Violence no answer to squeezing of political space

By Hassan Zainagairi
            ‘Our youth are very sensitive and if this oppression continues they will think on different lines (to express their sentiments). In fact they are thinking of other options ….. the youth are coming to us and expressing their concern on the present situation’,  Syed Ali Geelani told reporters on 18 June, 2012 at his Hyderpora residence Srinagar . When asked if by other options he meant the youth picking up guns like 1990s, the veteran leader replied in affirmative, yes, it was ‘very obvious’.
            Every word the octogenarian leader mouths holds significance. His political profile makes him an ineluctable political entity in the political landscape of Kashmir that no one can ignore. Praised or despised, he make his presence felt. Across political or ideological persuasions the gravitas of his stature invites us all he has good number of followers, especially the youth, who are bewitched to him and fall under his sway. He commands allegiance in his strong constituency. His advice of restraint calms the nerves of the youth while an urge or appeal from him wins him honor and domineering position across political spectrum.
            The lines quoted above show Geelani concerned about the restlessness of the young blood of Kashmir and their losing patience. He waxed no eloquence in stating that in this ‘graveyard silence’ youth feel ‘suffocated’ and are ‘thinking of other options’ i.e. picking up gun.
            The statement looked in between the lines, indicates that the Geelani himself is losing patience. A leader of Geelani’s’ status knows that erecting barriers of patience against tempests of provocations under the grave occasions is all but necessary. An obtuse reference or gesture of silence is fraught with dangerous potential of implying approval.
            One does not know why the veteran leader at this time not forbid the youth against choosing the path of violence. Earlier on many occasions he exhibited wisdom and courage to anchor the emotionally charged youth – disappointed by ruling dispensation’s undemocratic means of chocking dissent – to constituency of peace.
            In a press conference Geelani on January 10, 2011 told reporters that India was ’frustrated’ by the non-violent movement in Kashmir and accused Delhi of trying hard to push the youth towards violence for paving the way to suppress the struggle through its military might…. ‘the youth are disgruntled by the oppressive measures against them to suppress their aspirations. Many of them complained to me….that they have no option but to take up guns…..However, I categorically told them to have patience and desist from taking any violent recourse’, Huryat leader said. Anticipating of an
‘evil design’, Geelani warned: ‘I want to maintain that Delhi has prepared a sketch and wants the Kashmiris to fill the colors in it. By using oppressive measures to crush our peaceful agitation, Delhi wants to push Kashmiris towards violence with sole aim of crushing our movement militarily and hoodwinking international community. I urge the youth to foil the evil design and carry the movement forward peacefully’. (GK, January 11, 2011.
            In a seminar on ‘Dogra certificate’ organized by his party at his residence Geelani nullifying the use of gun to achieve the goal said ‘Armed struggle is not in our favor as we lack arms and supply lines. We don’t have any powerful country at our back. That leaves only a peaceful struggle for us to concentrate on’. ( Kashmir Uzma: 19 April 2011).
            Even when stone pelting was at its “zenith” in 2010 he showed the courage to ask the people to refrain from stone throwing. He said that stone pelting had done no benefit to the freedom movement. And remember the response of the youth; where the oppressive measures of the government failed, Geelani’s call demonstrated his hold on the youth of Kashmir .
            It is time to control the emotions and forewarn the youth about the implications of re-inventing the dangerous course from which we are wriggling out badly and some forces strive hard to push us in again. ‘Our patience’, Edmund Burk aptly remarks, ‘will achieve more than our force’. What gun has done has done. Gagging of political voice and squeezing of democratic means should not frustrate our leaders and youth to push us to nineties. That is unwarranted and counter-productive, rather suicidal bravado