Kashmir’s protracted tribulations


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The exemplified resilience and forbearance displayed by people of Kashmir to brave harsh political realities are unparalleled especially when gory death details are daily occurrences. Rampant military curfews are maji dodh (mother’s milk) and no-curfew days for the last 23 years can be counted on finger tips. Under the circumstance, life carries on and people do have to live a compulsive normal life as Kashmir has forgotten what the normal life really means.

Kashmir is again reeling under India’s popular weapon the military curfew and no one knows for how long? This time it is just three dead and scores injured and in the days ahead more will, perhaps, join. (February 10, 2013) Though Kashmir’s youth, due to military curfew, cannot use their stones and bricks; India rushes another 24 companies of paramilitary troops to reinforce one million "contingent" already busy keeping people off the roads and justify occupation.

"The struggle of a 30-year-old Fayaz Aslam Mir for getting a passport reflects the painful story of the hardships that an ordinary Kashmiri has to face in getting the vital document in time. Fayaz, a resident of Solina area of Srinagar, managed to get his passport recently after a long struggle of 10 years but only after his dream of becoming a medico was shattered by absence of the passport. He also couldn't join the prestigious Kiwis fellowship for the same reason. ..." a dejected Fayaz’s future coming to an end in frustration says, "today I am asking myself what I should do with this passport: should I send it back to passport office or burn it". (Kashmir Media Service: October 23, 2012)

The horror stories of a deliberate policy to play havoc with future of Kashmir’s youth by denying travel papers in time using intentional bureaucratic red-tape giving false hopes and promises which are widespread. The implementation of such a policy was enforced vigorously after the takeover of government by BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) in the year 1998. The key posts, clerical staff and intelligence manpower were replaced by hardliners of Hindu orthodox bent of mind world over in Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates.

Kashmiri expatriates holding non-Indian passports invariably go through tormenting phase and in spite of paying huge amounts as "visa handling fee"; to the mushroomed "visa contract business houses" with the blessing of Indian Authorities, have no guarantee of getting a visa issued. A Kashmiri cannot get his visa without paying unnecessary one or two visits to the office of India’s visa issuing authority and it does not matter the distance the visa seeker has to travel, at the cost of person’s engagements, job, business etc. Kashmiris holding Indian passports; having jobs or business all over world experience traumatic situation when it comes to applying for an expired new passport, renewals or any other requirement.

A situation is thus created on purpose to disturb people’s mental equilibrium to create fear psychosis. Stiff neck, scoff-at attitude and asperity shown by Embassy staff and intelligence agencies serves the purpose to intimidate and harass Kashmiris and other minorities so that no one ventures out especially in the west to create an embarrassing situation for India. The number of Kashmiri students, businessmen, asylum sought by individuals or families and expatriates settled outside India, in thousands are scared initially for the welfare of their extended families back home in Kashmir or elsewhere dreading denial of visa which is so nightmarish. Unfortunately for Kashmir the only exit or entry point is through India and no one can help that at the present moment.

The experience of 2008-2010 when people fought Indian army with stones and bricks was unnerving; forcing India to change the strategy. Finally the Indian authorities vowed to confine people of Kashmir indoors never to allow them repeat the million march to UN office. In the same token using a different strategy, the expatriate community of Kashmiris is kept off the roads in the countries of their established domicile.

The exodus of Kashmiri Muslims from Kashmir who cannot travel to other free countries are scattered in Indian cities to save themselves from the wrath of Indian army and their Para-military forces. The people living there under compulsion are projected to outside world through controlled sympathetic media as victims of terrorism in Kashmir. The capital in billions took flight soon after 1989 and businessmen of Kashmir shifted to Indian cities to invest the money in businesses and property. Kashmir due to inherent capability of business acumen and bestowed fertile land full of resources gifted by nature is deemed to be more than enough to give it a robust and healthy economic viable future. The only impediment to such a success story is the forcible occupation and denial of legitimate right to fend on its own.

Kashmir sincerely believes that the international community must not, and cannot wait indefinitely for India and Pakistan to negotiate a settlement ignoring the main stake holders’ people of Kashmir. It is the question of fourteen million people whose political rights have been usurped and are subjugated under the barrel of the gun. History tells us, Kashmir has always survived independently even when India was a colony and Pakistan did not even exist on the world map.

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