Indian Republic Day and Kashmir
KR analytical report
As India is celebrating the country’s date with democracy (Republic Day) today, Kashmir is reeling under a curfew-like protest strike with huge domination of security forces around. The valley has virtually turned into a security citadel with gun-wielding khakis manning the isolated streets and marketplaces.
The Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium where the main official function is being held has been declared out of bounds for civilians.
A selected class of people (read government employees) with official permit cards only is allowed to witness the function. Permits cards have been issued only after proper police verification.
The authorities have denied permission even to some media persons as well which has infuriated the journalist community. A section of them (photojournalists), in return, has boycotted the function.
Internet service has been withdrawn for the day all across the valley.
This speaks of the distance and disconnect between New Delhi and Srinagar.
New Delhi has always looked for outside reasons to convince itself and the outside world for alienation in Kashmir. For it Kashmir is a problem of “Pakistan-sponsored terrorism”.
But this is not the complete story.
Despite claiming to be world’s largest democracy, People of Jammu and Kashmir know India as an imperialistic power. For a man in the streets, India has never acknowledged the democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
It is in fact the denial of democratic rights that has brought Srinagar in face to face with New Delhi.
The first breach of democratic rights was betrayed when India refused to grant the internationally accepted right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir notwithstanding the fact that India is a signatory to the resolutions passed by the UN Security Council in this regard in 1948-49.
India then started a process of strengthening its grip on the state by violating the provisions of instrument of Accession and dislodging governments of peoples’ choice and installing her henchmen in power. Rigging and manipulating elections to bring in its lackeys and stooges became the state policy of India.
“Agency politics” took precedence over peoples’ opinions and beliefs.
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the tallest of tall leaders Jammu and Kashmir has ever produced, though being the architect of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession with India, was the first to taste the fruits of India’s imperialistic itch. He was dislodged as Prime Minister of the state in 1953 and brought back as chief minister in 1975. Neither Abdullah nor people of the state ever were told what prompted his dismissal and reappointment.
Dr Farooq Abdullah, the heir apparent of Shiekh Abdullah, too was dislodged as chief minister in 1984 and reinstated in 1986 without any plausible reason or explanation.
In-between, the other prominent faces of India in Kashmir, Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad, G M Sadiq, Syed Mir Qasim and G M Shah all owed their birth and growth to India’s colonial approach.
The latest to fall to the machinations of the central government is Mahbooba Mufti. Her rise and fall is a perfect story of agency politics.
That is how India’s “democratization” in Jammu and Kashmir turned into a war between New Delhi and Srinagar.