Geelani is answerable to Allah for all the killings, MLA Baramulla, Javed Hassan Baigh said delivering his speech in the Legislative Assembly
Jammu | Feb 09: This is the fourth time when the Governor’s addressed the joint session of the State legislature since the Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government came into existence. Unfortunately on all these occasions the opposition interrupted, disrupted, and finally boycotted his speech. However, this time what pained me was that the Governor even verbally requested the legislators to listen to him, but they did not. A budget session is always an important event.
During the session, the Governor address was tabled in this house, the Leader of Opposition, Omar Abdullah spoke and everybody listened to him keenly and carefully without a whisper. The Leader of the House, Chief Minister will also speak and it is expected of all the members of this house to listen to her, which to my mind is a constitutional obligation. After finishing their speeches, the opposition decided to boycott further proceedings of this house. As far as the Governor address is concerned, my humble suggestion is that the differences could have been buried and the Governor’s address should have been listened as per the past tradition. Boycott of the address once or twice can be accepted, but making it a routine is unfortunate. Boycotting the proceedings of the house should be an exception not a norm. The legislators should never demean the office of the Governor. I would like to quote a famous scholar and poet Sheikh Saadi here. “Main Jab Bi Pachtaya Apnay Bolnay Pe Pachtayaa, Apni Khamooshi Pay Nahin.” It is always good for an individual or a group of individuals not to speak on sensitive issues and stay away from controversies. However, we cannot afford to do that. The life that we choose for ourselves as political and social workers demands from us courage and bravery to speak the truth inside and outside this House. According to Dante Alighieri, the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. When such a situation arises as has risen in our case, it is the responsibility of this august institution to come forward, guide and groom our society and not allow it to get ruined. We should not flow with the mob like water does but stand like a rock to stop our people from the path of destruction. Today in this house, a lot of people spoke on the issue and issues of Jammu Kashmir. I wish it was so simple an issue, I wish it was so easy for anybody to find a solution to this complex issue. I wish its solution was in our hands, the MLAs of this house. Sadly, over the years, as part of our political tradition, we have given a perception to the people that Kashmir is such a small issue that if our party is voted to power, we will resolve it.
“We should rise and tell Pakistan, ‘If you are our well wisher, stop sending guns,’ we should rise and tell Mullahs, ‘Stop instigating youth to pick up guns'”
Let me introduce you to Kashmir issue though you all know it better than I do, but you deliberately avoid accepting the reality. On July 4, 1999, CIA briefed US President Bill Clinton about Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharief’s visit and informed him that Pakistan had kept its nuclear warheads ready. When Clinton told this to Nawaz Sharief, his face turned red. Clinton says either Nawaz Sharief did not know about these developments or he was a good actor. Clinton says he used all his resources to avoid the Indo-Pak war. It would have been disastrous as India was also ready and fully prepared in case Pakistan took the war to any such level.
I want to tell BJP, NC, Congress, Hurriyat, PDP, even Pakistan and all Kashmiris that if they think it is an issue of 5 to10 kanals of land that can be resolved by guns. When this is a pending issue between two nuclear powers who almost went to war, imagine what would have happened.
This is my opinion. It has nothing to do with my party. Let me respond the question, why more and more youth are joining militancy? I know I am taking a big risk but it is worth taking. Our people have given a religious colour to a pure political movement for the reason that the only way this movement can survive is by giving it a religious name, by making it a Jihad. They know that only religious colour can keep this movement alive for long. Remember that some 40 civilians were killed in 2017. No one from NC, Congress or PDP spoke about them. They were all civilians and too had human rights. Almost 11 civilians got killed in firing, I am not justifying their death, let no one die, they should not have been killed but when we cry for these 11 persons we should also cry for those who were killed by militants. Shouldn’t we talk about them, were they not Kashmiris, were they not beloved of their mothers, were not their sisters wailing at their graves, were they not the hopes of their fathers? When opposition raises voice that killings during cross firing must stop, they are right. We all should have stood up and condoled the killing of everyone and to end this prevailing innocent bloodshed, we all should rise and tell Pakistan, ‘If you are our well wisher, stop sending guns.’ We should rise and tell Mullahs, ‘Stop instigating youth to pick up guns.’ You created a nation in the name of religion but you could not hold it, it got split. In 1946, Maulana Azad rightly predicted that by using religion, you can create a country but you cannot hold it together for long. It will split. There will be militancy which will engulf the whole subcontinent. This is a leader with a vision, a true Moomin.
The issues before us are not easy. Leaders like Mehbooba ji or those who will come after her will face these challenges. This is not a normal state where governments are elected for governance and development. Here things are different. Try to understand them. If I praise Mehbooba ji, you will say he is praising her and if I praise Mufti sahab, you will blame me for sycophancy. Let me give the example of Omar sahab who has 15 lakh followers on Twitter. Are they his followers because they think he is working president of National Conference? No, a big no. What is he doing, he is a big man. All he can contribute are three things. What is his vision? He is being followed because of J&K, a state which has a strategic location, those people who know India equally know J&K. This is not a law and order issue. For God’s sake, understand and admit, China is involved here, the US is involved, Russia is involved, Pakistan is involved, and religious parties are involved. Unfortunately, people in this assembly have surrendered before them. Militancy started in 1990. You say today talks are not happening. The then Indian Prime Minister Narsimha Rao said, “Sky is the limit.” Let us talk, and let us find the solution to this problem. The Hurriyat said they will not talk unless India accepts Kashmir as a disputed territory and agrees to hold a plebiscite. Tell me did anyone talk. Tell me who needed to talk the most, Kashmiris or India. What is there to talk if Indian Prime Minister and Parliament agree to hold plebiscite before the talks? What is the need and role of Hurriyat and Pakistan then? After that, for 5 years Congress leader Rajesh Pilot met everyone trying to convince the Kashmiri leaders to agree to talks. He failed. Ask Geelani sahab, who is an honest person but a hardliner. He is answerable to Allah for all the killings. He could have stopped them by finding realistic and reasonable solution to the Kashmir problem. His relatives did not die but mine did. Ask him to swear upon the Holy Quran and say that Government of India did not approach him for talks. What was his answer? He said geographically and religiously we are a part of Pakistan. This is what India needed.
Once Geelani sahab and other Hurriyat leaders say that this is a religious issue, we lose whatever little help and sympathy the international community has for us. Once Geelani sahab and other Kashmiri leaders say that on the basis of religion we are part of Pakistan, the whole world will tell that the Muslims of India would be thinking now that Muslims and Hindus in India won’t live together. Rajesh Pilot didn’t agree to all this.
“Who needs to talk the most, Kashmiris or India? What is there to talk if Indian Prime Minister and Parliament agree to hold plebiscite before the talks? What is the need and role of Hurriyat and Pakistan then?”
Later, Atal Bihari Vajpayee took an initiative after Mufti sahab convinced him. Pakistan also cooperated because Parvez Musharraf was there. Some CBMs were taken, roads were opened, and India and Pakistan started trading.
Vajpayee went to Pakistan in a bus. Aren’t the results of all those initiatives visible to everyone?
Afterward, Manmohan Singh held a roundtable conference. It was for Hurriyat Conference to participate and represent their viewpoint. But Hurriyat refused and boycotted saying they would not take part in a conference where there are NC, PDP, BJP and the like-minded. Then after that everyone knew what happened in 2008. The Hurriyat exploited the 2008 agitation and gave it to you again in 2010. Then interlocutors came after a parliamentary delegation’s visit. They tried their level best. They approached Muhammad Yasin Malik who told them that he cannot do anything minus Geelani sahab. Then the interlocutors approached Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Mirwaiz gave the reference of his slain father and said he did not want to land himself in any trouble. Mirwaiz told them to go and convince others first and he would accordingly react. And they again refused to talk. Now we have another interlocutor. But they question his mandate. Then he replies what mandate Hurriyat has.
This nation has suffered a big loss. We have lost the sense of realisation. If this mainstream leadership does not unite, I do not know where we will be heading.
As an opposition leader, Omar sahab does not only have to criticise the government but also show his vision. What is the role of opposition? This is a platform where issues are discussed. As an MLA, we get an opportunity only twice a year to represent our nation, our people. Both the times, the opposition walks out, which is not good for the spirit of this house. As an opposition they should make the government accountable here. This is the court where they can ask questions. Mehbooba ji will answer. She is accountable.
“Abdul Gani Sahab sahab told Pakistan that for God’s sake, stop sending people. He told them it is not a religious war. What happened later? He was killed. Same is true about Moulvi Muhammad Farooq sahab. Who killed Qazi Nisar and Dr Guroo? There is a long list of politicians, bureaucrats, intellectuals, and judges who were killed. Why were they killed?”
But what they do is boycott and then tell the media outside that the government does not want to talk about the Kashmir issue. I say it here loud and clear that hold an entire session on Kashmir and then show me how you will resolve it here. Hold a month-long debate on Kashmir, but let the opposition guarantee that after the month they will come out of this house with a solution of Kashmir issue.
We are in a big trouble. Our youth are getting inclined to religious extremism. Mothers are helpless. They cannot say anything. A father does not know what his son is learning at the place where he goes to learn. They go to Pakistan without asking anyone and return with a weapon.
Do you think that if Omar sahab would have been at Mehbooba ji’s place, the incident of Burhan Wani would not have occurred? Let me ask all those who say all these issues happen because PDP is in coalition with BJP. I have a question, is it that Kashmiris will now ask the people of Jammu whom they should vote. Will Kashmiris and the parties like NC, PDP, Congress and others decide whom the people of Jammu should elect? Will Kashmiris dictate to the people of Jammu that they should not vote for BJP because we hate them? Can Omar Abdullah take the chair of CM along with 25 non-BJP members, who have got a mandate from Jammu, and run the state and keep it united? Can he do that? Mufti Sahab knew that he had less time. Why Mufti sahab did not chose the path of martyrdom then? Because he knew the verdict had come. He had to options. One was to reject the mandate of BJP out of hate. Second was to take them together and understand each other’s view point.
The coalition we have made, I do not know who will be with whom, but BJP will have a very important role in the future. It is now impossible to take BJP out of the State.
Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami stated that the house has failed. When we can issue white paper on governance, should not we stand up and tell India and Pakistan to hold talks. Should not we stand and ask Hurriyat to stand up and start talks. We should ask them that the blood of poor people is flowing down the streets. Street protests cannot resolve Kashmir issue. This is the opportunity for the Hurriyat to present their case before a representative. If you cannot plead your case before a representative, how can you plead your case at a higher level? A high stature lawyer also comes to a lower court to plead his case for his or her party. If Hurriyat is sincere and have pain for the people of Jammu Kashmir, they need to change their policy and come forward for talks. They should understand that when an interlocutor comes, he has to talk to the people of Ladakh and Jammu as well. They are also the stakeholders.
The media glamorises the news. They glamorise it in depth. In Pakistan, Governor Salman Taseer was killed by a policeman who was his bodyguard. Some 30 lakh people participated in the funeral of his bodyguard and termed him a martyr. And the man who was running the world’s largest NGO, Edhi Foundation, when its founder died, some 5000 people participated in his funeral prayers. Will you compare these two people? Should we decide who the hero was just on the basis of participation of people in these two funerals?
One was a bodyguard who breached the trust of his Governor and killed him, and the other was someone who has done massive work for the people.
Judiciary has become a business. So has the media. Everyone is playing politics on the bodies of Kashmir. Poor people get killed. Show me one child of business tycoons, Hurriyat leaders who has suffered. Any leader who tried to stand like a mountain was killed. Abdul Gani Lone sahab went to Pakistan and asked them to stop sending boys to Kashmir. Lone Sahab told Pakistan that for God’s sake stop sending people. He told them it is not a religious war. What happened later? He was killed. Same is true about Moulvi Muhammad Farooq sahab. Who killed Qazi Nisar and Dr Guroo? There is a long list of politicians, bureaucrats, intellectuals, and judges who were killed. Why were they killed?
Islamic literature has been my subject. What was Prophet Muhammad (SAW) sermon to Ummah. “… Cutting trees and leaves is like a sin, forget killing a person. The way you will keep the holiness of Kaabah and its people living here in mind, the same way you should treat the humanity worldwide.” This is the Prophet of revolution. He never said pick up the gun and kill people. Those people who say gun is a solution of problems and give religious colour to a pure political movement, we request them that for God’s sake, for the future of our children, for the future of this State, please carve out Kashmir solution through talks. If you cannot solve it through talks, it can never be solved. War is in no one’s favour.
We all should unite the opposition and the ruling parties to take out this state from the morass. Both India and Pakistan and the Hurriyat have a responsibility to seek peaceful solution of Kashmir to end bloodshed. Hurriyat should show a big heart and be brave to come forward and grab the opportunity.
What Mehbooba ji can do is that she can ask India to nominate someone to talk, but if they do not want to talk, then our government would not be responsible for that.
MLA Baramulla, Javed Hassan Baigh’s speech in the Legislative Assembly during the discussion on Governor’s joint address to the legislature transcribed by Sameer Showkin Lone
The article first appeared in Rising Kashmir