By Kunal Anand:
Delhi witnessed a bizarre event on October 21st. A seminar titled “Azadi: The Only Way” organized by Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) had Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the anti-India activist (she ceased to be a novelist long back) Arundhati Roy amongst its list of “distinguished” speakers. Amid tight security, the seminar gave a platform to these two “proponents” of Azadi to do what they do the best — spew venom against India. Only this time they forgot that it was not some pro-azadi rally in Kashmir or a Pakistani city where people revel in such fantasies. As soon as they started abusing India, a group of activists rushed to the podium and almost came to blows with the organizers. They fittingly waved the Tricolour to give Geelani a taste of India’s mood.
Before you conclude about who these protesters were and zero down on RSS or some other favorite whipping boys of the media, it must be known that these people were a group of Kashmiris who have been displaced from their homeland due to militancy (and not due to Indian Security Forces as Geelani would like you to believe). After the opposition questioned the motive behind allowing such secessionist events in the heart of India, Home Minister has assured that proper actions would be taken after analyzing the recording tapes. [the tapes are with YKA and will be published soon]
Geelani and Roy boast themselves to be the champions of the “Kashmiri Cause”. Yet, neither of them extended any kind of help to the victims of the disastrous Leh floods. I can understand Geelani’s mindset. He is a Pakistani supporter who long ago lost any kind of influence on the Kashmiris and is now ready to stoop low to any extent to get that back. So, it’s quite understandable that a “Buddhist Leh” and a “Hindu Jammu” doesn’t fit in his Kashmir portrait.
But what about Arundhati Roy? What started with some anti-national columns in a few magazines has now spiraled into a full blown anti-India rhetoric! She says her only demand is justice for the poor tribal but she doesn’t want to be a mediator between the Maoists and the government. She says Kashmiris have the right to choose whom they want to stay with but she turns a deaf ear to the millions of Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims whose heart and soul is entwined to India just like any one of ours.
I read some of her vitriolic articles in Pakistani newspapers (they are usually applauded there first before a few pseudo-activists publish them in India). But I have never ever read an article from her depicting the plight of poor Balochs massacred by the Pakistani army in Balochistan. Aren’t they human enough to have human rights? She can lambast India in Delhi and Lahore. Why does not she talk about the attack on the peaceful Ahmadiya community in Pakistan, the Shia-Sunni strife in Karachi and the poor tribals of North Waziristan who are being prosecuted at the hands of the government and the Talibs? A lion roars whether in a jungle or a cage. Those who whimper at the prospect of being challenged about their legitimacy and the prospect of being kicked are dogs. Roy knows that one statement about the rights violation in Pakistan or China can make her a fugitive in these countries.
But there’s no point in blaming these people. They are just utilizing the weaknesses of our system. Does the largest democracy in the world need to prove its legitimacy by turning a blind eye to such anti national forums and people? When Geelani was dying of kidney failure, the J&K government paid for his treatment at a private hospital in Delhi. It would be foolish to think that such poisonous minds can be cleansed by such tokens of generosity. What is needed is a zero tolerance approach to any activity that threatens the integrity of India, be it “Azadi” seminars or “Temple” agitation. We have come a long way as an independent country in the last 63 years. We can’t let it all go because a dying 80 year old Pakistani supporter or a dysfunctional Booker prize winner who thrive on our leniency think that the idea of Indian federation is a hoax.
P.S: SM Sahai (IG Kashmir) has an official page on Facebook. He interacts with people and also answersÂ their questions. I too joined it and was appalled to see people calling him ‘kaafir’ and questioning his religious beliefs. I posted a comment on his wall supporting him on his endeavor of bringing normalcy in the valley. A guy by the alias name “Aayat Resurrected” replied: “@kunal- Hind kuta, Hindu kuta, Bharat kuta and tumhari Bharat Maa kuti.” Read it here.
I read it, smiled but didn’t reply. A person who doesn’t have guts to use his real name while putting forth his ideas doesn’t deserve attention. “Aayat resurrected” is not the guy representing Kashmir or Muslims of India. He is a part of that miniscule minority that refuses to understand that India — and Indians have moved on and refuse to indulge in anything that will make them look remotely similar to their failed neighbor Pakistan. Kudos to Mr. Sahai for not deleting a single hate comment. I request the readers to join his page. Let him know that he isn’t alone in his Himalayan task.
Editor’s note: We want you to support our voice, we want you to voice yourselves. The event that the author talks about was also an event attended by two other YKA correspondents who will be sending a comprehensive report shortly. The minds of Kashmiri youth have been played with, are being played with. We must rise against the voices that spread the venom.
Image courtesy: http://ubaidmushtaq.blogspot.com/2010/07/open-letter-to-separatists.html