Not only Geelani, nearly all the people in the valley are nursing strong apprehensions on the way the Yatra has got politicized ever since creation of Shrine Board and subsequent exponential increase in the number of Yatrees in disregard of environmental concerns. Every act of Delhi in this high voltage case has prompted people to smell a foul. The bullying and macho-posturing of SASB has its patting and support from Delhi. The Sanghrash Samathi’s blockade of valley, commanding the support of Hindus from Jammu, Indian political groups across the ideological spectrum, and the rulers in Delhi on Kashmiris’ raising genuine protest against transferring forest land to SASB reinforced the fears that Majority Character of the state is not digestible to India and Indians.
Through dubious means it tries to change the demographic position of the state. 2008 mass uprising against India fueled out of these fears. Geelani is not alone in nursing the fears that ‘India is using the Yatra as a tool in strengthening its control over J&K…’ For Sangh Parivar and its intellectual brigade the “only remedy” for Kashmir problem is diluting majority character of the state by drowning the valley in the avalanche of outside state Hindus. That tsunami raised, the Parivar thinks, would clinch the issue of accession. The erosion in the Article 370 despite the constitutional dykes guaranteeing internal autonomy of the state exposes the malicious intent of rulers in Delhi. In a subtle manner Delhi is pursuing RSS agenda.
We are not alarmed by the ‘excessive show of religiosity’ if the spirit behind is pure religious. Yatra, in its present setup, however, is politically motivated notwithstanding the pious intention of the majority of pilgrims. The spillover on roads during Jummah prayers or milling crowds near sufi dargahs are not threats to the environment nor have any political motive. That holds true for pilgrimage to other venerated place by Hindus and others. Kashmiri Pandiths are coming in large number for Tul Mulla pilgrimage. None is scared as there are no motives other than submission to their Lord.
‘Influx of petro-dollars for promoting political Islam’. You are trespassing in a territory you lack knowledge of. When Muslims can raise their houses, why can’t they contribute in building masjids. ‘Political Islam’, why are you scared of? You repose faith on free will of people. You flaunt democracy on your sleeves “political Islam” does not come from back door. It comes through people’s verdict. Arab Spring, you know. Did it spring from any dollar or riyal? We believe Islam is a comprehensive code of conduct. Spare time to read it then deliver the judgment.
For a microscopic fringe Hajj can be a ‘fashion’ nor ‘political’ statement but for an overwhelming majority it is circumambulating Allah’s Home to rinse their soul and an irrevocable religious obligation. You can not puncture hearts to major sincerity and purity. And see, even this pilgrimage to Mecca does not go unchecked You must be knowing that lots are drawn to restrict the flow of pilgrims. Every where an d every year from country’s Hajis are filling the forms from. Why can’t same procedure be applied to restrict the flow of Yatris to the holy cave?
It is Delhi which directs and manages Yatra and thus cannot get away from the blame it has to share in communalizing Yatra agenda of SASB. SASB is headed by Governor and his principal secretary is its CEO. This simply means that government of India is clearly in charge of organizing the Yatra. And it is SASB which has been pushing for large number of Yatris and defying state government time and again. Just look at this highhandedness. While the two district administrations of Anantnag and Ganderbal are kept at the disposal of SASB for a good four months, every affair from helicopter service to pony fare is controlled by the body. Traditional route to cave for over a century has been Pahalgam route. SASB did not remain confined to it. To fulfill its nefarious agenda it opened the Baltal road as well. And mind it Lord Shiva has taken the Pahalgam route and not the Baltal route when he entered the cave with Parvati.