyewitness to the massacre. In a statement to police on that night, Kumar said a group of masked gunmen came to his house at about 11:30 pm and forced all those inside to come out. “I jumped out of the wall of my house. As soon as my father, brothers and sisters came out, I saw the gunmen shooting them. They were crying and begging for life,” he had told the police.

The massacre was allegedly committed by Abdul Hamid Gada of Hizbul Mujahideen and was timed to coincide with the Shab-e-Qadar, the holiest night of the month of Ramzan, when believers stay awake until dawn. Gada was subsequently shot dead by Indian security forces in 2000.

Kashmir’s Divisional Commissioner S L Bhat, who knew some of the Pandits personally, was quick to arrive at the scene of the carnage. He said, “This is the worst incident I have witnessed”.

Meanwhile, the police that day claimed to had recovered a letter in which an unknown militant organisation, Intikaam-ul-Muslimoon, had claimed responsibility for killing of Pandits. The letter that was tagged to one of the bullet-ridden bodies disclosed that this was the beginning of a seriesof such attacks

After the massacre, the local Hindu temple was destroyed, as were the houses of the Pandits.

Police , as usual, falied to arrest or get anyone convicted . The case was subsequently closed by police.Sub Divisional police officer Ganderbal Showkat Ahmad, who was then Station Hose Officer for the area told Kashmir Times, “The case has been closed, as no one was identified as the killer of these Pandits.”

Also Check : Massacre at Wandhama KOSHUR SAMACHAR

Also Check : A Slide Presentation on IKashmir

Also Check : Roots In Kashmir Blog

Also Check : Soul In Exile blog

Also Check : The Forgotten Tragedy

Also Check : AdityaRaj Koul’s Blog

December 2, 2009

Kashmir’s struggle for so-called azaadi has been subsumed by the worldwide jihad – - Tavleen Singh


Times have Changed, Issues are Different

There was a time when it seemed as if a solution in Kashmir could bring peace with Pakistan. That time has gone. The Taliban now have a grander plan for the subcontinent

T he average Indian is so bored with Kashmir these days that I always hesitate to raise the subject in a column. If I do this week it is because a meeting took place in Delhi that has to go down as one of the most extraordinary in recent times. It was organized by social activist Madhu Kishwar under the auspices of the Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies, on November 7, and I went along because she invited a glittering array of politicians from Kashmir. I have not been to Srinagar in more than five years and thought the meeting could be a good way to revive my interest in a subject I once wrote a book on.

Among those who came to the meeting in the library of the Nehru Memorial were Mehbooba Mufti, Muzzafar Baig who was Deputy Chief Minister in the last government, Mohammad Sufi Uri from the National Conference, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt from the Hurriyat and Yasin Malik from the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). The meeting was chaired by Ram Jethmalani and attended by journalists, academics, Kashmir activists and sundry others. It was a full house.

Madhu, an eager beaver peacenik as ever was, began the day’s discussions by emphasizing loudly and often that we were gathered together to find solutions. Despite this, things got off to an interminably dull start because Mr Uri from the National Conference made a long, boring speech that was full of historical grievances that everyone present was more than familiar with. Muzaffar Baig took over from him and was more interesting because he offered a solution. He said that Kashmir’s borders needed to be made irrelevant as Dr Manmohan Singh has himself often promised. Instead of redrawing maps there should be a softening of the borders so that Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Indians could come and go freely and there should be ‘‘dual currency’’. In view of what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this suggestion seemed so naively oblivious of geo-political realities that I went up to him when he finished speaking and asked if he had heard of the Taliban. Was he aware that this group of Islamist jihadis was close to threatening the existence of Pakistan and Afghanistan? How long would it take the Taliban to conquer Kashmir if Indian troops were withdrawn? He laughed sheepishly.

In any case the meeting carried on peacefully and in a dull sort of way until the late afternoon when it came to Yasin Malik’s turn to speak. I had not seen him in many years and was impressed to see him look dapper and elegant in a black, velvet jacket and a black and white polka-dotted shirt instead of the drab, Kashmiri clothes he usually wears. He looked more like an urbane Srinagar businessman than the terrorist he once was, but he was not allowed to forget his past. No sooner did he rise to speak than the meeting deteriorated into chaos.  The hall was filled with insults hurled at him by a group of young Kashmir Pandits who till then had sat silent and unnoticed.

‘‘We will not allow this monster to speak,’’ they yelled, ‘‘ask him who raped and killed Sarla Bhatt? Ask him how many Hindus he has killed? He is a terrorist. He has no right to be here.’’  They said other things as well, angry, ugly things, and they made so much noise as they stood up and shouted their abuse that the meeting was totally disrupted for several minutes. Yasin Malik was infuriated and ready to leave. It was only after many entreaties from Madhu and Mr Jethmalani that he agreed to speak. But then Mr Jethmalani put his foot into it by saying that he himself loved Pakistan more than Pakistanis loved Pakistan and that all Indians should develop a similar love for Pakistan. Then he added there would have been no militancy in Kashmir at all if the 1987 elections had not been rigged to coincide unfortunately with a large number of mujahideen in Afghanistan suddenly becoming ‘‘unemployed’’ because the Soviet Union withdrew its troops.

Yasin Malik decided to pick this up as the starting point of his speech. He said, ‘‘I was shocked to hear Jethmalani Sahib say what he did. I was the one who started the armed struggle in Kashmir and I was neither Afghan nor unemployed. I picked up the gun because it seemed there was nothing else to do. We had tried peaceful means to achieve azaadi and failed.’’

He then gave details of how the JKLF was among the groups that had set up the Muslim United Front to contest the Assembly elections in 1987. ‘‘We contested the elections because we thought that if we won we would declare Kashmir independent through a resolution in the Assembly but they were not prepared to give us our basic democratic rights. So we had no recourse but to pick up the gun.’’ He added that he had given up violence because he was persuaded by the ‘‘Indian civil society’’ that solutions could come peacefully. He felt betrayed, he said, because he now knew that all the Indian civil society could do was talk.

The Kashmiri Pundits were not going to take that lying down even if the panelists were, and they started yelling that the armed struggle had never ended. What about the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen? Who were they? And who were the other militant groups that continued to kill innocent people in Kashmir?

In the end there was more rancour and rage than debate, and the solution to our Kashmir problem remained as elusive as ever. Sitting next to me at one point was General Lakhvinder Singh, a hero of the Kargil war, and I asked him if he thought that there was any chance of reducing the deployment of Indian troops in Kashmir. He said, ‘‘We’ve tried it. And wherever we have reduced deployment we have seen an immediate increase in militant activities. It is not as easy as these politicians make it sound.’’

It is not easy at all because it is clear to many of us who have followed the Kashmir story carefully for many, many years that the problem has changed. There was a time when it seemed as if a solution in Kashmir could bring peace with Pakistan. That time has gone. Kashmir’s struggle for so-called azaadi has been subsumed by the worldwide jihad. The Taliban have a grander plan for the Indian subcontinent. They want to conquer Islamabad, and when that is done they want the flag of Islam to fly over India.

Author : Ms Tavleen Singh

Source : SentinelAssam

November 22, 2009

An Open Letter To Yasin Malik – Madhu Kishwar


Dear Yasin,

Dialogue on the Future of Jammu & Kashmir organized by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies gained enormously by your presence on November 7, 2009. We recognize that the overlap in timing meant you had to rush to Delhi after registering your attendance at a TADA court hearing in Jammu. I also appreciate the fact that despite provocative slogans against you by a group of Kashmiri Pandits opposed to your presence in the Dialogue, you sat through the meeting to the end and not only explained your politics but also made a public commitment to consider some of the solutions proposed at the meeting as a starting point for a wide spectrum dialogue for the resolution of the Kashmir problem.

However, your outbursts of anger, disappointment and your cynical comments directed at the civil society organizations of India seem to me so misplaced and misleading that they demand a public response; a lot of them were directed at Manushi and at me. Since they have been widely reported in the Kashmiri and Pakistani newspapers, hence my response is also through the media.

For those who do not know the background, let me summarize your grievances as stated in your presentation at the Dialogue. You said that you had given up the gun at the urging of civil society organizations in India, that you took to “Gandhian methods of struggle” due to our persuasion. However, despite your move to non-violent means of struggle, you feel “betrayed” by the human rights community in India for ostensibly failing to help you achieve your political ends. You also claimed that subsequent events and your failure in achieving “azadi” have convinced you that Gandhian methods do not work in today’s India. In your view, they worked only while the British ruled India because the British provided a supportive environment for non- violent struggles.

What proof do you offer for that conclusion? That Gandhi was not subjected to third degree torture by the British, nor was Gandhi killed in an encounter with the police! No responsible leader would provide this form of naive praise of the British. You cannot dismiss the brutalities of the British colonial regime so easily. You don’t have to go too far—just read the life story of Badshah Khan—Gandhi’s most valued colleague and the most inspiring satyagrahi of that period. The brutalities inflicted on the army of satyagrahis mobilized by Badshah Khan—popularly known as the Frontier Gandhi— would put to shame even the apartheid regime of South Africa. Lakhs and lakhs of non violent satyagrahis were tortured in British jails. Many innocents were murdered in cold blood. The manner in which unarmed women and children were massacred in Jallianwala Bagh by General Dyer was not an isolated example of British brutality. Hundreds of thousands of satyagrahis took deadly beatings without raising their hand even in self-defence during the Salt Satyagraha. The cruel treatment routinely meted out to the Indian peasantry in extracting unprecedented high revenue and confiscating their lands arbitrarily for failure to pay ruinous usurious revenue, not sparing them even during crop failures, led to millions dying in unprecedented man made famines and left many more millions destitute, malnourished and terrorized.

You claim to have taken to Gandhian methods and claim that the movement for “azadi” in Kashmir is non violent —all on the grounds that some years ago you gave up the gun. Dear friend Yasin, you gave up the gun after you were arrested and jailed, not while you were on the outside, fighting. You never gave up supporting and defending those who continued using the gun. In the November 7 meeting, you declared openly that you are proud of having been the first one to take up the gun for the cause of Kashmir. When a young Kashmiri Pandit commented: “You may have given up the gun but that does not mean Kashmiri Muslims gave up the gun. The Hizbul Mujahiddin is also comprised of Kashmiri youth.” Your response was: Since the Indian government did not hand over “azadi” to the “non-violent” JKLF, and since human rights organizations in India failed to persuade the Indian government to do so, Hizbul Mujahaddin are justified in taking up the gun. Yasin bhai, a true commitment to non-violence should not be so conditional and fragile. Gandhi did not say: “Give India independence or else I will unleash terrorist brigades on you.” That was Jinnah’s method, not Gandhi’s.

As one of many people committed to strengthening democracy and human rights in India, one of my mandates is to ensure that even those who take to terrorist means, are given fair treatment, due process, and a fair trial, and that innocents are not targeted by security forces while combating terrorism. Our primary task, however, is to try to prevail upon the Indian government that draconian laws should not be used to crush democratic dissent. I don’t think I have failed in being consistent about those issues. I have often done my best to intervene with the government of India to defend the Constitutional rights of you and your colleagues, even when I have strong differences with your political goals and means you make use of to achieve them.

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July 18, 2009

Why Kashmir has no case for self-determination – Vivek Gumaste


Self-determination is a lyrical, mesmerising phrase that sparks the fire in a revolutionary and excites the cerebral neurons of a libertarian, galvanising both into frenzied activity. But self-determination shorn of its prerequisites and mindless of its implications can prove to be a toxic, self-mutilating instrument with deleterious consequences for its protagonists and antagonists. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Kashmir where it holds an uncertain future for its proponents in the Valley and can be the axiom that seriously erodes the basic fabric of India’s Constitution.

Self-determination in quest of a new nation-State cannot be a whim but must be a proposition grounded in solid reason. There must be justifiable cause to advocate separation. Do Kashmiri Muslim aspirations qualify for legitimate independence or is this brouhaha nothing more than a devious design by a majority to establish its hegemony?

The recent events in Kashmir are a microcosm of the movement itself: much ado about nothing. Acutely conscious of its waning influence and sensing a general apathy towards separatist fervour, as evidenced by the successful conduct of the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Hurriyat is in a tizzy, resorting to obfuscatory tactics to remain relevant. How else can you explain its tendency to impart an anti-Indian hue to each and every untoward incident that occurs in the Valley?

COURTSEY-ap

Courtesy - AP

The immediate trigger for the latest spate of protests in Srinagar  appears to be the alleged murder of Asrar Mushtaq Dar, a 20-year-old student who went missing on July 3 and whose mutilated body was found in a city graveyard on July 8. Details of the murder are still sketchy and the identity of the culprits is yet to be ascertained. But that really doesn’t matter.

“Asrar was later found to be murdered by his friends . The cause was a love traingle ..Ref : Indian Express

For in the charged and biased atmosphere of the Valley, any unnatural death becomes a cause celebre to whip up anti-India sentiments and implicate the security forces, ethics being an expendable appendage in the process.

Prior to this was the Shopian incident in which two young women, Neelofar Jan and her sister-in-law Asiya Jan, were found raped and murdered on May 30. While a judicial inquiry called for an ‘in-depth investigation’ and stated that ‘there is material on file to hold that the involvement of some agency of the J&K police cannot be completely ruled out’, it went on to give details of a possible family angle to the twin murders as the following news excerpt with verbatim quotes from the commission’s report indicates (Shopian panel even suspects victim. Majid Jahangir. Kashmir Live, July 11):

The police isn’t the only target. The report calls for a probe into the “rift” between the family of Neelofar and her in-laws. The fact that Neelofar, a woman from the upper-caste Peer family, eloped with Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar — who belongs to a family of blacksmiths — is also cited as a subject for further probe.

The report calls for a detailed investigation into the possible role of Neelofar’s estranged brother, Zeerak Shah, a police constable. “It is required that sustained questioning/interrogation of Zeerak Shah, his associates and relatives, be carried out so as to work out the possibility of their involvement in rape and murder of Neelofar and Asiya Jan”.

The commission also puts a question mark on the conduct of Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar, Neelofar’s husband and Asiya’s brother. Claiming that he is ‘known for his immoral activities’, the report says: ‘His assets are quite disproportionate to his known source of income, thus requiring in-depth investigation to work out the possibility of Shakeel and his friends/associates in the present incident’.

Then the report goes on to even suspect the victims themselves. ‘Spot inspection of the orchard reveals that the orchard is fenced with CGI sheets from three sides and there is no proper gate for entry into the orchard. There are about 35 small and big fruit trees, without any pruning/cutting and ground is full of weeds. The purpose of their regular and frequent visit to the orchard could not be established so far… It is quite possible that during these frequent visits to the orchard in last six/seven months, they (but more particularly Neelofar Jan) might have developed some relation with other persons.’

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