Subjugation and Kashmir during the 100 days of the Modi Sarkaar

Published: August 26, 2014
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The concerns the people of Kashmir, like always, have been rejected as ‘secessionist’ and influenced by Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

More than a hundred days of Modi Sarkar’s achey din are over and since then the Indian premier has visited the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir twice. Lately, the disputed region, for a constellation of reasons, has also taken up quite a bit of space in the news.

Starting from a debate over the abrogation of Article 370, which gives Kashmir special status, on paper at least, from the Constitution of India to the recent cancellation of foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan, Kashmir has dominated headlines and been the subject of prime time discussions on TV in India.

An in-depth analysis of these debates shows how, the new dispensation in, India is tactically attempting to obliterate any signs of Kashmir’s disputed nature from the popular imagination. By diving deep into local politics, portraying Kashmiri Pandits as victims and completely overlooking the sufferings and struggles of other sections of Kashmiri society, they are further fuelling regional polarisation.

India’s 370 love affair with Kashmir

The right wing Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatya Janata Party (BJP), which is running the government in India, has been at the forefront in demanding the abrogation of Article 370, making it one of its core selling points in 2014 general election manifesto. The demand has helped BJP in three ways; first, it helped them assert the ideology of ‘one India’ and gather support from all over the country to bring Kashmir at par with other states in the Indian union. Secondly, it helped them further strengthen their position in the Jammu region of the disputed state (they won all the three parliamentary seats in Jammu and are expected to win at least ten assembly seats in the upcoming state elections).  And lastly, BJP has effectively engaged all political forces in Kashmir trying to scuttle BJP’s prospects of winning any seat in the Kashmir valley.

The pro-freedom groups in Kashmir reacted to the hue and cry calling for abrogation of the article in an expected manner. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Kashmir’s most followed pro-freedom leader and chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, said,

“Article 370 doesn’t hold any importance”.

Taking similar line of action, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, stated,

“Abrogation of Article 370 is a non-issue”, further saying that Government is, “using force to run the affairs of the state”

Interesting, however, is the manner in which the so called ‘mainstream’ political parties in Kashmir reacted to the controversy. The ruling party, National Conference (NC), took to the streets to protest against the move. Calling Article 370 as the “only link” between India and Kashmir, the party said that,

“They will go to any extent to safeguard this article”.

A thorough and authoritative study of Article 370 by the constitutional expert AG Noorani in his book A Constitutional History of Jammu and Kashmir lays bare the hollow rhetoric of pro-India political parties in Kashmir. According to Noorani’s comprehensive study, Article 370 has been subjected to systematic erosion by the successive governments in New Delhi. Economist and former chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Haseeb Drabu, opined that Article 370, as it stands today, is nothing more than ‘husk’.

A critical study of Article 370 in the contemporary times reveals that Kashmir’s affair with 370 or the ‘special status’ is long over. What keeps the ball rolling is merely a political propaganda seeking to safeguard the ‘careers’ of a few people and their positions of power. Also, since majority of Kashmir’s population does not seem to get their aspirations fulfilled, any debate that talks about issues less than the resolution of dispute appears as hogwash to take the focus away from the realities on ground. Still, popular imagination in India and Kashmir see Article 370 as a blessing for the people of state; that the article places Kashmir in a special category and allows for its development is a mirage. Such farcical public imagination is manufactured by the state controlled media in India which toes the line of national interest in reporting affairs relevant to Kashmir.

The manipulation of facts and appropriation of political developments in Kashmir has made the hollowness of India’s generosity in giving a special status to Kashmir obvious therefore causing a ‘heartbreak’ and making the love affair one of I-don’t-care types from Kashmir’s side.

The melodrama of rehabilitation 

The migration of Pandits from the Kashmir valley following an armed rebellion against India in the early 90s has been a debate of contestations. It is one single event in the history of Kashmir’s armed struggle against India which is extrapolated to colour the freedom movement as communal thus placing the struggle in the global map of ‘Islamic jihad’. What exactly happened on that fateful day has been interpreted in different ways. While a section of pandit’s argue that it was a handiwork of Muslims in Kashmir (who lived together with Pandits for centuries in what is known as a composite culture), others say that the migration was facilitated by the State and government machinery at that time.

Successive regimes, both in India and Kashmir, have time and again used the rhetoric of rehabilitation to make Pandits only politically relevant to the landscape of Kashmir. As a people, they have been denied their status and place, and the State, through its propaganda machinery (the media), has attributed it to the pro-freedom leadership in Kashmir, accusing them of flaring up communal divide and resorting to violence to sabotage the process of rehabilitation.

In reality, rehabilitation is only a bubble.

A look into the labyrinth of rehabilitation reveals a sinister mechanism akin to the Israeli settlement policy. The idea of a separate ‘homeland’ for Pandits within Kashmir is bizarre and reeks of a strategy of settlement rather than rehabilitation. In its true sense, rehabilitation would include providing the Pandits their own places, the villages where they were born and the streets they were brought up.

Under the Modi sarkaar, the farce of rehabilitation gained further momentum. With Jitendra Singh from Jammu holding the key portfolio of minister of state in the prime minister’s office, and the elevation of some journalists (read: propagandists) to top positions in ‘reputed’ media houses, only one side of the debate has found voice and space. The concerns the people of Kashmir, like always, have been rejected as ‘secessionist’ and influenced by Pakistan.

The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, in his inaugural address to the joint session of Parliament mentioned the agenda for rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandits. Later on August 12, 2014 Narendra Modi, while speaking in Kargil, said that,

“We will do whatever it takes to do it (to rehabilitate Pandits in Kashmir) and are determined for that.”

Earlier, the home ministry had started work on the rehabilitation policy which, among other things, envisages a package of rupees 20 lakh for each family for the construction of houses.

While self-appointed ‘representative’ Pandit organisations have welcomed the move, a section of them have called for legal action against people involved in the ‘killing and forcing out of Pandits’ from the valley. These organisations have been tight lipped about the killings and other gruesome human rights violations committed by the Indian forces in Kashmir. The culpability of killing more than 120 youth in the recent past by the Indian forces, according to them, should lie on,

“Secessionist leaders of Kashmir who drive the youth out on the streets to die”

In the past two months or so, Indian media outlets have joined the chorus with the BJP government in realising the project of a separate ‘homeland’ for Pandits in Kashmir; the return, many columnists in India argue, must come with a promise of livelihood and dignity.

Pro-freedom leadership in Kashmir maintains that return of Pandits to their homes is important. However, there has been no substantial contribution in terms of policy or mechanism made by such leaders to facilitate the safe return and reintegration of Pandits in the society.

The politics of pilgrimage and a failed tryst with ISIS

Kashmir is indeed a paradise on earth. On a lighter note, less for its geographic landscape and more for the number of gods that ‘live’ here or were born here or, at some point in time, have traversed through Kashmir and blessed the land for eternity.

The list of pilgrimage destinations in Kashmir are mounting like the number of dead. Season after season, new unexplored locations inspire religious fervour (also seduce some DSLR geeks for photographic expeditions). In 2011, the Amarnat yatra received more than six lakh pilgrims. Over the last few years, the number of pilgrims to Amarnat and other places like Katra, Machail and Gangabal have seen an exponential increase. Although yatra to Kausernag was started in 2009 from Reasi, this year a group of Pandits unsuccessfully tried to make Kulgam the base camp for yatra. People in Kashmir were quick to lodge their protest against the move and the state government was forced to call it off.

History is often invoked to justify the unjustifiable. While the ISIS wrongly invoke religion to seek moral justification for the barbarities they commit in Iraq, BJP and their proponents of politics of bigotry and hate refer to mythological past to justify an act of environmental vandalism. People opposing the increasing yatras in Kashmir contest such history saying such yatras were never taken in past. Also, the growing concern for the ecological devastation caused by the Amaranat yatra, a proposed yatra on large scale to Kausernag, has raised serious doubts.

Rahul Pandita, making (un)just use of paper in The Hindu, argued that the encroachment of Dal and Dachigam in Kashmir has been going on rampantly. His concern for the endangered Kashmir Stag (Hangul) is welcome. However, his proposition that opposition to Kausernag yatra does not come out of environmental considerations but a tactic to “deny Pandits their past” does not augur well with his love for Hangul. The deterioration of Dal Lake in Srinagar serves as a slap on the face of successive governments, who have pumped in tonnes of money, resulting in nothing.

In the middle of the ragging controversy Omar Abdullah, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, tried to shift focus and engage conscious people in another issue,

“Heard that a Kashmiri youth from Australia has joined the ISIS”, the CM was quoted by the media.

So far no credible evidence suggests that anyone from Kashmir has joined the group in Iraq or Syria. The trick to shift the public mood from the Kauserng controversy to the ISIS failed to be of any purpose. The ISIS has not been able to find much space for serious engagement with the youth in Kashmir except for a group of ‘Twitter jihadis’ who managed to inspire a few juveniles to raise ISIS flags in Srinagar.

Lady UNMOGIP and the absurdity of the peace process

Remember the favourite guys in newsroom discussions in India bursting their lungs and wiping United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) having “outlived its utility”. The debate went on to declare (from India’s perspective) that the status of Kashmir as a dispute in the United Nations has also ceased to exist.

The purpose of the establishment of UNMOGIP in 1951, following the termination of UNCIP, was to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. Its presence or absence had no relevance whatsoever with the nature of the dispute recognised by the UN under chapter seven of its charter.

The Modi Sarkaar, after it came to power in India, asked the UNMOGIP to vacate office in New Delhi from where it was running a liaison office for more than 40 years for free. The matter gathered momentum and some political pundits, and India’s Kashmir experts, declared that UNMOGIP should be asked to leave the country as it has lost relevance.

Pakistan has been reporting every ceasefire violation having taken place to UNMOGIP. India, however, had stopped taking any case to the UN appointed supervisor after the 1972 Shimla Agreement between the neighbouring nuclear powers.

After the creation of Bangladesh, India held more than 90,000 Pakistani troops as prisoners of war. In order to facilitate their release, an agreement was signed in Shimla between Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Obviously, the latter had much at stake. The agreement called for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute bilaterally thereby reducing the territory and people of Kashmir merely into a ‘property’ whose fate was to be determined by India and Pakistan.

The cancellation of foreign secretary level talks by India after the Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi met Kashmir’s pro-freedom leadership is justified on the basis of the Shimla agreement. The Indian government calls Kashmir its “internal matter” and argues that such meetings were in violation of the agreement.

Another proposition that can be added to the cart is the absence of Kashmiri leadership, which in effect, is in contravention to what India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had promised to people of India, Pakistan and Kashmir. The “aspirations of the people of Kashmir” are represented by Hurriyat leaders who are now denied the right to put forth Kashmir’s objectives to the governments of India and Pakistan. This denial of representation is a sinister design of the Modi Sarkaar to silence the entire population into subjugation.

The idea of any peace process is absurd and its purpose meaningless unless the party affected is not a formal member of the process. A trilateral approach which includes both India and Pakistan, and the leadership from Kashmir is needed to address the issue amicably.

Basharat Ali

Basharat Ali

Basharat Ali is a freelance writer and blogger. He is doing his masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He tweets as @Basharat_Dar (twitter.com/Basharat_Dar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • BlackJack

    India should stop aerial bombing of hapless Muslims within its own sovereign territory – every day’s paper carries news of 10 – 12 so-called ‘militant’ deaths, and still they have the temerity to lecture Pakistan on human rights. Sorry, pls replace India with Pakistan and vice-versa in the sentence above.Recommend

  • NotAJingoist

    Before any Indians come here and try to change the subject and bring up Pakistan’s human rights record and separatist movements over here, the author of this post is a Kashmiri from Kashmir, and bringing up any other subject is irrelevant.

    Trying to play the Pandit-Kashmiri card is also counter-productive because it negates the main topic of discussion and the grievances of the author.

    I hope sanity prevails in the comment box.

    Peace.Recommend

  • Pakistani-Kashmiri

    If Kashmiri Pandits are allowed to return to Kashmir, then the Kashmiris of Sialkot,Gujranwala,North Punjab,Abbotabad,Peshawar and the refugees in Azad Kashmir should also be allowed to return.

    There are many Kashmiri settlers in Punjab and most of our ancestors came to Present-day Pakistan over the past century or two, we were uprooted by the Dogras; Gulab Singh and Hari Singh were oppressive rulers who caused the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris from the valley, today our diaspora in Pakistan numbers in the millions, all Butts,Lones,Dars,Khwajas,Mirs etc should also have the right to retur, I don’t know why the mainstream media and Government of Pakistan ignores us, Nawaz Sharif should do something for his community.

    @ET moderators: please post my comment.Recommend

  • doesnt mattter

    In an era of globalisation these people want a land for kashmiris only. How unbelievablly visionaryRecommend

  • Hosur

    Balochistan commemorated the
    death anniversary of leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, killed in a military
    operation in the Bugti hills in August 2006, by observing a complete
    shutdown and wheel jam strike throughout the province…….comments before Kashmir or amnesiaRecommend

  • FactCheck

    “After the creation of Bangladesh, India held more than 90,000 Pakistani troops as prisoners of war.”

    There were actually 40,000 Pakistani troops held as PoW by India, the other 50,000 were innocent civilians, mostly Biharis and West Pakistani settlers in what was then East Pakistan.Recommend

  • Satish, Dxb

    Oh the irony !! An avowedly self proclaimed anti Indian and secessionist using the facilities of a state funded university in the capital of Indian union (which he hates) to fulfill his learning aspirations .. Mr. Ali, why dont you get some ghairat (like your beloved Pakistanis) and stop using the Indian tax payers money for your inquisitve leanings !!Recommend

  • Tara Singh

    Bashrat Ali…ur name and views suggests that u inspired from Amrish Puri(Ashraf Ali) of Gadar..lel :PRecommend

  • G. Din

    “The agreement called for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute bilaterally thereby reducing the territory and people of Kashmir merely into a ‘property’ whose fate was to be determined by India and Pakistan.”
    All territories are only a “property” and their transfer by way of sale or exchange or gifts throughout the all through history has taken place between two sovereigns – the transfer-er and the transfer-ee without any reference to the people and other livestock living on it. Can the author name even one exception to that rule or practice? Same happened when Kashmir was sold by the British to Maharaja Gulab Singh. Were Kashmiris asked then for their views in the matter? Emphatically, no!
    Recommend

  • FactCheck

    What does Baluchistan have ANYTHING to do with the Kashmir issue?The writer isn’t a Pakistani, he’s a Kashmiri from Kashmir!

    If you bring up Baluchistan, we’ll bring up Assam,Manipur,Sikkim,Nagaland,Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad Deccan.Recommend

  • FactCheck

    You’re comparing a Colonial era to modern times in a socalled Demoracy!lol @ the logicRecommend

  • http://batman-news.com ranjit_bandukdhari

    peace and conflict resolution does not come without justice. As regards Article 370, if it is valueless, then would one object its jurisdiction were to be limited to just Kashmir Valley proper? The prohibition from non State subjects settling and starting businesses in Jammu and Ladakh is affecting the economy of these regions and it is the need of the hour to economically integrate these two areas to the rest of the country. After all Basharat Dar says, the Article 370 is political propaganda- thus having only symbolic value. Finally, if one really wants peace and justice in Kashmir, then they really need to know the history of Kashmir. For Hindus Kashmir is really the abode of gods. Thus the various pilgrimages which have been around for ages but had stopped in 1989 when the Pandits were evicted from Kashmir by religious zealots.Recommend

  • Pakistani-Kashmiri

    I wrote a long comment and ET moderators didn’t post, which I was expecting because they never post comments from a Pro-Pakistani perspective but they’ll always post childish,irrelevant and nasty comments from trolls from east of the border.

    All I wanted to say is that if Kashmiri Pandits are allowed to return to Kashmir, then the millions of Kashmiris living in Pakistani-Punjab who came here around a century or two ago and some recently, should also be allowed to return to the valley, our ancestors were uprooted and persecuted by the Dogras and the Tyrannical Gulab Singh and Hari Singh, but alas this comment will not be published because it doesn’t tow the Anti-Pakistani narrative of this publication!Recommend

  • Asghar Baloch

    You occupy his land, steal water from the rivers that flow through his watan(Kashmir) to generate electricity for India and provide water for people to drink, if you leave his country, he will leave your country.Recommend

  • Astore

    Nice try, you’re trying to make it sound like the Pakistani army is killing innocent civilians in FATA, you’re an apologist for the Taliban.

    Most Tribal Pakhtuns I know support the Pakistani army and in fact many are in the army!Recommend

  • Crete

    The writer isn’t even Pakistani, he IS A KASHMIRI, what’s with your juvenile comments, trying to justify India’s atrocities in Kashmir with whatever Pakistan does, or what Israel does or whatever anyother country does.Recommend

  • Deepwater

    Basharat Ali – you are living freely amongst your fellow citizens, able to pray to the God that you believe in, follow the customs that you hold dear, elect your political representative, travel freely back and forth to your home and to family and get a subsidized parochial education thanks to the largesse of the tax payers. You also then have the freedom to express your subversive thoughts in the newspaper of an adversarial country.

    In the scheme of things, Basharat Ali, the world will take your purported plight far less seriously than many other genuinely oppressed people. You will be waiting in queue for a really long time.Recommend

  • Hyderabadi

    “Migration of Kashmiri Pandits”
    “Portraying Kashmiri Pandits as victims”

    Wow, never thought 350,000 people forced from their own homes is known as a “Migration”..

    Dear ET,

    I am surprised that, you would allow a mockery of religious beliefs of a community, vieled as a ‘lighter note’. (Section: The politics of pilgrimage and a failed tryst with ISIS) I am 100% positive that, a similar comment from the reader community would not make it into the comments section.

    Sincerely,
    A disappointed reader.Recommend

  • Alina

    Then please be visionary and global for all of us and bring your country back under British rule and open up your country to full flooding by Bangladeshi refugees and illegal immigrants. Thank you.Recommend

  • Alina

    The Indians shed so many crocodile tears for the Kashmiri Pundits because that is their smokescreen behind which to commit genocidal atrocities against the real victims: the Kashmiri Muslims. Besides, after saturating Kashmir with 0.8 million troops for over 2 decades, the Indians would have been perfectly able to resettle any displaced Kashmiri Pundits without fear of reprisal against them from anyone. The fact that the Indians cry about them even now shows that is just a devious propagandist ploy and the Kashmiri Pundits are not really any victims.Recommend

  • Alina

    I know!! How dare Kashmiris protest the brutal oppression of their homeland and people, complete with mass graves, round the clock curfews, shooting to death for stone pelting, injecting petrol into their bloodstreams, and other atrocities that can only be described as “genocide” because they are studying in an Indian university! My God, what barbaric horror by those Kashmiris, this extreme ungratefulness of theirs! My heart completely goes out to you Indians.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    “I hope sanity prevails in the comment box.” Impossible :)Recommend

  • Pin2

    “India’s 370 love affair with Kashmir”

    It baffles me why this is such is big issue for Kashmiris. If you are not happy despite these special privileges given to you by Article 370 within the union of India, you wouldn’t really be too sad for loosing the privileges anyway, isn’t it?Recommend

  • Vinay Tiwari

    Oh yeah! Go talk to people of Gilgit Baltistan. Also, see what happens in Balochistan before pointing fingers at India.Recommend

  • Pin2

    “The melodrama”

    Experience the pain of loosing one’s home first before terming it melodrama.
    Recommend

  • Pin2

    “Pro-freedom leadership in Kashmir maintains that return of Pandits to their homes is important. However, there has been no substantial contribution in terms of policy or mechanism made by such leaders to facilitate the safe return and reintegration of Pandits in the society.”

    The word you are looking for is “lip Service”.Recommend

  • Pin2

    On Kausernag

    It really baffles why Kashmiris would protest against somebody fulfilling his/her religious obligation when you see themselves offering namaz in train stations, parks, play grounds, office meeting rooms and other public places. how come you don’t ask locals to relocate away from dal lake as their presence is polluting a natural lake.Recommend

  • abhi

    I think for all who consider the Arabs as their ancestor, it is time to get their “homeland” somewhere in Arabia. Also it will be great if they get their homeland in Palestine, this way they can find along with their Palestinian brothers.Recommend

  • Pin2

    “The deterioration of Dal Lake in Srinagar serves as a slap on the face of successive governments, who have pumped in tonnes of money, resulting in nothing.”

    Its a slap on the face of the locals rather than the government. Its the locals who dump their garbage from their homes and business in the lake. The tourist do pay well enough for their stay for the businesses to clean up properly after they are left. If they decide to dispose off the garbage in the lake to save a few bucks, who would be deem responsible. Unless you think littering is the main cause of pollution in dal lake.Recommend

  • G. Din

    Modern times are also part of history. Question I posed still remains. Name one exception to the rule even in modern times.
    Kashmiris can be that exception when they gain the sovereignty by pelting stones. Then, of course, they will rule the roost. Until then, do not expect that they can hustle India into handing them that sovereignty.
    What has been denied on the battlefield cannot be had by hustling!Recommend

  • Anti Semitic

    Find what international media says..
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26847362
    Recommend

  • G. Din

    He has a perpetual lease to live on a piece of land (it does not matter if he calls it “his watan”, that does not change anything); neither he, nor anyone else, has the ownership of even that piece of land. All land or territory belongs to a sovereign not to the people living on it. That is why when a territory changes its sovereign, the new sovereign can dispossess anyone living on his territory. Recommend

  • hp kumar

    sorry kashmiris r not water starved.GOI has hugely invested for dams on river.Electricity generated through those dams r also supplied to kashmiris a part from rest of India.Recommend

  • Kushal

    I dont understand. If someone is unhappy with the Indian “occupation”, then why doesn’t he go to “Azad” Kashmir, breathe freely in the “free” atmosphere and leave happily thereafter.
    Mr. Basharat Ali, be rest assured that you might be one of “stake holders” but not the only one.

    ET: Please publish Recommend

  • pakkiapakaa

    Why do u go to hazratbal…..why dont u go only tpo saudi arabia…your..real home…Recommend

  • Anti Semitic

    ET,third attempt,show your relentless impaartiality..
    Allow me to make Pakistanis find out the plight of people of “India occupied Kashmir” according to international media.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26847362
    Also please google Shah Faesal IAS.
    Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Wonder why r you so hateful?Will it make any difference..Neither Brits r coming nor we r allowing bangladesis ..Its we Indians who will decide future course of action…While BJP presses for abrogation of 370,it will bring kashmiris to main stream. Economic development and better standard of living r answers to kasmir’s problem..Recommend

  • James Malish

    Modi should get rid of article 370, allow migration of people over crowded state like UP & Bihar to kashmir, like the ‘all weather friend’ is doing in xinjian by flooding it by huns from the mainland,
    Deal with separatists,
    Recommend

  • hp kumar

    It would have been more significant if it was written by a pakistaniRecommend

  • American

    ‘The “aspirations of the people of Kashmir” are represented by Hurriyat leaders …’ How do you know ? Who elected them ? They don’t even talk to each other ! Why should anybody pay attention to them ?Recommend

  • AryaBhatt

    “Modern times” and democracy does not give the right of land to any citizen or resident.Recommend

  • AryaBhatt

    Kashmir belongs to the Union of India alone. Moreover, Kashmir has been Indian land for more than 5,000 years. Also, Kashmir acceded to India in 1947. So, India cannot “occupy” its own land.

    No citizen or group of citizens in any “modern and democratic country” has the right to the land they live in which they can take away, secede and form an independent nation. In a modern nation state, all the land belongs to the nation alone and not to any one or a group of its citizens. All modern nations have been formed by accesion and annexation of land whose residents have had no say in the matter. Citizens have the right to decide the composition of government and the state and laws only. So, the land of kashmir does not belongs to residents of Kashmir. They were mere subjects of a kingdom before and are mere citizens now!!!!Recommend

  • gp65

    Well written.Recommend

  • LS

    Yes, to you it is a smoke screen because you did not get killed. Ask the people who got killed. muslims in Kashmir.can help themselves,. I would say this though – Stop the material and moral support and they would be fine…Recommend

  • gp65

    The civilians killed in pinpoinnted drone attacks were really family members of the terror suspects and yet they were mourned. Yet you claim that the ongoing carpet bombing of FATA that is going on does not result in higher civilian casualties than the drone did?Recommend

  • LS

    Wow – since when the occupiers become the title holders of the land? the original settlers have long departed… Not its their turn… And NO we are NOT drinking their water or using their electricity. Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/TheViewThroughJagansLookingGlasses?ref=hl Jag Nathan

    Basharat Ali, Kashmir is the sovereign territory of India. Your splitting it from India and taking it to Pakistan or becoming an independent state has many chances of success as a chicken growing a pair of breasts, Sir, if one is not happy in India, feel free to migrate to the Islamic paradises aptly named Pakistan Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria. Recommend

  • LS

    The rules have not changed… democracy or not. Recommend

  • LS

    It was more like 450,000 people, but I get your point…Recommend

  • Mk

    Do so…from what appears it’s not the Indian state but the state in shambles.Recommend

  • ajeet

    We will settle in Jammu and breed.Recommend

  • ajeet

    Bring them up. No one is listening and no one in the world cares.Recommend

  • ajeet

    And Pakistan will take back millions of Hindus who belonged to Pakistan and allow forcefully converted Hindu women to return back to Hinduism.Recommend

  • Sid

    Make it forever. Hypocrites never win.Recommend

  • abhishek

    Then i`ll bring up 50,000 youths from Assam, Tamil Nadu, Deccan muslims, nagaland, Sikkim, Manipur joining indian army every yearRecommend

  • abhishek

    An article of propaganda used as a lubricant to erase reality, writer thinks kashmir is under contract of religion, some medicines are hard to find, no mention of the thousand year hindu history of kashmir further elevates this article to new heights of double standard.
    Will writer live long enough to see kashmiri separatists converting to christianity to prove their secular values in order to gain an audience? After all the UN office vacated India on polite request. Some say kashmiris want freedom, i say the UN resolution under chapter 6 makes it non-mandatory to hold plebiscite,writer must grab hold of this statement while spinning in a loop, I mean all indians shud be allowed to vote on the sovereignty of azad kashmir.
    Untill then, watch us use your separatist ISIS supporters as human shields on the border, adiosRecommend

  • Bharat

    A Landlocked territory, occupied by Pakistan and China, there is no question of independence. Rather India should press to take back aksai chin, Pak occupied Kashmir and gilgit baltistan area back as a rightful owner. Asking for separate country on the basis of two nation theory in 2014 makes no sense, especially after creation of Bangladesh and when 20 crore Indian Muslims are living in India, in a much more progressive and peaceful environment comparative to Pak. The moment Kashmir separates from India it would become lawless, fundamentalist land. people from Leh Ladakh and Jammu will never agree to this as well as Ahmedi, Shia and other muslim sects in Kashmir for fear of extremism and proxy war.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “The fact that the Indians cry about them even now shows that is just a devious propagandist ploy and the Kashmiri Pundits are not really any victims.”

    Your above statement shows you believe in justice for one while you harbour contempt for the other among the suffering communities of Kashmir. What is the point in talking of the rights of Palestinians when you are willing to mock the suffering of people whom you share your blood, culture and language with just because they do not happen to be Muslims?

    You want justice only for those who are brothers in faith, please do not complain when you are at the receiving end.Recommend

  • Prashant

    ET did not post my comment either.Recommend

  • Prashant

    The people who are fighting the territorial integrity of Pakistan/ Russia/ China are either dead or underground, Indian separatists are protected by Indian army while they address rallies abusing the Army.

    Does that mean the Kashmiris are ungrateful? No, they are not, they have concerns and they need to be addressed. The Kashmiris especially Muslims, many of them do not see a future of theirs with India and India cannot afford to let history repeat itself.Recommend

  • Ram

    Please explain to me how Muslims in Kashmir are any different than 170 Muslims living in India that you need a separate state, Pakistan created based on Islam is still debating if it needs to be secular or not, Muslims of India are divided in three states and now you want to divide again, Recommend

  • Prashant

    “How dare Kashmiris protest the brutal oppression of their homeland and people”

    If the territorial integrity of a country is at stake, any country would use all possible means to get the situation under control.

    “shooting to death for stone pelting”

    Not every stone pelter in Kashmir is dead, only some but even that is unacceptable as a single life lost cannot be gotten back.

    “and other atrocities that can only be described as “genocide”…..”

    The violence in Kashmir began in 1989 and it has claimed around a lakh people by now,

    Finally, let me tell you that you do not have to tell us that innocent lives have been lost in Kashmir, we know that and we are sorry to the people of Kashmir that it has happened but India’s territorial integrity will still not be put at stake.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    I don’t know if you realize this the water, the electricity, the land also belongs to Kashmiri Pandits and they are pro-India.

    So, are the Buddhists who live in Ladakh. SIkhs in Jammu.

    Plus, India has the accession agreement.

    It is Pakistan which doesn’t have the accession agreement, if you remember.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    More importantly he is Kashmiri Sunni.

    if you want to find a Kashmir Pandit’s opinion, let me know.

    If Kashmir is such a troubled spot, how on Earth is it getting more Tourists than the entire country
    http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2013/Jun/7/as-tourist-arrivals-swell-kashmir-grapples-with-room-shortage-37.asp

    You do know that in J&K, Jammu is Hindu majority, while Ladakh is Buddhist.

    Who is a Kashmiri? Are only Muslims considered to be Kashmiris?Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Most Kashmiris(Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs) I know are pro-India and some are even in the Indian Army.

    Do you know Jawarhalal Nehru?

    Or, do you know Suresh Raina has Kashmir origins. So does Katrina Kaif, I heard.

    So, why paint only Muslims as real Kashmiris? Isn’t this a lie?Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    He certainly doesn’t represent the voices of the HIndus, Buddhists, Sikhs of J&K.

    He can stand in Elections and prove his majority.

    Sajjad Lone from Hurriat thinking he can win, stood for elections of lost miserably in North Kashmir.

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2009/05/16/idINIndia-39670020090516

    Why didn’t Sajjad Lone win if people in Kashmir are so pro-Freedom and pro-Seperatists?

    Please educate us all..Recommend

  • Jayman

    We were “subjugated” for over 600 years. It is your turn now. Rona kis baat ka? If we had spoken up in the terms that you are doing now, we would have had our head handed to us in a plate. need to learn the meaning of ‘sabr’. Be glad that you have the freedom to speak. Besides, the freedom you seek is just one fence away. Go there and be “free”. Kashmiri Pandits had lived in Kashmir for thousands of years longer than the age of your religion. They were unceremoniously terrorized and kicked out. They are not making a song and dance.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    He is a Muslim from Kashmir.

    He is not a Pandit, not a Sikh, not a Buddhist, who live in J&K. He doesn’t speak for the Hindu majority Jammu or the Buddhist majority Lakdakh.

    His opinion is NOT shared among the minority. If he thinks otherwise, the state elections are near, he can stand in elections and prove his majority.

    Sajjad Lone tried it before and lost.

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2009/05/16/idINIndia-39670020090516

    Another Separatist was made to eat his words by the people of Kashmir.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Is this too a propaganda?

    http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2013/Jun/7/as-tourist-arrivals-swell-kashmir-grapples-with-room-shortage-37.asp

    I can show you pictures of my friends who have been to Kashmir earlier this year, if you like.

    India has never carpet bombed Kashmir, if it were truly wanted to obliterate Kashmiri MuslimsRecommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Whenever we try to point out Hurriat doesn’t stand in elections or doesn’t have mass support, we are censored.

    http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2013/Jun/7/as-tourist-arrivals-swell-kashmir-grapples-with-room-shortage-37.asp

    Whenever we try to point out the difference between how Pakistan is treating Pashtuns and how INdia treated Kashmiris, we are not heard.

    Are we lying? Isn’t this sanity?Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Article 370 stops any non-Kashmiri from buying land in Kashmir. While there is no such restriction with “Azad” Kashmir.

    So, you will slowly see people like Hafiz Saeed and others turning the local culture into the mess you see in Iraq.

    Kashmiri culture will be gone forever.Recommend

  • Kalash wala

    ET you should be ashamed of yourself. It was a suspicion. No longer.
    It is the truth. Recommend

  • Jayman

    Kashmir was occupied by Muslim invaders and the locals displaced. Our ties long pre-dates yours. We put up with atrocities for 600 years. What you consider as abrogation of human rights would have passed as a royal treatment for Hindus under Muslim rule. You took Kashmir by invasion. You might have to do that again. Except that for the first time in history we’re ready for you.Recommend

  • Puzzled

    I don’t understand why the Kashmiri muslims didn’t leave during partition ? If hindu’s from Sindh could pack & move to India,so could Kashmiris,to pak.
    It would’ve been strange if the Sindhis didn’t leave in 1947,but hung on in Pak & in 1989 onwards,start demanding for either azad sindh or cessation of sindh to india.Recommend

  • wiserneighbour

    This of India studies in new Delhi and openly writes against India. Is it not the ultimate hypocrisy? I have personally known few kashmir pandit families whose daughters, sisters, mothers raped by fanatics.They feared for their life and vacated the place overnight leaving behind all belongings and their roots. Pandits were systematically ethnic cleansed to make it a Muslim majority area.This propaganda by brainwashed columnist is not going to work out.Caesar should get what is due to him.The whole hurriyat leaders and other self appointed bigots are going to bite the dust very soon.If promoting any more terrorism , they will be split to many provinces very soonRecommend

  • wiserneighbour

    They can bring along the piece of land that is occupied by Pakistan.Chase away the punjabis, sindhis settled there and annexe that to make undivided kashmir. Who is preventing you guys?Recommend

  • AQ Jameel

    So, a thousand years of occupation by Muslim invaders from Islam East of India and Indians was fine with you I suppose. What about Chinese occupation of Tibet Xinjiang? What about other occupations throughout history that were legitmatized by passage of time. Kashmir was acceded to India by it ruler according to choices available to him. Case closed!Recommend

  • Ansh

    “aerial bombing”? are you writing comment for Gaza/iraq? and by the way world has come to know how hapless, innocents, peaceful muslims are wherever they live create panic. mulims killing muslims any protest for that?Recommend

  • Queen

    Well said!Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Isn’t it amazing that drone strikes, which are relatively more accurate, are supposed to be killing civilians by the dozens but large scaling aerial bombing is spot-on and the words ‘alleged’ is not even used to describe these militants? And nary a voice to the contrary.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    I am not justifying anything. I am just saying that you have no right to point fingers. And Kashmir is a dispute between 2 parties, India and Pakistan. If he doesn’t want to be Indian, then he can only be a Pakistani.Recommend

  • Hypocrisy much ?

    It’s ironic that you refer to crocodile tears. I would say the same about pakistani tears for kashmir.Recommend

  • Hmm …

    Alas,that was possible before partition,since it was one nation. Now with international boundaries,they can return to pakistan occupied kashmir,only.Recommend

  • Hmm …

    Alas,that was possible before partition,since it was one nation. Now with international boundaries,they can return to pakistan occupied kashmir,only.Recommend

  • Puzzled

    I don’t understand why kashmiris (who want to be pakistani),didn’t migrate during partition-you would’ve easily got your pakistani citizenship,then,just like muslims from up,bihar,bengal etc who,migrated in 1947. The sindhis could pack up and move to india,so why didn’t kashmiris.How would pakistanis feel if sindhis refused to migrate in ’47 & instead agitated from ’89 onwards that they want an independant sindh or want sindh to join india ?Recommend

  • Jayman

    Mr.Basharat Ali, you can’t present a touchy topic like this and censor away any comment that presents an alternate narrative. A narrative is built by taking on board the opposing view and presenting your own. By hushing up counter-arguments you are not doing your cause any favors.Recommend

  • ja1980

    u r such a kid… U do then we will do that… got out of Jr school yet kid?Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    Its kind of strange, I as an Indian cannot take addmission in Kashmir university, cannot buy property, and if somebody marries a Kashmiri woman, the woman cannot buy property.
    Now contrast this :
    Kashmiris can buy property anywhere in India, Can study in any Indian university, Kashmiri males can marry non Kashmiri woman and still buy property in Kashmir.
    And yet, they are supposed to be oppressed, and I their oppressor.
    What an irony!.

    Mr. Author crybabies will always be crybabiesRecommend

  • نائلہ

    Listen bro: Speak English. I do not understand political jargon. And I dont know how India is treating Kashmiris., so I wouldn’t be the one comparing the two.

    Pakistan is NOT mistreating Pashtuns. And stop singling them out like that; they are people from the tribal areas and they are Pakistani, hence OUR responsibility. And there is no other option than Zarb e Azab. You do not understand the chaos the people of the country are in. Yes, the treatment of the IDP can certainly be improved, but for the whole operation, we are in the right.Recommend

  • Proud to be an Indian

    If the writer has so much anger against the Indian Gov & If he supports every team that plays against India then why the hell he is studying in New DelhiRecommend

  • Tony Singh

    The world laughs at your use of term genocide. Pakistani Army shell Kashmiri villages and still call themselves “friends of Kashmiris”. Or is it that Pakistanis are giving them a glimpse of how the life would be if they join PakistanRecommend

  • Tony Singh

    Is the policy of Express tribune is not to publish the truth?Recommend

  • Puzzled

    Maybe this will change your opinion and show you another side.
    http://m.bbc.com/news/magazine-19168219Recommend

  • JayMankind

    @Basharat Ali, my humble apologies. You didn’t after all, censor my post.Recommend

  • Prashant

    ET, appreciate that you do not let loose comments come through but why would you edit a comment of mine which was only making a comparison.Recommend

  • Jayman

    I agree. The only people who claim that the Hurriyat represents the people of Kashmir are the Pakistanis. There are 3 groups calling themselves Hurriyat and they are not even on speaking terms. Sayed Ali Shah Geelani heads one faction, the other one is led by Mirwiaz Umar Farooq and the third by Shabir Shah. Each one of them claims that he is the true representative. They get their funding and they’re happy.Recommend

  • Has he gone bonkers

    “aspirations of the people of Kashmir” are represented by Hurriyat leaders”.
    Says who?? On what basis?

    “The melodrama of Kashmiri Pandits”
    My god, do you even hear yourself? Im sure you must’ve cried tears of blood when children in gaza were being suffering. Suddenly in case of Kashmiri pandits it becomes melodrama? Is there a limit to which you can be hypocritical?

    “growing concern for the ecological devastation caused by the Amaranat yatra”
    Why don’t you do a research on the ecological changes in Medina and Mecca because of Hajj and let us know your findings?
    as many others have pointed out, every single statement of your reeks of hypocrisy. The entire argument is just on the basis of religion. While pandits are heartlessly sidelined, no mention of Leh, Laddakh or Jammu.
    You call yourself a seditious Kashmiri. Learn the meaning of the word first. Maybe you meant muslim instead of kashmiri.Recommend

  • Prashant

    Bring it on, who is afraid?

    Assam- There was popular support for AASU who were protesting the illegal migration from Bangladesh which had changed the demography of Assam, Paresh Baruah went a step ahead and founded ULFA and wanted Assam as a separate nation. All their top leaders are behind bars and Paresh Baruah himself is in exile and scared to come to India just like Dawood Ibrahim. ULFA has lost all its support if ever it had any.

    Sikkim- What is wrong with you? Did you just google the north east of India and posted whatever state you could see on the Indian map?

    Manipur- None of them are fighting to establish a caliphate, this is a tribal society where in many of the tribes do not get along with each other. There surely is an issue in Manipur for India but these militants are not allowed to come to Delhi to blow up the innocent.

    Nagaland- The two main factions are NSCN(IM) and NSCN(K), the former being the more potent. The leaders of NSCN(IM) have signed a peace deal with India and have not resorted to guns for more than a decade.

    Also, when Isak and Muivah come to India, the first place they visit is the resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation of the Republic of India. Even those who have differences with us are inspired by our founding fathers and that is exactly why India remains united.

    Tamil Nadu- India made Hindi a mandatory language all across India in mid 1960, the people in south especially Tamil Nadu revolted and there were a few people who threatened to break away from India, the decision was revoked and everything was back to normal, this is called the power of democracy which you might not be able to understand.

    Hyderabad Deccan- The days of Nawab are over a long time back, I am responding to you from Hyderabad. Stop calling it Hyderabad Deccan, you and me no longer live in undivided India.

    Get your history lessons from someone competent and not from people like Zaid Hamid/ Hamid Gul.

    Get back to me if you have something better and I will have you enlightened to real history.Recommend

  • Apples & oranges

    It’s not a good comparison,sir- pandits who were booted out,25yrs ago in post-independant democratic,secular india Vs. some actions of Dogra kings 200 yrs ago,in their monarchy ? If you go by that line of logic,you have to consider the atrocities of the blood thirsty invader,sikandar butshikan who predates dogra kings & forced conversions among a fully hindu kashmir & killed & displaced many kashmiris.The descendants of those converts would be the ones who lived under the Dogra kings,later.So whats the point of digging up history prior to the establishment of democracy ?Recommend

  • Prashant

    “socalled Demoracy!”

    That is what the land of pure is, this is no ranting, I believe it is time Pakistan comes out of this charade called democracy in Pakistan, it does not work for you just like it has not for most of the Muslim countries in the world. The Muslim world where in democracy worked for brief periods of time are working overtime to kill it.

    It is time for you to be dictated by your Generals again.Recommend