The people living in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are in greater need of peace, justice and rights than most other people in other parts of the world.
In the beginning of every year, the people of Kashmir pray for eternal peace, tranquility, brotherhood and for everyone’s well-being. It is a place where Muslims celebrate Diwali and Hindus celebrate Eid.
What has happened that has resulted in nobody listening to us and our voices being muzzled? Has Kashmir not been called paradise on earth? Why is the land of rishis and sufis (Peerveri) being called a ‘flash point’ between India and Pakistan? Some even call my motherland a big prison; others call it a vulnerable and disturbed state.
Due to this ‘disturbed state’ tag, India has implemented the draconian law known as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in our state with the intention to fight terrorism.
At the end of the day, common people are hit the worst from both sides, whether it is India or Pakistan. We have never supported war or promoted terrorism in our state. History bears testimony to the fact when the tribal invasion took place, we had help from India in bringing peace to our country and deporting the tribesmen back to Pakistan.
The new year is a celebration for the whole world but we have witnessed hundreds of deaths and destruction. Our politicians will come up with press statements on the eve of the new year to make it look like nothing has happened in Kashmir. Is it not the people that they betray?
No strategy is working in Kashmir for the cause and betterment of Kashmiris. All tactics are aimed at killing, looting and destroying the state but the makers of these tactics act as if Allah had sent them as vicegerents to direct and guide the poor inhabitants who have been travelling for decades in a ship, amidst cyclones.
This is an old saying – justice delayed is justice denied. The people of Kashmir want to know from the Indian leadership who always talk of Kashmir as an integral part of India: what happened to Asiya and Nilofar in the Shopian murder case? What about the Kunan Poshpora incident? Why are civilian killings not controlled in Kashmir? Why has the firing of pellet guns not stopped? Why is the intellectual class joining the higher ranks of militant groups?
It is obvious that when state fails to deliver justice in Kashmir, other crimes and uncertainty will be the outcome. India must acknowledge Kashmir as a political issue and facilitate all the stakeholders to come up with
policies, strategies and solutions without unnecessary delay. The solution of the issue is the ultimate remedy of the problem. We know that medicine is available in the market but wrong diagnosis of the problem cannot cure the patient.
Let everybody celebrate new year. We congratulate and pray for all the people living across the globe. Maybe they too will remember us in their prayers. We also wish to celebrate all the auspicious days but the atmosphere created by constant unrest has annihilated our desire to celebrate.
The author is a social activist from central Kashmir, Ganderbal, and is currently studying at Jamia Al Mustafa (s.a.w) International University, Qom Iran. He can be contacted here.