Is democracy compatible with dissent-chocking parallel regime of AFSPA, PSA, DDA? What point is there in jamming the auricles and ventricles of articulating blooming youth who want to express themselves but cannot. While social media has, to a larger extent, offered itself as an effective tool to state-controlled print and electronic media (including private channels, that too are obsessed with partition agenda and favor imperialist forces), here in Kashmir many a net-savvy youth were netted in for their crime of expressing their opinion on issues that matter to them.
Officially various law enforcing agencies, military and police bosses have time and again admitted that militancy has since long ceased to be kicking and infiltration and ex-filtration is drastically low. A hundred or two militants, the officials swagger in triumph, are ‘cooperating’ in both regions, Kashmir and Jammu, in the state. Still the bunker raj continues unabated. Reduction in and withdrawal of troops, a demand even vigorously made by the Hindustan nawaz political groups, coalition partner NC included, has never crossed tunnel and iron curtains are not allowing even the DNA tests to verify the whereabouts of thousands of disappeared persons that are buried in hundreds of unmarked graves.
This is a glaring example to show that state government despite in its democratic exterior is still in anti-militancy mould when it claims to respect freedom of expression.
If you claim you run a democratic government, the claim has to be proved on the ground in dealing with your political opponents.
Resorting to rampant use of coercive methods like slapping of the dreaded PSA on teenagers, random arrests, prolonged detentions and political vendetta are not genuine methods to contain protests. These are tools totalitarian regimes apply to maintain “graveyard peace”. What sate calls violence is fermented by state itself. Soldier, soldier….. everywhere. And then a mere cry Ham Kya Chahtai, your security bandobast goes jittery. It is here, Oxygen for mass movement is supplied and what you call “separatist” constituency cashes in on public support and goes on moral high. More you make investment of forced acquiescence, more you loose the trust and credibility, and provide opportunity for others to grab it and take a full advantage of it. Whatever yours stand, whatever your policy regarding Kashmir, its analytical laboratory lies here in Kashmir, not in Delhi. If your ‘representative character’ is home-grown, flaunt it openly and with a challenge. Packing jails with your political dissidents and use of draconian laws to silence people is anathema to the claim. And counter productive. The gods at Delhi might smile on Indian puppets but that smile would extract much price from them.
Addressing a gathering at Ladoora, Rafiabad on 2nd February 2010, the youngest Chief Minster of the state, underlining the importance of resolution of Kashmir dispute, said, ‘Kashmiri youth did not pick up the gun for roads and electricity. They wanted meaningful and acceptable resolution of Kashmir’. Absolutely true. But sounds ludicrous when the statement is read and weighed in the context of imprisonment of prominent leaders and political activists of Hurayat. All such resistance leaders are but labeled ‘separatists’ by Delhi and, using you as a convenient tool. Why? Is it because resistance leaders strike a chord with pro-Aazadi sentiments of people and are at polar distance from Delhi? It then implies they are sinned for having faith in peoples verdict. Urging Delhi to start talks with ‘separatist’ leadership and simultaneously focusing on the PSA and harsh policing as the only recourse available for the regime to leash them in control is classic form of double-speak and political dishonesty. No joke could have as attractive customers as this one can beget.
Democracy is battle of ideas and demands level playing field. Otherwise it would be a one-sided contest. Let Omar flourish flourishing democracy. For this he has to perform two important talks (a) cease to create culture of fear and make forces accountable (b) release political prisoners. Let him heed Samuel Johnson: ‘every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is a test’.