What Mirwaiz told Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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What Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farook told spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar during their recent meeting makes an interesting case study in how subjectivity and addressing a problem in parts can distort reality. To understand this there is a need to neutrally scrutinise what the Mirwaiz told the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and to facilitate this, given below is a brief summary of what the Mirwaiz had said:
The silence of the Indian civil society (ICS) regarding the atrocities being committed on Kashmiris was unfortunate.
The situation in J&K was worrisome as the government was trying to implement plans that were anti-Kashmir and against the collective wishes of the people.
Peaceful activities of the ‘resistance leadership’ were being curbed as a matter of routine by arrests and restrictions on the move of the leaders.
Suppression of the voice of ‘resistance leadership’ was aimed at intimidating the people and altering the demography of J&K.
Being an integral part of Kashmiri society, Kashmiri Pandits (KP) were welcome to return but vested interests were politicising this issue by creating the false impression that the KP were not safe amongst Kashmiri Muslims.

Atrocities on Kashmiris and silence of Indian Civil Society
This allegation is indeed a very serious one as it presupposes that Kashmiris are systematically being subjected to atrocities as part of some clandestine state sponsored plan. It also insinuates that the Indian Civil Society  is complicit in this ghastly pogrom as it has chosen to keep quiet on this dastardly crime. This viewpoint may find takers in Kashmir as well as Pakistan but to expect the Indian Civil Society to see what is happening in Kashmir through the narrow prism of the Mirwaiz’s viewpoint is actually insulting their perceptive abilities. The Mirwaiz has probably forgotten that the Indian Civil Society has been at the forefront in raising their voice against any excesses committed by the state against innocents, irrespective of where it occurs. 
Talking of atrocities, the Mirwaiz too requires giving some explanation and clarifying his position on this issue. Does he consider the recent cold blooded murder of unarmed Kashmiri policemen on traffic regulating duties by Hizbul Mujahideen militants a righteous act or an atrocity? If the Mirwaiz approves the murder of Kashmiris by Kashmiri militants, he needs to explain why? If he does consider these killings as atrocities then why hasn’t he spoken out and condemned these reprehensible acts?  Now if the Indian Civil Society was in turn to reply and say that it is unfortunate that the Mirwaiz is maintaining silence on the atrocities being committed on Kashmiris by militants, then would they be wrong? 

Implementation of anti-Kashmir and anti Kashmiri plans by government
There is no evidence to prove that the government is planning to implement any plans in Kashmir that are anti Kashmir or anti people. What the Mirwaiz is complaining about are mere rumours which the Hurriyat is fanning to discredit the PDP. Besides, he is most certainly aware that no government can implement any major policy decision without approval of the state legislature. Doesn’t the Mirwaiz know that the PDP has no ‘death wish’ and will never commit political hara-kiri by taking decisions that go against the interests of the state and its people? Would somebody be wrong to say that since the Mirwaiz and other separatist leaders don’t have any real issue in hand they are merely tilting at windmills to remain relevant.

Curtailing peaceful activities of the ‘resistance leadership’ by arrests and movement restrictions
The Mirwaiz is right regarding the arrest of separatist leaders and restrictions being imposed on their movement. However he needs to clarify and answer two things. First, what are the “peaceful activities” the “resistance leadership” undertakes? Isn’t it a fact that calling for hartals or planning marches to sensitive spots when the atmosphere is highly charged can turn violent anytime? Secondly, can the Mirwaiz cite example of just one Hurriyat sponsored ‘peaceful activity’ that didn’t turn violent with stone pelting or incidents of attempted arson? So, someone could always make the counter allegation that restrictions on separatists is necessary as they intentionally incite emotionally charged mobs to indulge in violence just to give an impression of mass public discontentment

Suppressing voice of ‘resistance leadership’ to intimidating people and altering demography of J&K.
Because there is no scale to accurately measure the degree of freedom of expression, this can only determined by a comparative study between two similar subsets. In this regards we are lucky as we have before us two parts of Kashmir, one under Indian control and the other in that of Pakistan. Can  Mirwaiz deny the fact that in Indian administered Kashmir (IaK) there is complete freedom to express personal reservations regarding Kashmir’s accession to India? Similarly can he deny that questioning Pakistan’s occupation of PaK by its citizens violates the ‘Azad’ Jamu and Kashmir constitution and is hence prohibited!  Therefore like other separatists who also looks up to Islamabad as the saviours of Kashmiris ,  Mirwaiz needs to be more precise while making this allegation and explain in which manner is the voice of separatists  being suppressed in IaK!
Similarly, Article 370 of the Indian constitution provides special status to IaK which prohibits non state subjects from acquiring landed property in J&K and this provision rules out scope of any demographic changes in IaK. However things are just the opposite as far as PaK is concerned. The government of Pakistan has officially settled such a large number of non Kashmiris there that the demography of PaK has been significantly altered. Mirwaiz needs to explain why he is clamouring about demography alterations in IaK which have not even taken place but is silent regarding the demographic changes the Pakistan government has made in PaK.

Vested interests creating false impression that KP are not safe amongst Kashmiri Muslims. 
This assertion made by the Mirwaiz is misleading. The KP community definitely has serious concerns regarding their safety that need to be addressed. However, the threat they perceive emanates from the militants and not Kashmiri Muslims as the Mirwaiz has claimed.  The KP have all the reason to fear for their  safety after  the United Jihad Council and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) chief Syed Salahudin openly declared that separate colonies for KPs “will not be allowed at any cost.” Recently, in a video posted on social media HM commander Burhan Wani once again warned that separate colonies for KPs “are not acceptable and we (HM) will attack those separate colonies.” Will the Mirwaiz kindly explain why are the separatists and militants who keep welcoming the KPs back are so against separate colonies for this?
What if like the Mirwaiz someone makes an allegation accusing militants and the separatist leadership of intentionally making a conditional home-coming  offer to the KP community? What if someone says that the militants and separatists want to convert Kashmir into a theocratic state and are accordingly ensuring that if KPs return, then being a minority community they have no choice but to live here as second class citizens of Kashmir? These arguments are no doubt incongruous but then the Mirwaiz’s allegations aren’t absolutely reasonable either.

Epilogue
Things are not normal in Kashmir and if one makes an honest attempt to do so then the genesis of the present crisis can be accurately determined. However the separatists deliberately choose not to do so for obvious reasons. So while outlining the difficulties being faced by the people of Kashmir, Mirwaiz has cleverly avoided taking a holistic approach on the subject to identify the root cause. Instead, he has opted for the more convenient way of discussing this issue only in parts and then trying to cobble these bits together to give an impression that this is the whole and complete picture. Unluckily this method doesn’t work and so the case made out by  Mirwaiz remains inherently weak simply because as the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle had noted that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

 

 

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