I briefly recall my meeting with a Kashmiri in Delhi Metro about 5 years back. He openly expressed his repugnance about the Indian army. His parting words were “remember those may be your terrorists but for us they are our freedom fighters”. Being a complete novice in Kashmir affairs, I couldn’t come up with a suitable retort then.
5 years later nothing much has changed. There are Kashmiris alienated from the mainstream of India, there are mainlanders hating these bunch of thankless rogues, there are army men patrolling day and night, there are terrorists lurking in the lanes of Srinagar and there are separatists spewing venom and waving Pakistan flags amongst huge congregations of naïve Kashmiris.
A couple of days back Hard-line Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani made it to the news headlines by bowing to the Government’s diktat of “Follow the rules and go wherever you wish to”. But he snapped back by saying “I am not an Indian by birth. It’s a compulsion that we have to travel with an Indian passport”. A slap in the face. Not very long back, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, a separatist leader remarked “If two boxes, India and Pakistan, are placed in front of me, I will vote for Pakistan”. Another slap. In April this year, Separatist leader Masrat Alam openly indulged in waving of Pakistani flags and chanting of anti-India slogans. A full blown punch. The likes of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik keep hitting us from time to time.
Kashmiri Separatists have been nourished and fostered by the Indian government since 1947. But like true parasites they have continued to harm us. The Kashmiri Separatists have been sponsored and funded by common taxpayer’s money. And not just India, some separatists even claim to be on Pakistan’s payrolls. Last year, Hurriyat leader Bilal Lone made a shocking exposé that many separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have been on Pakistan’s Payrolls.
But regardless of all this, we keep funding these treacherous parasites. Here are some startling revelations about J&K Government’s (Omar Abdullah’s) expenses on Kashmiri Separatists in 5 years.
Salaries for guards to protect the Kashmiri Separatist leaders: Rs 309 crores
Salaries for Private Security Guards: Rs. 150 Crores
Hotel Bills: Rs. 21 Crores
Fuel Expenses: Rs. 26.43 Crores
That makes it a whopping 506.43 Crores.
(Source: The New Indian Express)
The formation of a coalition government between the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began with a lot of expectations, peace in the valley being their top priority. They were expected to change the political scenario in the state of Jammu and Kashmir but barring the exception of cancellation of talks with Pakistan as Pakistan indulged in talks with Hurriyat leaders, till now nothing concrete seems visible on the grounds. The anti-India sentiment is at its peak, Army men are being besieged and the separatist leaders are refusing to bow down to the pressure. The Common Minimum Programme chalked out by the PDP and the BJP contained a clause for open dialogue with the separatist leaders which forced the rats to come out of their holes. The clause was supposed to be a carefully laid trap for the anti-establishment anarchists. A denial meant reluctance to accept a logical conclusion and acceptance meant coming close to the establishment which has never been the modus operandi of the separatists. This was supposed to cause a great deal of frustration amongst the rank and file of the Kashmiri separatist movement. But all on papers till now.
There is a section amongst the Indian intelligentsia which romanticizes with the Kashmiri separatists and insurgents. Film directors like Vishal Bhardwaj, Self-styled freethinkers like Arundhati Roy and eminent lawyers like Prashant Bhushan, from time to time, have expressed their solidarity and even sympathy with the Kashmiri separatists and insurgents. Leftists and liberals of India have been spotted protesting against the so called atrocities of Indian Army in Kashmir. This indulgence, this understanding and this soft spot that we have in us for the Kashmiri Separatist Movement has been capitalized by the separatist leaders who live on our money and speak against our interests.
The opening overs of the BJP-PDP innings in Jammu and Kashmir has been dominated by the PDP. Their soft stand on Kashmiri Separatists is causing the rest of us a great deal of harm. The Separatist snakes have started to wriggle freely again. Their initial fears of getting caned and tossed aside remain subsided now. The onus lies on BJP’s heads, they must switch to a more aggressive role. Their partners in power need to be tamed.
Also, I wish, I get a chance to speak to that Kashmiri man in metro again. I feel like telling him, that there is a reason why the Kashmiri insurgents can never be called freedom fighters because freedom fighters do not fuel their movement with the blood of hapless citizens and by swearing allegiance to other countries. A freedom fighter fights to be free while the Kashmiri Insurgents are fighting to become slaves of another country.