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A common Indian’s open letter about Kashmir to Major Arya, fellow Indians

 There is no match of Mahatma Gandhi in entire world but how you can stop Kashmiri people seeing Shri Geelani as their Mahatma Gandhi?! 

   Kalpesh Savan

After militant Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8, Kashmir was set on fire. More than 90 people got killed in the outrage, 11,000 got injured, over 1,000 persons have been arrested; over 100 ambulances have been attacked. Large numbers of people have been blinded or were inflicted with serious injuries due to reckless use of pellet guns by police and paramilitary forces.

This was all shocking in a nation called to be democratic republic and this was all shocking by the nation called to be democratic republic and treating its own civilians as second class citizens.

Driven by too much biased India media in our cozy rooms, earlier I too had same thinking about Kashmir and Kashmiris what average Indian mind set is keeping or compelled to believe.

My all prejudices and perceptions broken out once I came in contact with advocate Aijaz Ahmed Mir, now a ruling PDP MLA from Wachi constituency. Our rich conversation on history and political scenarios made me understand about the ground reality and facts about the beautiful land and most lovable people living in this state.  I could have never known the meaning of words like referendum and plebiscite if I had not met him (Mir). So, observing the ongoing extrajudicial killings, I started expressing my views in a humane way and was targeted by ‘by tongue muscular’ nationalists who accused me of sedition!

A common Indian is not able to understand that why an average Kashmiri is supporting “terrorists” and why they hate our brave – worshippable – admirable Army? I think it’s not their fault because what they see and do understand is through Indian media only and Indian media has always been painting militants as “terrorists” and Kashmiri awam sentiments towards them as “support to terrorism”.

People would say such comparison is improper but need to think over and look back to our own past. Did not our Krantiveers do the same what Burhan did for the sake of his ideology? Is not Hurriyat Conference being seen along the lines of India’s Congress before 1947 for the sake of their ideology? There is no match of Mahatma Gandhi in entire world but how you can stop Kashmiri people seeing Shri Geelani as their Mahatma Gandhi?! In brief, before 1947 India was not then a nation as we know nation today under one constitution but was a colonial part of Britain. Britishers occupied this territory and its inhabitants started rebelling. Few choose violent ways and carried weapons while few choose nonviolent activities to come out of the oppression. People following nonviolent path gathered under one umbrella “Congress” and walked under leadership of Mahatma Gandhi who became the face of the movement and got recognized as Father of the Nation.

Those who did not have belief in such ideology like Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Subhash Chandra Bose, took weapons in their hands and started attacking Britishers directly. They used to attack Britishers, kill them, loot their properties and throw bombs and grenades over British forces and officials. Government put prizes over their heads too but they used to stay in people’s heart, were known as “Krantiveers” and were recognized and “Shahid-Martyr” posthumously donning the identity ‘National Hero’.

Emotionally Kashmir is and should be an integral part of India but technically the case is very and very complicated. In 1995 the first ever opinion poll was conducted in the Kashmir Valley by MODE which had been commissioned by Outlook.

72% of respondents favoured independence, 19% favoured Pakistan and only 7% favoured a solution within Indian sovereignty. The matter of plebiscite is still pending as promised to Kashmiris at historic Lal Chowk by the first prime minister of world’s largest democracy.

Since 1947 Kashmir has been a colonial part of India under military occupancy. Naturally the voice for freedom was raised from within because humans have to feel to be free. Here too, few choose nonviolent way to express their demand. Few choose to carry weapons and grenades in hands and became militants for freedom fighting and attacking military forces which they feel as depriving the population there. However they have never attacked common citizens, tourists or even Hindu Amarnath Pilgrims since they are not like terrorists. Burhan Wani was one of them.

There is a need to think about few questions and points.

Britain occupied India because it had the motive of business and colonization. But what is the motive of India behind occupying Kashmir at gun point which their inhabitants are protesting although?

There were regular talk between the British government and Congress on behalf of India and freedom fighters. Why Govt. of India is not taking any proactive steps to encourage and foster discussions with Kashmiri freedom fighters, who have been labelled as separatists?

After horrifying killing of the Jalianwala Baugh incident, British government immediately took action against General Dyer. Has there any action been taken against any army officer or Jawan for illegally and unethically torturing any Kashmiri since there are plethora of incidences on daily basis without reporting and recording!

The so called Nationalists feel that protesters and all those who attended Burhan’s funeral should had been bombarded! They commented over victims’ pictures I shared on my Facebook wall that each of them should had been shot dead! One news channel suggested even that instead of burial, Wani should have been burned in garbage! I am not making a case of Burhan Wani but when thousands of our own citizens are out on the streets, should we not be concerned? And irony is that it might be pretentious but Pakistan showed that they feel Kashmiris wounding and observed a “Black Day” that sent a positive sign from Pakistan on global platform signifying how Human Rights are violated in/by India.

Social media nationalists got a moment to rejoice and celebrate over the killing of the 22-years-old boy and presented it as Army’s great achievement in the war. I would ask, is this a “war” against whom? Since the victims are mostly innocent unarmed inhabitants then how would you categorise it under war. Isn’t it like unethical, immoral oppression that drools with blood lust – cold blooded killings? No Indian media is interested in framing the story that how this intelligent boy turned into a rebel and chose to be a militant, how he was brutalised at a younger age. It was not highlighted anywhere how he witnessed his own elder brother being hunted and shot dead by the brave forces.

I have read Arundhati Roy’s view on Kashmir issues. This courageous truth finding writer has reached out to all such places where masses are deprived by power whether they are Dalits or tribals or North East or Kashmir.

Roy has always spoken up for justice becoming the voice of the victims. On her visit to Kashmir few years back she writes her journey to Shopian which was closed for 47 days in 2009 in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice.

Few days back, Army veteran Major Gaurav Arya’s open letter addressed to Burhan Wani went viral online where the letter ended up saying, ”When you choose to fight against Indian Army, know this THEY WILL KILL YOU. Your supporters now want blood. So, be it. Cheers!” How insane the writer is! How merciless his words are! He commits that he is not believing in constitutional judicial procedures and direct giving judgments on a sole ground that if anyone is against his system, He will kill those all! How scary! How terrific! Later on a young Kashmiri youth Wasim Khan wrote a heartfelt post on his Facebook wall responding to this brave Major. Dear Major Arya there is no might there. There is no might in blinding them. There is no might in crippling them. There definitely is no might in killing them. Let’s get off of our high horses and see this as human beings.

And lastly, please don’t get me wrong. I feel that even after reading your letter another child is shot in the name of patriotism, nationalism you’d have done more harm than good.”

During ongoing chaos many brutal incidents were focused in media (of course Kashmiri media) till government banned.

This wanton use of brute force against protesters instigated boys, who started throwing stones and chanting Aazadi slogans. But, it seems the police, SOG and CRPF had been instructed to crush the protests by all means. I do not know who they wanted to please—RSS, PDP, BJP or New Delhi government.

Mutual cooperation and trust among people of India and Kashmir and Government and Army should be established and consolidated ensuring their basic civil rights. It is the only long term, difficult but sustainable solution for mutual interests as well.

The author can be reached at:  kalpeshsavan@gmail.com

 

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About Desk Editor

Thanks to all those who said ‘no’ to me, it is because of them I did it myself.
Sameer Showkin Lone is a Founder/ Editor of News Despatch (www.newsdespatch.com). He is a journalist with experience of working in different media organisations including India Today and Scoop Whoop. He reports on Defence and Security, Politics, Human Rights, Health and Environment.

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