In that context how is India dealing with Kashmir? India has put all its apples in Kashmir—for Kashmir represents India’s secularity. The Indian policymakers have created a myth that the break up of Kashmir will end not only India’s plurality and secularity but will also raise secession tendencies among other people. It means that its politicians and policymakers still carry the legacy of colonial times when British used to say that India is not a one nation.
David Lyon, Stephen Tanner and Jason Burke have written books on Afghanistan and Islamists fighters. In their books they are uniform that radicalisation for global jihad started in Kashmir. Even Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark in their investigative book on kidnapping of 5 foreign tourists in Kashmir struck with this line. It is stunning revelation that a place known as paradise in India is fuelling radicalisation for global jihad. Before 90s Kashmir was a place which had more shrines than Masjids.
The world’s longest conflict in Kashmir is becoming expensive for India. The secessionist struggle in Kashmir has not exhausted. But the voices in India have started to rise against its own country’s treatment to Kas¬¬hmiris. For a decade Pakistan’s more than involvement in Afghanistan meant that India can utilise the time to consolidate its position in Kashmir and workout a solution. It didn’t happen. In its hubris India thought that Kashmir struggle will exhaust and die its natural death. It has not happened. For ten years India had choices in Kashmir to implement.
Choices meant taking hard decisions and owing responsibility for them. But they got shallow and believed Kashmir is firmly under their grip. But the insurgency in Kashmir has grown in the course. The pro freedom groups in Kashmir kept India pinned down and didn’t let it to consolidate or gain upper hand. Kashmir’s pro Independence struggle is not only sustainable but comes at an acceptable cost. The resistance in Kashmir is becoming industrial. As a perceptive political commentator, Dr Sheikh ShowkatHussain, put it that in 60s and 70s stone pelting and curfew was privilege of downtown only but at this time it is being experienced everywhere from Zojila to Pirpanchal and he derisively called it Sadhbhavanisation.
For those who are thinking for the betterment of India they must seek early negotiations so as to settle Kashmir otherwise it will spill over to other parts of India. Remember Kashmir is the place where from Buddhism and Islam spread to other parts of Indian sub continent. India, therefore, must introspect that Kashmir is not a tiny place inhabited by 12 million people. They should look that Kashmir is fasting gaining attention of Muslim belt that is on its back. And now the youth of Kashmir are also asserting their pan Islamism. Recently Kashmir University students protested against the hanging of Afzal Guru holding banners which read and I quote it: “Do not look at the stones in our hands look at the nukes of Pakistan.” The fear that Taliban will come to Kashmir is a phobia than anything else. The oppression that Kashmir is going through is already giving rise to indigenous Talibs. Because you have given them no hope. You have pushed them to extreme end. You may have to face the same violence after all you have told them that you don’t listen unless you have power. And violence is a form of power also.
Indian policy makers must introspect and ask: where is India with Kashmir being its part and where would it have been without Kashmir. Why does India become finicky on Kashmir? Why is Kashmir used as blackmailing or to doll out concessions from India?
Inam ul Rehman is a failed journalist