Kashmir region is fast metamorphosing into a sense of silencing saner voices that have led to strong reverence for disagreement against the government, withstanding the state. To this day, the mainstream central political chants are towards Pakistan and Afghanistan; a political disconnect towards Kashmir has become inherent because of politics and religion as well.
Aggravating this fault line is the intra-political divide. Overpowering or boycotting the other has been a constant strategy of all protagonists. The lapdog media and social media troll armies usually depict Kashmiri leadership as anti-nationals whenever they remind the Centre of detention of political leaders, peace talks with neighbours, they are targeted by everyone from the ruling party to the media.
Young and dynamic leaders of Jammu and Kashmir whose ideologies don’t go well with the ‘lawmakers’ were made a front hit to silence the saner voices. The case of Waheed Ur Rehman Para is a grim reminder of the fact that fascism is the end product of cretinism. Throughout his life, he was a trenchant critic of communalism and unfreeness in all its hues and colours.
He is a doyen of mainstream youth politics who raised his voice to be heard before the powers that be and held aloft the flame of truth and voice of the voiceless.
His continuous confinement in jail is testimony to the fact that the saner voices will not only be gagged but imprisoned too.
Booking of journalists and political leaders not only increased the void with the mainland and divided the state on religious lines but wreaked havoc on the communal harmony of the erstwhile state too. This uncertain move has wasted years of investment in peace and reconciliation aimed to reduce conflict between people and the state.
The BJP leadership usually expectorates malice against Kashmiri leaders, ridiculing them, and terming them anti-national. People should see the Delhi leadership as a sense of haven and not as the main cause of diffidence. Similarly, the leadership should find its strength from the representatives of people and population.
Generalizing threats, punishing wrong people, troubling people for their freedom of speech and expression are yet again steps that are counterproductive.
Imprisoning young political leaders for such a long time viz a viz Waheed Para who was seen as a custodian of democracy, who in 2010 vouched for a safe mainstream political space to youngsters has been so painstakingly kept in jail.
Central governments repeated desolations and calling it ‘peace’ that gives a sense of establishing the world order of Uncle Sam’s. Waheed Para once said, and I remember this vividly, “To all the questions of dissent and resentment in the valley, democracy was Delhi’s answer and response earlier. Now it is more about the narrative of Securitization.”
Another important point that he added while sipping tea and was about to leave for the inauguration of sports tournament in a far-flung rural area was, “if mainstream parties in the state that have traditionally won more than 2/3 majority together, NC and PDP especially have no say and are termed anti-national. Then who is a patriotic Indian in Kashmir?”
Waheed has spent more than 4 consecutive Eid’s in Jail, and his birthday falls on 24 September that adds another chapter to his resilience and steadfastness on remaining adamant on his passion for mainstreaming youth in Jammu and Kashmir. On this day, I would like to revisit his sayings which he often used to share:
“Kashmir is a landlocked place and a sense of freeness will give people peace and freedom in democracy. Criminalizing dissent creates insecurity and loss of confidence from both sides. It reflects the presence of hardcore policies in the valley and defeats every idea of the mainstream process. If policies will be framed as tools for revenge; if law enforcement agencies will be used as a weapon against ideological and electoral opponents, how can democracy survive?”
Happy birthday to the most lovable and adorable star on this planet. May your birthday bring you good luck to get released from jail and the happiness thereafter last for your whole life!