Afternoon Voice

What the Kashmiris exactly want? – Part I

Eminent Indian writer and journalist Kuldip Nayar commenting on the issue of Kashmir wrote, “The Kashmiris protest, more or less peaceful, is Islamic in tone and tenor. But it seems as if it is a way of expression, not the content. The content is that the Kashmiris want a country of their own.”

He further wrote, “……therefore, there should be no doubt about the real desire of Kashmiris. I could see angry faces when I said in my speech that the Muslims in India would have a hard time if the demand for an independent Kashmir was ever acceded. The Hindus would argue that if after 70 years of being part of Indian, the Kashmiri Muslims wanted independence, what is the guarantee about the loyalty of 16 crore [160 million] Muslims in India?

The argument that Indians could not jeopardise its secular system by making Kashmir a separate country, which would be 98 per cent Muslims, was not even entertained at the conference held in 2015. Your Muslims are your problems; was more or less the counter-argument.”

Following the sudden attack at a police station in Punjab during July 2015, India’s spy agency – Research and Analysis Wing [RAW] forecasted a possible re-emergence of Khalistan movement in Punjab, where Sikhs had had earlier fought in demand of Khalistan [Holy Land] – a country of the Sikhs. More than 98 per cent of the population in Punjab are Sikhs [90 million as of 2015], while Hindu population was just one million with ten million Muslims.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh following the attack on the police station in Gurdaspur, Punjab said, “Hindu terrorism coined by its previous UPA [United Progressive Alliance] government had weakened the fight against scourge by diverting the direction of the probe into the incidents of terrorism.”

As soon as the Home Minister from Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] conceded his statement in the Parliament [Lok Sabha], members of Indian National Congress [INC] stormed the well and it was a scene of protests and disruptions in the House. This prompted Rajnath Singh to attack the Indian National Congress party saying, “Terrorism is the biggest challenge facing the country. Neither Parliament nor the country should appear divided on this… on the one hand, our jawans [soldiers] are making the supreme sacrifice while fighting against terror; on the other side, we have this noise and disruption. How can the country accept this?”

As the protest intensified, he hit back, “In this House in 2013, the then home minister [P Chidambaram] had coined the new terminology – Hindu Terrorism – in order to change the direction of the probe. It weakened our fight. As a consequence, Hafiz Sayeed [founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba] of Pakistan had congratulated the then home minister. Our government will never allow such a shameful situation again.”

On such chaotic situation amongst the political parties in India, Kuldip Nayar wrote, “Parties have reduced politics to the religion. People should assert themselves through liberal organisations or leaders and ensure that the poison of religion and caste dies not spread. If the nation fails, Kashmir and many other parts of India may flounder in the muddy waters of religion. The country is on trial.”

BJP came into power through a landslide victory in 2014, mainly by banking on the image of Narendra Modi [the former chief minister of Gujrat, an accused of having hands behind anti-Muslim massacre]. Modi though left an impression to the Indian voters that his party had chosen the path of secularism instead of upholding radical Hindu doctrine – Hindutva. But only within months of this landslide victory, BJP and its partner RSS had begun the ‘holy mission’ of forcefully getting Muslims and Christians into Hindu religion under the banner of ‘Ghar Waps’ [returning home] policy. The Indian Home Minister and some of his extremist or radical Hindu political associates enforced a ban on cow slaughter as beef is forbidden meat to the Hindus. When in Bangladesh, a country of Muslim majority, had never been any word (not to speak of a toughen action like ban) on forcing, slaughter and sale of pigs meat [pork] – don’t it seem very strange for India, which boasts of being a secular nation of imposing ban on cow slaughter and beef, though it is one of the meet items consumed by Muslims, Christians and Jews?

Rajnath Singh’s radical Hinduist mindset and his mock-secular mask were clearly proved when he wasn’t satisfied by banning beef in his own country but openly pronounced of doing everything possible compelling people in Bangladesh in ‘giving up beef from their dish’. Such actions definitely do not fit on the shoes of secularism that India has been proclaiming to be not only upholding, but championing.

(The latter part will continue on Sunday)

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)