Intimacy or Ineptitude

Arshid Malik

In a statement released to the press a few days ago, Hurriyat Conference (G) Supremo, Syed Ali Shah Geelani has alleged that the ‘rigid approach of India, its arrogance of power and the excesses of the government forces on common people,’ is forcing the youth of the Valley to drop out of colleges and universities and join militant ranks. This is one of the most confusing statements to have come from Geelani, the standing stalwart of “Kashmiri Freedom Struggle Movement”. When Geelani says that it is India’s aggression divested through the state police force and other agencies on the youth of Kashmir that drives them to take up arms, is he annihilating the point that some of the youth of Kashmir may actually be interested or may have been ideologically brought up to “fight” India, in other words to “join militant ranks”. Isn’t the Hurriyat Supremo impounding the very ideals of the existence of the very conglomerate that he heads? Has he forgotten that he is a protagonist of the very movement of “fighting” India – “the aggressor” – tooth and nail and this narrative has been the main firmament of his emotionally provocative speeches?

The truth remains that no matter what the people of Kashmir, which is generally Kashmiri Muslims, do or chose to do with their lives, they are intrinsically woven into the patterns of conflict that has been raging red for the past two and half decades now. No matter how much the people of Kashmir try to distance themselves from the cycle of violence, they are caught up in the leverage mechanisms of the conflict.

Kashmir, by all means, is a conflict enterprise and there are viable parties to this enterprise. And these parties will keep the “flame” burning as long as they are earning profits over the fuelling mechanisms. In this very context, the way Kashmiri Muslims see India as the “aggressor”, India too has the right to view the Kashmiri Muslim population as “assailants” and the way we are walking the war-path against the “oppressor”, the “oppressor” will continue to treat us as its enemy – well, at least those who are directly involved in acts of violence against the Indian nation state. There is no point in deliberating upon other-hand theories here, since we as Kashmiri Muslims, represented by our separatist leadership, “hate” India and as per the insistent speeches of the multitude of clerics and separatist leaders in Kashmir want to “drive India out of Kashmir”, we are the “culprits” which India is always willing to take to task. Thus the unleashed aggression.

Now, we as a people have mainly “entrusted” the task of attending to the “chapter of freedom from India” to our separatist leadership – our mouthpieces and spokespersons – and we have been willingly or sometimes unwillingly following their directives to pay obeisance to the clause of “freedom from India” by way of shutting down our towns and cities every now and then and sometimes coming out in full-body armour to fight Indian para-military forces. The latter being applicable if we happen to take the speeches of our separatist leaders too seriously – which we ought to – or else feel dejected in the entirety of the long struggle of obtaining freedom from India and our subsequent “failure” till date to attain that very part while having lost generations as fodder to the canons of hate. By way of the above, we may attain that we are led into the spiral of armed violence against India by way of our own convictions and assumptions or else the duress of the weight of the instigating speeches that our pro-freedom leaders stately make for us every now and then.

Considering the whole set of arguments, when Geelani states that it is “India’s aggressive policies and police brutalities that lead young men to the path of violence, isn’t our leader contradicting himself as a bad publicist of his own party and self. Is it Kashmiri Muslim youth’s assumed intimacy to the ideology of Geelani or the “ineptitude” at handling Kashmir of the government of India that is fuelling the fire.

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