Remove the iron curtain

Let the people of India know the real state of affairs in Kashmir For how long the people of the country will be kept in dark about the agonizing situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the nightmarish experience through which the hapless people have passed and their present predicament with denial of democratic rights and unending chain of human rights abuses? A kind of iron curtain hangs between the troubled state and the rest of the country which, in turn has contributed to the further alienation of the people from India.

The rulers in New Delhi and in the State have been following a policy of hide and deny as far as the sufferings of the people and the atrocities committed on them are concerned. That policy has proved counter -productive in the past and its result cannot be different now. It has only raised and strengthened a wall of suspicion and mistrust between the people in the State and rest of India. That policy unfortunately continues till date with the Indian public opinion fed with lies and disinformation as far as the happening in the State are concerned and a sense of anger and frustration that prevails, particularly among the youth of the troubled Valley. While the role and actions of the leaders and followers of pernicious Hindutva ideology and their thought police in suppressing the facts about Kashmir can be understandable what is baffling is the manner in which the Indian state has invariably played into their hands. By and large the Indian media has acted as a force multiplier in concealing the facts about Jammu and Kashmir and the feelings and aspirations of the people of Kashmir.

The manner in which some conscientious Indian citizens, intellectuals, creative writers and artists and human rights activists have been prevented from voicing the pain and anger of the people of the state and the situation that prevails here by the reactionaries and fundamentalists in the country and even the ruling establishment at the Centre and the states exposes the height of insensitivity to the sufferings of the people and atrocities committed on them. The recent events have shown that unmindful of the consequences of drawing an iron curtain between Kashmir and rest of India these elements are hell-bent to conceal the real picture of Kashmir from the people of the country.

First it was the cancellation of the scheduled screening of Sanjay Kak’s film “Jashn-e-Azadi”, depicting the agony, pain, sufferings and aspirations of the people of Kashmir, during the UGC-aided Kashmir seminar in Symbiosis College at Pune followed by the very cancellation of the seminar due to the protest by the Hindutva thought police, with the state authorities following their diktats. Now it is another film “Harud” (Autumn) directed by Aamir Bashir which has faced the objections from the Film Censor Board. The film has already been hailed as very realistic and objective depiction of the Kashmir situation at Toronto film festival. Earlier despite the denial of censorship certificate to Sanjay Kak’s film another internationally acclaimed documentary Inshallah Kashmir by Ashwani Kumar too met the same fate.
It is this policy of suppressing the facts and keeping the public opinion in India in the dark or misleading them about the denial of democratic rights and suppression in Kashmir, which, along with the wrongs committed by the ruling establishments at the Centre and in the State has resulted in the alienation of the vast majority of the people of the State from India.

The process of lying, denying and concealing began soon after the State’s accession to India which had the backing of the National Conference, largest political party of the State headed by none other than Sheikh Abdullah. The denial of democratic rights to the people of the State, rigging of election after election and imposing of puppet regimes on the people, the atrocities and wrongs committed by them along with the Indian state’s failure to honour their commitments to the people and their other acts of omission and commission were responsible for the turmoil in Kashmir. The Indian public opinion was kept in dark about these happenings by spreading lies or concealing the real state of affairs and the popular feelings in the troubled state, thus fortifying the walls of suspicion and mistrust between Kashmir and rest of the country. This iron curtain over Kashmir needs to be removed to enable people in the country know and understand the feelings and sufferings of the people of the state.