Saturday, February 26, 2011

New storm in K teacup by Deepika Bhan

New storm in K teacup by Deepika Bhan

There is a significant development in the stormy teacup of Kashmir politics. The forcibly displaced Kashmiri community from the valley is coming out of hibernation. It has taken twenty years for the unfortunate community to gather its strength, take stock and start a lonely battle for existence.


Old and young can be seen protesting together whenever the separatists are holding a conference anywhere in the country. We saw it in Delhi, Chandigarh and Kolkata. In all the three places, the separatist leaders were trying to justify the sinister “cause” of “breaking away”. The first protest was against Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Arundati Roy’s seminar on Azadi. Geelani’s speech would not have evoked a sharp response but Arundati Roy’s jumping on the gun did. She has stirred and shaken the community. Maulvi Omar Farooq was slapped in Chandigarh. Again in Delhi, eggs were thrown at him.

It is for the first time that the community members, both men and women, can be seen shouting slogans and denouncing the hate politics. The fact, that the people who were responsible for the ethnic cleansing are now preaching non-violence, is like adding salt to their wounds.

There is a growing demand of a Commission to be set up to probe the circumstances in which the ethnic cleansing happened. This has been put forth by the apex body of the displaced Kashmiri community, All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) in its meeting with the Interlocutors. It is sad that the political and intellectual class, including a plethora of NGOs and Human rights activists like Arundati Roy has repeatedly tried to cover up many uncomfortable questions regarding the tragedy. The reason of the silence looks equally sinister.

Recently, in a significant ruling by Delhi High Court in a case concerning retired Kashmiri Pandit government employees, Justice Gita Mittal, said in her judgment, “This case is testimony to events which led to unprecedented ethnic cleansing of a minority community from the Kashmir valley on account of the inability of the State to protect them and their property from violence, who as a result were rendered homeless.” Here mark the words “ethnic cleansing”.

The exiled community is neither a vote bank, nor a rich class, and certainly not a militant group. That is the reason why their agony has been ignored by all.

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