Photos in the newspapers showing Hurriyat leaders refusing to talk to leaders of the parliamentary opposition parties including CPI & CPM, have served the cause of the Indian Govt. to portray the Kashmir leaders as rigid and unreasonable. Sitaram Yechury of CPM and D. Raja of CPI are all over the print media standing outside the residence of Hurriyat leader S. A. Geelani. This portrayal is meant to cover the fact that leaders of the parliamentary opposition parties had chosen to be part of the delegation led by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh whose ministry and Govt. is unleashing severe repression on the people of Kashmir including use of pellet guns which have blinded over a hundred. Nearly 70 Kashmiris, mostly youth, have been killed by the Govt. security forces in the recent crackdown. Prior to trying to meet the Hurriyat leaders, the parliamentary opposition parties had not even insisted that the Hurriyat leaders be released from detention. They were seen to be keen on talking down to Kashmir leaders in Govt. custody and the Hurriyat leaders refused to be treated in this way.
By participating in the delegation led by the Union Home Minister, the parliamentary opposition parties have sent a signal that they broadly endorse the route of repression taken by the Govt. in tackling the present upsurge in people’s protests after killing of Burhan Wani. These leaders were seen to be keen to project all ruling class parties’ consensus in relation to Jammu & Kashmir. If this was not the intention of the parliamentary opposition parties including the ‘Left’ parties, they should have refused to be part of this delegation led by the Union Home Minister and instead sought to go to Kashmir as opposition parties’ delegation. By not doing so they have reinforced the perception in the Valley that all ruling class parties in India are united in denying democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir.
It is not accidental that the visit of this all parliamentary parties’ delegation was announced along with the announcement of the Govt. sending the BSF to Kashmir Valley. Leaders of ‘Left’ parties and also of other parliamentary opposition parties had not protested this simultaneous announcement which showed up their visit as a carrot to the stick being reinforced by the Govt. No wonder Hurriyat leaders dubbed this visit as one of the ‘deceitful methods of crisis management.’
BJP led Central Govt. is trying to crush the protests by the brute force of the security forces and is unleashing a communal-jingoist propaganda against people of Kashmir and also against those who support the democratic aspirations of the people of J&K, portraying this support as ‘seditious’. BJP Govt. has repeatedly refused to talk to Pakistan on Kashmir issue stating that the only issue to be talked with Pakistan is the issue of terrorism. BJP Govt. is blatantly denying that any dispute exists in relation to Kashmir. With their position there is no question of even any confidence building measures what to talk of addressing the democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir.
CPI & CPM have taken no separate stand on the core issue of democratic aspirations i.e. the right to self determination; not even making an issue of vacating all the Govt. repression in the Valley. They are one with the other ruling class parties that the democratic aspirations of people of J&K have to be addressed within the framework of the Indian Constitution. Mr. Sitaram Yechury had termed Pakistan as ‘vultures’ in his speech in the parliament, in line with the type of nationalism paraded by other ruling class parties. This statement incidentally came on the day when the Supreme Court of the country set aside the forcible acquisition of land in Singur by their Govt. for Tatas. With such a stand, ‘left’ parties and other parliamentary opposition parties cannot make any meaningful contribution to resolving the disputes in J&K.
There is no question of business as usual in relation to Kashmir. Even the days of blaming Pakistan for the protests in Kashmir are also over as that neighbouring country is embroiled in her own serious troubles. The sheer number of the people coming out in protests even after two months of curfew should inform everyone that the people of Kashmir wants to be heard and denial is not an option. Youth and old, men and women, boys and girls, all sections of the people are in the struggle and willingly braving severe repression in what is being called as a region with maximum presence of security forces in the world. The current agitation has once again demonstrated and that too forcefully that parties ‘winning’ elections in Kashmir are not representative of the people of Kashmir. What could be more ironical than Mehbooba Mufti appealing to S.A.Geelani to be allowed to rule!
Indian ruling class parties should come out of their make believe world and see the reality of the situation in J&K. No amount of blood letting can solve this problem but the discussions should be meaningful. They should admit the nature of the problem and start discussions with leaders of the people of J&K as well as Pakistan to address the democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir. And for them to be meaningful, first the very problem should be correctly defined and the signal should be unequivocally given that the Govt. is not indulging in window dressing only to dissipate the anger of the people, but is willing to discuss the core issues and respect the democratic aspirations of the people. Anything short of that would only perpetuate the status quo of bloody repression and growing alienation. This may give the ruling class parties ammunition to unleash jingoism and make even more stringent repressive laws and strengthen repressive machinery which will as always also be used against the people’s struggles across the country. Struggling people have a stake in the peaceful and democratic resolution of this problem and respect to democratic rights and democratic aspirations. This unites the struggling people all over India with struggling people of Kashmir.
New Democracy News Service
September 5, 2016