Friday, March 15, 2013

The Kashmir Conundrum


Was reading an extremely interesting article today that said - 'Trauma in Kashmir is like a heritage building. They want the wound of Kashmir to endure because the wound is what indicts India for the atrocities of its military.. If the wound vanishes, does India simply get away with all those rapes, murders and disappearances?'

The words hit a chord in my heart. How indeed would India get punished for the sins of its forces? Judging by the news splashed all over the papers today, it won't be long before the condition again turns volatile! Whenever there is a case of misuse of power in the valley, the protesters no longer rally against the Army or the notorious AFSPA. The protests are against the INDIAN STATE now.

They burn the Indian flag, abuse the motherland, call Indians dogs.. yet, can we Indians keep putting the blame on Pakistan forever and wash our hands clean of all responsibility??


  
 
I had a harsh argument with a Kashmiri friend living in Delhi. He had posted an anti-India status on FB and I could barely restrain myself from retorting that if he had so much problem with India why the hell was he living here??

As Indians we can't see our motherland being rubbished because of what some trigger-happy morons are doing in the valley! But, for an average Kashmiri, the forces and politicians are the only face of India and we all know how clean their record is..

My friend stated that Indians don't stand with the Kashmiris and support them but my point is, how many Indians ACTUALLY know what's going on in Kashmir??? Blame it on our busy lives; blame it on our short attention spans or blame it on the media that seldom (if ever) presents the citizens' point of view from Kashmir, the truth is that an average Indian has NO CLUE what the real state of affairs in Kashmir is. 

It is next to impossible today to make a common man on the streets in India aware of what really is the ground reality on the streets of Kashmir.
 




Almost a lakh people have disappeared in Kashmir over the past two decades which saw first the genocide and eviction of Kashmiri Pandits, then Pakistan sponsored bloody terrorism followed by Indian army-managed fake encounters! 

Human Rights Watch has documented many cases of misuse of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, such as the killing of human rights lawyer Jalil Andrabi in 1996 and the student Javed Ahmed Magray in 2003. In both cases, when police inquiries identified the perpetrators as members of the armed forces, they were shielded by the impunity offered by the AFSPA.


When my friend told me that Indians never support them in their rightful protests I accepted that but there are two sides to this question. When have Kashmiris supported people in the rest of India? 

The entire country was rocked by a series of protests against the rampant corruption and innumerable graft scams; yet, Kashmir chose NOT to participate. There were people on the streets in Delhi demanding better treatment of women in the society which is as much an issue in Kashmir as elsewhere, yet they did NOT participate. It has to be a two-way street!

If Kashmiris come forward and raise their voice against these issues with the rest of India, people would definitely help them in their fight against injustice!

NO DOUBT, there is an element of cross-border state-sponsored terror machinery waiting to up the ante in Kashmir; true there are elements that nudge the Kashmiri youth at the slightest provocation to erupt against the Indian state; true the Kashmiris have never felt a part of India.. BUT, what is EQUALLY true is that the Indian Govt. and Military have failed to build the credibility with Kashmiris and more often than not, there is a grievous, unheard, unresolved complaint when the protests turn violent in the valley. We ourselves are creating the circumstances that outsiders especially Pakistan can take advantage of!

When Kashmiri Pundits were thrown out, it was the RESPONSIBILITY of the Govt. to make sure they were safe in their own homeland. Instead, lakhs of people had to flee in the middle of the night, hounded by Pakistan backed extremists, turning up in different parts of the country as homeless refugees. Today, the same Govt. is stifling the basic rights of Kashmiri Muslims and justifies any strong action by playing the 'Pundit' card.

But two wrongs DO NOT make a right! 

We still remember the protests in 2009-10 when this madness started and their shoddy handling by both the Central and the State Govts. {Read Human Rights Violations in Kashmir} for more on what happened in Kashmir then}. All that was needed to set things right was to punish the guilty and things would have returned to normalcy. instead, what followed was a systematic subjugation of valid protests much like we saw in Delhi recently where protesters were roughed up and the guilty were not even identified!

Unlike Delhi though, the protests in Kashmir turned violent and anti-India rhetoric was heard and this gave another pretext to the Govt. to use firearms for the safety of its own forces which ended up in the deaths of 15 more protesters! Within a span of few months, all the goodwill gestures by earlier Govts., millions of rupees spent in subsidies, and the GENUINE efforts of security forces in protecting our Nation were rendered useless.

We have to accept the fact that the people in our forces are NOT angels who have dropped from heaven above! They are as much human as us, and can also give in to anger, lust, greed, avarice like any one of us.

In any other profession this is what would normally happen - a cricketer who is not performing is thrown out of the team, a doctor whose negligence leads to patient's death is barred from practice, an accountant who screws up his company's financials is given the boot. WHY not the same treatment with the forces?





Such a blunder, that could have been easily avoided simply by apprehending the guilty and punishing them in front of the people of the country so that everyone knew what was happening in Kashmir. 

One simple step would have brought the situation from the brink of destruction back into the fold of normalcy and united the people of Kashmir with the people in rest of India who undergo the same high-handedness by forces every single time they come out to protest!

Even today, there seem to be no efforts towards this and it may perhaps already be too late! But whether it brings the Kashmiris back into the mainstream or not, a heart-felt sincere APOLOGY and PUNISHMENT to all those who have abused the draconian AFSPA in Kashmir (AND other disturbed states), would go a long, long, long way in bringing peace to the hearts and minds of every citizen.

The sensible conclusion to the Kashmir conundrum would be holding a plebiscite involving all the people of Kashmir right from Ladakh, Kargil, Kashmir, Jammu, Poonch and other far flung areas and ALSO taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri Pandits who were forcibly thrown out of their land earlier. Only that can bring closure to ALL the people involved in this issue.

We agree the problem is complex and there is no simple solution, but sincerely hope and pray there is someone in the center who can actually take this difficult step for the sake of the future of both the citizens of Kashmir, as well as those living in the rest of India. Otherwise, both sides will continue on this long, winding, bleeding pathway to destruction..




Hoping Peace will get a chance in Kashmir

44 comments:

Sajad Magray said...

As usual the curbed and more appropriately biased media has played a miserable role in Kashmir. Thank God, a media representing true opinion of people called Internet has portrayed us right to a fair extent. Though , the GOI shuts immediately the internet services whenever they want to suppress the truth. The local news channels of Kashmir are banned from telecasting News programs since 2008. In such a scenario how can one expect to know what exactly is happening here. But if one is keen to know the truth he will always find a clear writing on the wall. One fails to understand how come whole India united to deliver justice for the Delhi Rape victim. How does India knew and managed to fight for Delhi rape case and ignore the twin rape and murder case of Shopian (2008). So an excuse like ’not all the Indians know what actually is happening in Kashmir’ is illogical. The reason is obvious, biased Govt. advocates biased Media and unnecessary restrictions on local news channels.
Itz not always a third-party venture when we are out on streets to protest the innocent killings by deadly forces. Even if the cause of provocation is a third party, how much restrain is exercised by our own security forces!. The so called security forces keep no stone unturned to torture us. This also shows a Double Standard by the GOI wherein they use water cannons in rest of India and bullets for Kashmiris.
And finally a time has come when Kashmiris have no hope from Indian Judiciary and other law enforcing agencies. India has miserably failed to deliver justice. An enquiry committee constituted to deliver justice for innocent killings takes years for Kashmiris and finally no result, whereas the same committee elsewhere in India yields results in days and culprits are brought to justice.

A Man on A Mission said...

This is so because whenevr something happens in Kashmir, we immediately start putting the blame on Pakistan because of the past history.. no one really wants to believe that our forces and the army would be capable of committing such crimes!! But, we cant always live with our heads buried in sand.. these issues need to be resolved to find a real solution for the sake of the future of all of us...

Prayarna Bamzai said...

Vinnie - no one knows what happens or happened in Kashmir than the people who lived there. Truth of the matter is from day 1 Kashmiri Muslims wanted to be with Pakistan that's the end of the story and that the Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their Motherland. No one talks about our plight not even the government. We were all well educated so we moved on and re settled ourselves . Indian government has always treated the Kashmiri Muslims well ( in fact very well ) . My opinion Kashmir is going no where it's ours to keep.

Vineet Aggarwal said...

I understand ur sentiment Prayarna Bamzai... but with whatever interaction I have had with my friends from the current generation in Kashmir, most of them haven't seen it happen with their own eyes so they find it even difficult to imagine! I believe the Govt. didn't protect the Pundits then, and now it has turned its back on the Muslims too.. all the displaced Pundits are entitled to their land and property and compensation for the Govt.s inability to protect them when required! and as I mentioned at the end of the post, its the wishes of every Kashmiri that count ultimately otherwise the issue wont be resolved ever..

Shahid Malik said...

We have nothing to do with pakistan all we want is a pecefull life.. independently...

Sheikh Shoaib said...

@Vineet Very very well written... I never knew u understood the K problem so well..

Vineet Aggarwal said...

Sheikh Shoaib m glad you think so! I don't really write about something if I don't understand it completely and I have been following this issue since the time we got in touch... If we don't understand each other how will we ever solve the problem..

Sheikh Shoaib said...

One of the most unfortunate things to have happened to us was the exodus of Pandits...I don't exactly know the circumstances under which the Pandits left.. I was too young at that time, but today I honestly see no ill feelings among Kashmiri Muslims towards Pandits... I believe when hooligans rule the roost, the minorities r the first ones to suffer.. Today I cant hold a common Gujarati responsible for what the hooligans did there some time back.. Similarly, I cant be held responsible for what the hooligans did with Pandits here... Whoever harassed somebody just because he/she was a Pandit can be anything but a human... & as Vineet Aggarwal says, the blame goes straight to the govt of that time... They r the ones who should be held answerable...

Vineet Aggarwal said...

Sheikh Shoaib i think the blame is also on the people from the previous generation who drove the pandits out.. people fled in fear and I have heard horror stories of the way pressure was put on them.. both the people who put them in fear as well as the ones who watched silently are to blame along with the govt.

Sheikh Shoaib said...

Agreed

Sajad Magray said...

no 1 can escape his doings and 1 has to take d blame for things he did. As rightly said by Sheikh Shoaib we were too young at the time of Pandit migration. We have no first hand account of the unfortunate exodus.The merciless govt has always built the castles on the skeletons of innocent subjetcs. So all we want is a peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue!!!!

Sheikh Shoaib said...

It might be interesting for u to know a bit more about these hooligans... These were the people who threatened the Pandits... They had the support of some people too... But, largely the majority never wanted such a thing to happen, though they kept silent... Once the Pandits were out, these very hooligans were let loose under full support of the Army & Government on the Kashmiris (Muslims) in 1994 or something... They would roam freely with the armymen on the streets & would do anything they liked... Killings, extortion, rapes went rampant... Those days were horrible... Everybody suffered.. My family too... Today these hooligans have got adjusted in politics, police, govt offices... this all happened with full patronage of Govt- State as well as Centre... Now tell me, can U think of a more hopeless situation??

Vineet Aggarwal said...

Well Shoaib Nowhere in India has this ever happened that a minority community had to COMPLETELY disappear from the land their generations had grown up in.. It wasn't a riot, it was a pre-planned strategy to make Kashmir's case for joining pakistan stronger so I doubt Indian Govt. would do it.. people were out in the streets with mashals at night raising slogans and threatening Hindus to leave else they would be killed and their women raped..whoever sponsored these men, their actions resulted in a changing the demographics of kashmir forever..

Vipin said...

A very strong eye opener article from Vinnie Bhai. Well Said brother it is so difficult to undersatnd their pain without knowing the actual sceniro. I pray to God to provide peace and relief to our Kashmiri brother and sisters.

Sheikh Shoaib said...

U got me wrong there.. I never said that the govt was responsible for their exodus by arming/helping the hooligans.. That time the guns were made in Pakistan... What I mean to say is that they were later owned by the govt.

Vineet Aggarwal said...

Hmmm that could very well be the case SHoaib...

Sheikh Shoaib said...

One more theory prevalent here is that the then Governor, Jagmohan advised the Pandits to leave en masse so that he could tackle the situation while they were safe.... The argument put forth is that the Sikhs never left & remained untouched (except the Chattisinghpura massacre where the Army hand was proved).... Though I personally don't quite buy it, but I'm not too sure to totally reject it either, considering the argument put forth in support of it.....

Vineet Aggarwal said...

Its just insane bro how first Pakistan and now India is holding on to Kashmir.. the easiest thing is to have a plebiscite! That would save so much money that both countries are spending on maintaining the borders; the tax payers' money being spent on all this; the ill-will being generated for both countries in Kashmir and the very real threat of another war all can be done away with if we just let the people decide for themselves!

Sheikh Shoaib said...

Finally, I believe the exodus was a blessing in disguise for the Pandits... At least they saved their lives... & I feel it's high time for us to leave too... I'm seriously thinking about it... As of now I don't see myself here 5 years from now...& I wish it happens sooner.... Expecting miracles from the 2 countries is living in a fool's paradise..

Anonymous said...

FATE, do you even know the fact that CRPF is not allowed to use weapon in any condition even if fired upon and having causalities. AFSPA can be used only by Rashtriya Rifles but not CRPF. CRPF runs medical camps, and adopted many village in term of education and other needs. Still Kashmiris throw stones on CRPF vehicles every thrusday and friday. And in recent events, killed umarmed jawans.

Anonymous said...

really well written article bro.... hope every indian reads this ...... people like me never know the reality behind kashmir issue..... people even blame kashmiris for their plights ... journalists like arnab goswami question their motives without knowing the real reason behind their anger...... the truth is that indian media is very biased ..... they just dont want to utter a word against indian army.....

Anonymous said...

What makes you think plebiscite will solve the problem? Plebiscite was a solution "proposed" by UN to get themselves out of Kashmir issue. Also, what if plebiscite swings in favor of one country? There will still be people who will call for azaadi and call the plebiscite as rigged and refuse to accept the result. What then? We are back from where we started...

The thing is even Kashmiris dont understand the problem. There is a group of people who gains a lot from this situation and they will make no stone unturned to ensure peace never returns to valley. How can you forget that Pakistan had a leader called Zia ul haq who had pledged "to bleed India a thousand cut" and to revenge creation of Bangladesh by ensuring some region is separated from India. That i why in every disturbed area of India you will find support coming from Pakistan, be it naxalite problem,north east or Kashmir. There is a machinery working to ensure that people are disturbed.

I read lots of stories about what forces are doing Kashmir, but the question what made Army deployment in first place. Kashmir was peaceful till late 80s and it was after the rise of Pak sponsered terrorism in various parts of India that things got this dirty. It was Kashmiri youth who crossed over to become terrorist and destroyed there own motherland. And today they cry of biased Media and occupation by army and what not. Lets accept the reality that militants do cross into India from Kashmir. The training camps across the border are real. It is not possible for them to survive without local knowledge and support. So what option does India have? We have seen militancy disappear from Punjab when locals stopped supporting them, why it cant happen in Kashmir? By crying foul about media and Army, they are only trying to provide cover to militants.

Most of the Kashmiris I know do not even understand what is Azaadi. They cant answer how will economy run if Kashmir is turned into an independent state. If Kashmir becomes an independent country today, it cant even arrange for basic things. Ask Kashmiri's on Indian side, to image one day without the roads, bridges, hospitals built by Indian government. They answer in silence because on the Pak side of the Kashmir, they have to fight for even the basic stuff.

To end it, do you really think that India which has freedom as one of its founding values would do occupation of some place? Do you think our NHRC and all would have tolerated these stories if there was any truth in it? Kashmirs have cried at every avenue in the world and independent observers have repeatedly found that most stories have been made up. Now when no international body is willing to listen, they are trying to turn Indians against the government to fullfil the dreams... Be careful what you hear, read and see because sometimes the truth is not what is visible on the surface...

Vineet Aggarwal said...

I agree the truth is not always as it seems and that is so very apt for Kashmir! It might shock you or share your core belief about our country but you have to spend just one month in Kashmir or Manipur to realize the truth of the claims made by people in these states.. turning a blind eye to the VERY REAL problem will not help anyone. True, the problem started with the Kashmiri youth giving in to Pakistani propaganda but that was a different generation.. the youth today do not want Pakistan and instead are rooting for an independent state.. and yes I truly believe plebescite IS the ANSWER becuase as soon as YOU or ME start deciding what's good for someone else, the freedom that you talk about vanishes in thin air..

kondapally said...

this is really gud piece of work ... but the thing is you have shown only one side of the coin.i concur that Indian military is bevaing in drastic manner in some parts of country like J&k and some parts of east india...but i wonder what led to these situations in real sense...was it becuase of our incompetence (i.e indian govts) to stop the foreign influene on local people(in j&K) in mid 80's or not recognizing the real issue here..what ever it may be , whole india is suffering in what so ever may be way....but the truth is indian govt cannot easily give freedom to kashmiris as it may provoke punjabis,tamils or god knows every one to start there own agitation fr separation ...so this issue is like walking on blade ..and indian govt is handling it like fish climbing a tree...

harish chauhan said...

this is true it is also given in wikipedia article of kashmir nd it can never b resolved until we have such a loser party congres they never going to resolve this problem where ever there is cong. Govn. Riotes took place look in gujrat , assam they always minority votebank card nd thats y parties like bjp ,rss ,bsp, sp formed because cong. Divided this country into hindus nd muslims ne even hindus into caste. .
They say we want to eradicate caste frm thir country but the promotion bill was extended from 15 years nd it's stil going on nd thats how bsp nd sp parties got formed. . .nd look whats happening in srilanka nd tamils are geting kiled there nd in pakirtan nd in bangladesh but cong. Doesnt give rats ass about it. . .nd its not over cong. Doernt have to courage to reply to the country who took our soldier head upeople should have read letter given to indian govn. By terrorist before mvmbai bombing its m wekiepedia they dont have any fear of india nd why should they as india doesnt do anything back any budy comes and shit on our country . . . Live example itlay says no to send person who kiled indian fisherman nd cong. Is not going to do anything. . .

ramya raman said...

Vineet it is a very nice piece of article. I wanted to write after visiting Kashmire, more about the beautiful people of kashmir and its beauty.I always loved kashmir and my dream to visit it for few days came up and apart from the fear of terrorism it is beautiful place. And it was so painful n disheartening to see many graduates doing such a small task for money. I was real saddened to hear. Here in India an educated person is kept above the uneducated and dont do such small tasks.

ramya raman said...

It is a nice article, i have been there myself for few days (which was my dream to see) i could see very few people on streets and even if there were than only men, women were less. And we have to see both sides of the coin, In education and many things there is a reservation quota for J & K,in every field opportunities are given as far as the govt.

ramya raman said...

But the flip side is our own govt as an whole aint able to provide proper justice to India( i.e I consider J& K as India as i have never considered them separate). Be it any state politics never lets you move forward and even Kashmirians have to understand that they going against India as a state aint proper. You go against the Govt ( State & cental) we will support them. And Military is posted there for the protection of people over there . Do you think that army people would leave thier family, city to go there with no hopes if they will come out alive or dead. And as i have been there i see the army guys with huge guns moving around the city to protect people of the city. And we never blame them the muslims who forced Pandits to leave their land. We still invite the British who took our wealth and ruled our country. So no one blames the Kashmir. Even in India there are muslims , i have many friends no one here treats him different he is a Muslim. Just cuz few of them turned terrorist we cant blame every muslim rite. Do you think any one would blame Aamir khan, shrauk Khan or as a matter of fact or ex president Abdul Kalam.

ramya raman said...

And yea i agree that many people are killed by army, but why? People from Pak infiltrate India through Kashmir. How can they without the help of some people who may have helped just for money, or the real fact may be some people dont want the fact that Kashmir should leave peacefully like disturbance is created for their advantage.
I am not supporting India, i love Kashmir and i can help in any possible ways. And i am always against the killings in Kashmir both the sides, common man and the army. For a mistake done long ago by our older generation our generation is suffering.
Do you see a pattern attacks are made mostly where there is more Muslim population. (hyd, kashmir, Manipur)why so that India is in a state of unrest . And Kashmir is targetd more cuz of the pak is closer by to Kashmir.

Mir Faizan said...

Good Blog. A Must Read

Syed Waseem Mukhtar said...

This is the ground reallity of kashmir.if any one still didn't beleive all this then please and please cme here and stay a litle wth us,then and nly then u will b able to knw the truth.
thanx.we want indians like u to cme forward and help us.

Kushagra Mishra said...

i hope now some of d kashmiris will also come up wid a blog abt the atrocities brought to kashmiri pundits...by mujahideens.

Ankur Singh said...

Those who want us to be dere in kashmir dey should be dere at d time when kashmiri pandits were thrown out of kashmir...

Vineet Aggarwal said...

Guys the point of writing this article is to wake up people to the realities of our country.. the forces are doing a great job in protecting our nation but they are also bound to make mistakes sometime! If we try to cover that up it is not going to help anyone in the long run.. And yes Kashmiri pandits more than deserve the right to their property, the loss of livlihood and the compensation for the Govts. failure to protect them.. Till the time their demands are not fulfilled their can be no solution to this issue.

Kiran Bakshi Arora said...

This blog is a real eye opener..a must read..well done vineet!!

Wahid Qureshi said...

They had demanded the dna of all the people to be tested who is buried in kashmir as more than 10000 kashmiris lost in 20yrs they r still missing but the state govt. denied saying that the relatives of the kin who r missing first identify the graveyard then they will took the sample.... I think govt. Should also look for rehabilitation of kashmiri pandit so that they can again live peacefully in kashmir .....

Sajad Magray said...

Anonymous says ,”CRPF is not allowed to use weapons!!!!!!.” This may sound true and realistic in other states of India but here @ Kashmir everyone in uniform is licensed to kill. The democratic AFSPA have made security forces an absolute authority. Come here and spend some time us with. At the first instance the Anonymous pleads total ignorance about the Kashmir issue and in the paragraphs to follow he pretends to understand everything about it. I agree to his view that there may be some anti social elements who never want peace to return but the cause of conflict / Kashmir issue is not exclusively what Anonymous thinks. The problem with rest of the Indian population is that they always think Kashmir as a Third-Party Sponsored Terror Venture while the reality is something different. What has an Outsider to do when we mourn an innocent killed by security forces?. Kashmir is a dispute since ages. If someone is keen to understand the issue, it is like an open book and the writing on the wall is clear. Mere assumptions wont work. Another misunderstanding which the Anonymous has is that if Kashmir is set free, they wont survive as an Independent Nation. I have a question to ask. What if India would have thought on the same lines when they were fighting for freedom from the colonial powers? India got freedom and survived as an Independent Nation. And Kashmir has everything to live as Nation. With Almighty’s blessing we have the will and power to survive as nation. My place has nothing but resources and last but not least the will to live as Independent Nation.

pariha jan said...

Reality sucks....nobody is aware abt the reality of kashmir....

pariha jan said...

Excellent work

Anonymous said...

no one can better understand the plight of kashmir except the people who belong to kashmir !!im nt denying the fact that the situation of kashmir has deteriorated more than before !if the govt.is to be blamed for the present plight of the kashmir then who has to be blamed for the 1990 exodus ! atleast govt asked people to leave the state who were continuously living in fear of their lives (irrespective of religion ) but who has to be blamed for burning their houses , public announcements and all ! im in no support for the govt. and i completely condemn what is happening in kashmir is no good but if now they are so openly standing against the govt. , why didnt they stand up against the terrorist activists when they were killing innocent people of kashmir in 1990s ..and presently if kashmir wants freedom ! do you think that they will be able to sustain that ! and regarding pakistan's involvement they should shut their mouths as it has already been decided that their will be a bilateral decision for kashmir issue without any third party involvement ,then why they keep involving the uno !! why so much hue and cry for kashmir to get separated , what about pok , where i doubt whether human race even exist !! lastly i appreciate the way this article has been pur forth not forgetting the past and present conditions of kashmir !! # appreciation

pearl said...

The article is well put..... the reasons for not acting or supporting these people is lack of knowledge of wats happening..... thanks for bringing out the actual situation out to people....

Vineet Aggarwal said...

Thanx a lot Pearl.. its our duty as citizens of India to support our brothers n sisters in other parts of the country.. m just doing my bit!

seeker said...

@ Vineet : Indian Military, Navy etc is at every border why only Kashmiri have Human Rights problem ?

Dr. Vineet Aggarwal said...

If you read the article on Manipur, you would see what the extent of this problem is my friend.. it is not related to just Kashmir