Is this the way to win over the hearts and minds of alienated Kashmiris?

Barbaric and biased

The manner in which the JKLF chief Yasin Malik and several other Kashmiris including families of disappeared persons and human rights activists were prevented from holding peaceful dharna at Janar Mantar in the national capital last Friday to press for the return of the mortal remains of Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru, buried in Tihar jail, to their native places, and justice for the families of disappeared persons betrays a mindset which not only looks at every Kashmiri with suspicion but also does not treat them as Indian citizens. Malik had announced his plan to hold protest dharna at Jantar Mantar, a venue where all other citizens are allowed to freely hold rallies and protest demonstrations without any hinderance. Not only he and other Kashmiri protestors were not allowed to proceed to Jantar Mantar for protest but even Yasin and some of his colleagues were arrested on Thursday night, mercilessly beaten by Delhi police, which is direct under the control of Union home ministry, arrested and then deported to Srinagar early next morning. Yasin was injured seriously in the police action suffering cervical fracture. The Delhi cops, notorious for their ruthlessness, allegedly punched and kicked Yasin and his other colleagues, besides tearing their clothes. They also snatched their cell phones. The action by Delhi police, obviously on the direction from their political bosses, was not only barbaric but also biased. While other Indian citizens are freely allowed to hold massive rallies and demonstrations at Jantar Mantar, in some cases even resorting to violence, it was only the protestors from Kashmir who were treated in this manner.

Delhi police’s claim that this was done to protect the JKLF leaders from hoodlums from the Hiundutva Brigade and Panun Kashmir, is both ridiculous and ludicrous. Instead of rounding up those threatening Yasin and other protestors the police swooped on the JKLF chief and others who were planning to hold only peaceful protest. The JKLF leader, who had abandoned gun as early as in 1994 and has been carrying on peaceful and non-violent struggle, was not the one who was disturbing peace and harmony but it were those who on every such occasion resort to violence to prevent Kashmiris from articulating their feelings and demands peacefully. The biased manner in which Delhi cops acted is evident from the fact that instead of dealing with those who were planning to violently disrupt the peaceful protest dharna by Kashmiris and human right activists they not only arrested JKLF chief and others but also behaved with them in most uncivilized manner. Omar Abdullah-led government in Jammu and Kashmir followed the diktats of its Delhi masters by detaining Malik and others in Kothibagh police station.

New Delhi repeatedly claims Jammu and Kashmir to be an integral part of India. Then why the Kashmiris are not being allowed to enjoy the rights bestowed by the Constitution on the citizens of India ? They are denied their democratic rights in their own state and treated in most biased and uncivilized manner in other parts of India. They are not allowed to hold peaceful meetings and rallies in the national capital and other cities of the country. The hoodlums of the Hindutva brigade are allowed to disrupt their rallies and even rough them up. They are treated in a biased manner, beaten, arrested and then deported back to Kashmir as if they are aliens. Even the Indian media which goes wild in case the police uses mild lathicharge to disperse the rallies in the capital and other Indian cities maintains criminal silence when the Kashmiris are harassed, beaten and even killed. The Kashmiris face all kinds of humiliations and harassment even in different cities of the country. They are looked with suspicion and are not trusted. They are even denied rented accommodation and educational facilities in different parts of the country. They find it difficult even to secure Indian passports. They have been denied fundamental rights with draconian laws enforced to silence their voice and suppress their political urges and aspirations. Is this the way to win over the hearts and minds of the estranged people of Kashmir?