After the amaranth land row in Jammu & Kashmir, life still continues to be amputated with mixed reactions from both the regions. People here are apprehensive about the very next moment. The busy streets of lalchowk and other areas may give a different look as the festival of Eid approached after the month long fasting of holy Ramadan. People kneeling down to pray; thanking and pledging to take the “mission forward”. But the fear on those lakhs of faces is quite visible; they don’t want to lose any more dear ones or be subjected to atrocities in the name of maintaining law and order. Some one rightly said on a national television, for 60 long years India couldn’t win Kashmiris hearts, rather they tortured and killed with an unending list of human rights violations; a step mother’s role with Kashmir takes the shape and what we hear now and then is “Azadi”..
Humans and ants are quite similar when it comes to food gathering especially when winter of politics promises to give a chilling time of spine busting frost. They know the tough times ahead and so they prepare for the harsh winter that cuts Kashmir from rest of the world. The war between the nationalist and separatist has already taken an ugly turn with 50 lives lost; the central government rubbing salt on the wound as it gears ups for elections in November. One really wonders what elections are for and for whom. -maybe for the power hungry politicians. The Kashmiris have already started boycotting the goods coming from Jammu, mostly a Hindu dominated territory of traders, who acted as middle men when rebellion in the 90s took place. If statistics of today are taken into consideration, then 80%of the goods coming from other parts are consumed by the Kashmir province, while Jammu consumes 20%.The Kashmir traders are demanding that direct ties with rest of the Indian companies should be as they were earlier in the 90s. The traders from the other end of Jawahar tunnel repent the outcome of the series of episodes that nearly spooked India and now bear the consequences. The losses are going too high for traders of both regions; the one dependent on the other feels the heat. A plea from the Sangarsh Samiti to the Governor- N.N.Vohra, to mediate on the issue, shows the growing frustration among the traders of Jammu. Life here thus is amputated: uncertainty and regional divide keeps wedging the two regions apart.
The agenda of coordination committee is to move forward with its plan to reach Lalchowk on October 6, ‘08 at all costs. The days and nights creep in with appeals and press statements by factions of Hurriyat conference and all religious and non-religious organizations As earlier witnessed, approximately 5 lakh people have already participated and a similar scenario is expected on October 6th .As the Central government is deciding on polls while the separatists stress on the need to maintain discipline, the count down begins. Black flags and “we want right to self determination” will be slogans for the grand march to “Lalchowk Chalo”.
Will the government allow such a march is only a matter of ‘wait and watch’, (with the fingers crossed). It can be assumed that curfew may be clamped, followed by violent clashes, shattered dreams and hopes, killings, injuries, wailing mothers, rushing ambulances with no wind shield amongst the bullets. Life may not be the same if the march takes place. Some pertinent questions will be posed and India has to respond to the promise made by Jawaharlal Nehru to the people of Kashmir. May this be a reminder that Kashmir is a disputed territory and the time is favorable and appropriate to start talking on Kashmir. Let Kashmir decide its fate as article 370 of U.N says so.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reiteration to solve all disputes including Kashmir may be a welcome step for the national parties, but to the people on ground those words are repeated after every insult and injury. The locals tell me time is running out, so is the patience of people of the Valley. They no longer fear death. The volcano accumulated will burst on 6th October, ‘08. It will speak of human miseries and will be expressed in strong emotions if and ever democracy stands tall to nurse the freedom of expression. Till that time, pray that peace lasts and dignity to humans is restored.
Mirza Tufael Hussain