By Aamir Wani:
There was an alliance of Islamic parties called Muslim United Front which contested the Kashmir assembly elections in 1987. What happened in 1987 was something that hit Kashmir like never before. These were the same elections after which scores of young Kashmiris crossed over to Pakistan to receive arms training and start a full-fledged armed rebellion against Indian rule in Kashmir. Now what actually happened in the 1987 elections?
On March 23, 1987 state assembly elections were held in Kashmir. The main parties and alliance contesting elections were the Indian National Congress (INC), National Conference (NC) and Muslim United Front (MUF). Congress was the party from the centre and NC having strong links with centre were contesting against MUF. The leader of the MUF was Mohammad Yusuf Shah. His election manager was Yasin Malik.
Despite it being MUF’s debut, it was predicted to do well in the elections. Soon, it became clearer that the centre might lose its political control over the state if MUF rises to power and therefore, the centre allegedly rigged the elections and announced National Conference as victorious. During the initial results, MUF was coming out as victorious on many of the seats but before the final results came in, the government felt threatened and snatched jamhooriat away from the Kashmiri people and named Farooq Abdullah as the Chief Minister.
This made the Kashmiris in general and MUF in particular lose all hope in Indian jamhooriat. Yet, worse was still to come. After naming Farooq Abdullah as Chief Minister, government started arresting MUF leaders and putting them in jails. Scores of MUF leaders and supporters were arrested including Mohammad Yusuf Shah and Yasin Malik. Both of them after feeling betrayed by the jamhooriat crossed over to Pakistan. This betrayal changed Mohammad Yusuf Shah into Syed Salahuddin and went on to head the Hizbul Mujahideen. Yasin Malik went on to head the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.
It is widely alleged that the elections were rigged and Farooq Abdullah himself confessed it in an interview once and said, “I am not saying the elections weren’t rigged. But I didn’t rig them.” Alleged rigging of the elections led to militancy in Kashmir. The Kashmiri youth having lost faith in the jamhooriat was pushed towards militancy. In the following years, hundreds and thousands were killed, a large number of people even disappeared. A study by Medecines Sans Frontiers has revealed that every second individual in Kashmir is mentally disturbed. This is the price Kashmiris had to pay for believing in the Indian version of Jamhooriyat.
When the Indian government and anyone else talks about jamhooriyat, insaaniyat and Kashmiriyat, what jamhooriat are they referring to? The one that was shown to us in the 1987 elections?Rather than showing remorse over the crimes committed against Kashmiris, the government made things even worse by brutally suppressing the voice of Kashmiris every time. The people in uniform who murdered innocent Kashmiris are given impunity under draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which have no place in jamhooriat or insaniyat. These laws give such powers that even if an armed force personnel is suspicious of someone, he can fire upon the individual, without fear of being tried in any court of law for his actions. Now this is some insaniyat, isn’t it?
Hundreds of torture cases at the hands of Indian armed forces have been reported but no accused has ever been held accountable. Alleged mass rapes such as Kunan Poshpora took place where the Indian army raped many women in the village. Many documentaries have been made, many books written on this this but has any justice been given?
In the agitations of 2008 and 2010, hundreds of protesters were killed. Many of them were not even protesting. Even if they were protesting, what kind of Insaniyat allows you to shoot a teenager who may have been throwing stones? Now in the present uprising, the same insaniyat is being repeated by killing and blinding the children of Kashmir. People like Reyaz and Shabir were not even protesting and yet they were killed by the so called ‘security forces’. Insaniyat was expressed by the CM Mehbooba Mufti when she justified these killings by saying that those who have been killed by bullets were not out to buy toffees or milk.
So, let the government come clear about what kind of insaniyat and jamhooriat it is talking about. Because India has failed Kashmir at both insaniyat as well as jamhooriat and these words for Kashmiris when said by India are nothing more than hawaniyat.