By Yasir Altaf Zargar
Pardon my impudence.
It’s been more than 4 months since you took charge as the Chief Minister of this fractious state, Jammu & Kashmir. To become the Chief Minister of one of the most militarised regions wasn’t a cup of tea for you, as we all know the obstacles you faced since you lost your father. It was hard for you to align with a party which has a very different ideology than your own party which calls for self-rule, but unfortunately you cobbled the coalition. Since you are walking their path, obeying the policies of their party, you too helped the tyrant in expanding oppression. You are helping the saffron wave to spread in Kashmir.
This became clear to us when you stated that you are ashamed as a Muslim. In the same statement you said, “Violence in any form will never be accepted and isn’t part of Islam.” Somehow you were talking of peace which never prevailed since you took charge as the Chief Minister in this unfortunate part of the world. It’s true that violence in any form is unacceptable to everyone, whether it be a cleric inside a masjid giving sermon or a ordinary person who is yelling for Aazadi. But then there comes a moment when people would have to stand up for their human rights, which directly or indirectly includes freedom in this disputed land, a freedom which had never been granted to the people of Kashmir, despite the promise of the UN. To say that “there are some miscreants in Kashmir who incite other people for freedom” would be insulting people’s aspirations.
Forgetting the promises which your party had made during election campaign, your party has succumbed in front of a tyrant. I still remember your party slogans during the campaign. At that time, some of your party members had said that they want people “to vote for the PDP to keep the BJP away.” They also talked of “how Sheikh and his family betrayed people”. But everything miraculously changed when your party denounced the voters who voted to keep the BJP away. Since your father welcomed the RSS and BJP, the streets of Kashmir is now witnessing bloodbath.
Chief Minister Saheba,
The paradise which passionate people from across the world come to see stands isolated and ravaged. It’s been the 31st day of curfew since this upheaval started and you started dispersing people with lethal weapons. Have you ever imagined facing such harsh brutality which the J&K Police and the CRPF troopers inflict on people? More than 58 people have died so far and the number is increasing day by day. Is this the outcome of what you say “maximum restraint”? The raison d’être behind these killing is that you have been rendered powerless because the legs of your chair are owned by the saffron party. Your recent statements made it clear where your coalition with the BJP stands now. To say that the situation is “under control” is like cracking a cruel joke this time. Do you feel the pain of those young boys and girls who have lost their eyesight? Do you feel the pain of that 8-year-old, who almost lost his left eye? Are you aware of what people are actually demanding? Or do you still stick to the line that the protests are sponsored by Pakistan? Madam, this is 2016, and not 1990. Your defence of violence against innocent people is repugnant.
What do you want to tell people? That they pelt stones and your police and the CRPF shower bullets and pellets in retaliation? Did you see the writings on our walls? Do you know what people are demanding right now? To know what they want, you need to feel the pain which they suffer. I am shocked to see how you made a U-turn in your statements. When the 2008 and the 2010 unrest were at their peak, you came out on the streets, screamed, even locked the secretariat, and roared with your party members that people are being brutally supressed and then killed.
In 2016, you have maimed people, gagged media, banned mobile networks and still you have the audacity to appeal for peace. I saw you on a national media channel, where you were shedding crocodile tears. Did you want to convey the message the suppression of the people’s movement made you cry? Do you endorse the movement? In that case I would like to make you aware that you have killed 58 people so far. The current situation clearly insinuates that the situation is not under your control; it is drifting away. The use of lethal weapons on people, shooting young and small boys from point blank range, blinding a hundred youths, killing women – these are not things that your election manifesto had put on your website. The CRPF and the J&K Police have introduced nocturnal raids. They are taking the young boys with them and putting them behind bars. I think if you continue with these practices, you have to build hundred of new jails to keep these young and educated boys inside jails.
Your government stands exposed right now. What about the views of your coalition partner? They seem to make completely different statements. Or are you trying to fool us? An ordinary Kashmiri wants to know whether to call this coalition holy or unholy.
Chief Minister Madam,
Through force, you cannot suppress a people’s movement. As the old saying goes, the more you try to assert force, the more deadly would be the retaliation. The current situation could be handled only by peaceful means. Instead of behaving like the head of state, behave like a human in order to understand the pain, which has deeply wounded the hearts of people.
I hope some sort of sense will prevail.
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw” — Nelson Mandela
Yasir Altaf Zargar is a Srinagar based web security analyst. He has been acknowledged and rewarded for contributing to the web security of Google, Yahoo, Hackerone, Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle. He tweets as @zargaryasir and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on ‘In the Shadow of the Larger Faiths: The Minor Faiths of South Asia’, edited by Prof. Sipra Mukherjee, West Bengal State University, Kolkata, India.