Pellets and Bullets: Yet More Fodder For a Shaken Kashmir

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Cii Radio| Sabera Sheik Essop| 30 September 2016| 28 Zhul Hijjah 1437

The picturesque Dal Lake, the historic shikaras and the houseboats bustling with life and activity are the parameters by which normalcy is judged in Kashmir. The Indian media makes a trip or two to the valley during the periods of eerie calm and interviews a few shikarawalas, houseboat owners, and hoteliers, then boasts to the world about Kashmir’s acceptance of India. It screams, yawps and yelps, this is the real face of Jammu and Kashmir; the valley is happy, it is content and as good as any other state in India.

Taking a look back at the years of supposed calm in the valley -the years after the Intifada of 2010- the outer beauty, serenity and tranquility did not reflect the inside spiel of the valley. The tulips, the mountains, the Gulmarg Gondola, the grasslands spoke a whole different story than what met the eye of a tourist embarking on a short trip of the valley. The more serene and alluring the valley looked from its skin, the more angry and agitated it was inside. The people in the valley had lost 100 of its budding tulips to the upheaval of 2010. The blooming tulips the sightseer witnesses in the majestic and the largest tulip garden in Asia, evince fake and artificial beauty. The veridical tulips of the valley have already seen the dance of death.

The collaborators keep shedding crocodile tears over the dance of death the valley was subjected to, but their conscience never questioned them. They might, as they claim, have bought with themselves the essentials of life to the service of the people but when life is dead, of what meaning are their essentials?

The valley continued to play a genial host to to its guests who came from all over the world to witness its beauty, but the anger and discontent was brewing among its people. The tipping point arrived. The drum beaters of the ‘healing touch’ policy in Kashmir pinched salt into the already bruised injuries of the people as it allied with the party mincing no words- hated in the valley, the BJP. The final nail in the coffin was struck. The PDP sought votes from the people in the name of keeping the BJP at bay, in fact miles away from the valley but at last the lust of power and ‘kursi’ prevailed upon their conscience. The valley waited. The valley kept quiet but the volcano was destined to erupt someday and the valley became the story of pellets and bullets.

The alienation in the minds of the people in the valley is as deep rooted as the majestic Chinar tree. The people time and again question the legitimacy of Indian rule. The problem does not lie with India only. Pakistan and India both have to play an equal role to solve the conflict, but the problem lies in the genesis of the political leadership of both countries. The self–made ego is unrelenting. Neither India nor Pakistan is ready to give up its territorial ambitions over Kashmir.

The valley has become a story of the gory war crimes committed by the forces. The minds of children as young as two have become preoccupied with the sentiment of ‘freedom’. A few days ago, I was out to buy a few things for my little cousin. When I asked him “What would you like?,” he responded, “Aazadi” (freedom). The writing on the wall is clear for Kashmiris, but India is in denial mode. New Delhi thinks that it can crush sentiments by increasing military presence but when the people have not given up on the sentiment for the last 30 years, how does New Delhi expect them to give it up now?

Nelson Mandela, who was akin to Mahatama Gandhi in some ways, said once, “The oppressor and the oppressed are alike robbed of humanity”. He continued, “Freedom is indivisible and the chains on any of my people are the chains on me.” Thus, the sentiment for freedom is bound to grow. The chains of oppression can limit or strangle that same sentiment.

The use of pellets on protesters is a war crime. The face of fourteen year-old Insha -damaged by pellets- kills ones hopes of peace. The people can’t take it beyond a particular limit. The whole world can talk of peace but when peace is still subject to nationalism and patriotism and media TRP’s (Television Rating Point) in one of the largest democracies in the world, one can only dream of what follows.

Source : Muslim Matters