From Kashmir to Delhi treatment to octogenarians varies
The eyebrows of almost every Kashmiri got raised when the news of heckling of Syed Ali Shah Geelani came on March 26, 2012. It evoked a prompt reactionary response on the social networking websites like facebook and twitter wherein even the chief minister of J&K Mr. Omar Abdullah was no exception to call the attackers as goons.
The octogenarian leader was in Delhi as an invitee to attend a seminar organized by Center for Study of Developing of Societies (CSDS) wherein he was scheduled to interact with the scholars of Delhi University. It is pertinent to mention here that the Hurriat (G) Chairman had been on what could be called as an innovative mission to apprise the Indian civil Society about the Kashmir dispute and its ramifications and the situation thereof. The octogenarian leader had started this new extension to his mission since November, 2011, when he had gone to Delhi on his routine winter stay there.
This time Geelani was an invitee to the seminar wherein he in line with his mission was to apprise the Indian masses about the miseries his people are facing in Kashmir due to unresolved Kashmir dispute. But unfortunately a group of people who belong to the Hinduvta political parties viz Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists joined by members of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena (BSKS) group headed by Tejinder Singh Bhagga had already assembled on the spot to humiliate the octogenarian leader of Kashmir’s freedom struggle and to disrupt the function. And they did what they had planned to do, they raised slogans against the peacefully approaching leader of Kashmir, sung Vande Mahatram , humiliated and heckled him. Thanks to the woman journalist, Madhu Purnima Kishwar who is also a member of Kashmir Committee headed by Ram Jethmalani was seen protecting senior Hurriat leader. Double credit must be given to this woman journalist at least for this specific point, one for that she risked herself by coming to the rescue on the spot, another that she preferred humanity over journalism.
According to media reports this vandalism lasted for some 15 minutes and then the Hurriat (G) Chairman carried on his mission by addressing Indian civil society including some 30 scholars of Delhi University. As per news reports the octogenarian leader told the august audience that kashmiris are not struggling for freedom on the basis of religion but for the fact that it is an international dispute and it was India herself (through the then Indian premier leader and prime ministers Late Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru) had taken Kashmir issue to United Nations Organization and also promised for self determination under plebiscite in UN supervision. On the treatment the invitee leader met there, he responded politely and made there clear that people who lack argument and logic resort to inhuman tactics. Keeping his focus on all issues he talked about the migrated Kashmiri Pandit brethren and said that they are always welcome back home and that Kashmiris never believed in their exile. SAS Geelani though did not go disturbed by the vandalistic activity done by the activists of ABVP and BSKS, instead, continued his task by talking even the environmental issues faced by Kashmiris due to militarization, but every Kashmiri home and abroad irrespective of their political commitment got hurt sentimentally due to this irrational and inhuman treatment given to the tallest figure of Kashmiri leadership.
Political rivalry apart, differences on such levels deserve argument based justification. And in humanity we have protocols for actions that have to be respected even in declared wars. SAS Geelani was on peaceful mission to Delhi and that too on invitation. No conscious man would justify this kind of approach shown by these Hinduvta activists. Indian civil society must make these activists understand that when these people enter Kashmir whether as tourists or Amarnath pilgrims, they everywhere in Kashmir meet the treatment of guests.
Kashmiris offer their shoulders when octogenarian pilgrims come into their way, no doubt they get wages but the wages are too meager as they risk even their own lives in taking these pilgrims to safer passages in untoward calamities. Here it is the duty of Indian intelligentsia to contrast the two kinds of treatments given to octogenarian elders. Geelani has a mission, which he has been continuing despite hurdles but one fails to understand the logic of heckling and humiliating him by people like Tejinder Singh and then childishly tweeting that ‘ they beat Geelani in Delhi ‘ and captioning it as "Operation Geelani Successful". While as these Tejainders and Togadias spread fire by their acts it needs to sooth the environs by breezes of peace and patience till the truth wins on its own.
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