This year marks the 61st year of our independence. And Kashmir is still burning. This time, some questions have to be answered by all of us. It is very sad to see that in the same week that we celebrate Indian independence, people in Kashmir wave Pakistani flags, march to the LOC, and scream pro Pakistan slogans while demanding freedom.
However being a Democratic country, we have to take this in our stride. For quite a while now, we have paid no attention to some people’s screams, their protests, their tears, their desires and their freedom.
The first question;
Do we have any right on Kashmir if the Kashmiris do not want to have anything to do with us? What right do we have to squash their desire to be free? Or even to be a part of Pakistan?
As of this moment, I don’t know of any secessionist movement in India that has ever garnered such mass support. In Assam ULFA is still demanding a free Assam, but the Assamese people have slowly started to disown ULFA’s dream of a “Golden Assam”. (Much can be credited to the ULFA’s own strategy of killing and looting its own people in this regard)
There have been such demands for freedom in other North eastern states as well; however all such situations have been more or less diffused now through a democratic procedure.
But Kashmir is different. It is not as if the Governments haven’t tried. They have, no other state is ever granted as much money as Kashmir is. There have been certain privileges to Kashmir as per which, barring defense and certain other sectors, all laws enacted by the Parliament need the State Government’s consent to be considered legitimate in Kashmir.
Yet somehow, peace is always dangling by a thread and the slightest of disturbances can trigger a new a wave of unrest across the state. It definitely has a lot to do with a deep rooted sense of resentment against Delhi. The Indian forces are still treated as army occupation. If such is the case, isn’t it a little too silly of us to talk of Tibet and China?
If India is a true democracy, time has come for us to find a durable solution to the Kashmir Problem which is as old as independent India. We can’t go on committing army excesses against the people of Kashmir. If they want to be free of fear, they have to be free of the fear of both the terrorists and the Indian Army.
I simply do not understand the logic behind hanging on to Kashmir even as they look at us with loathing in their eyes. Their Human Right to be Free has to be honored.
Besides, India wouldn’t lose anything either. Ladakh and Jammu don’t want to secede. So all we lose is the Valley. Yes maybe we lose a little of the apple business but then that is better than losing 10000 cores due to riots every year. And the other cost of our military should also be looked at, as we have already lost a lot of our Soldiers in the Valley or Valley related Terrorist acts.
At this moment, a referendum is definitely a must in Kashmir. Not because we don’t lose anything, but because Kashmiris deserve it. If we as a country were allowed our tryst with destiny, don’t the people of Kashmir too deserve their own tryst with destiny?
If we are to emerge as a true democratic state, we should allow the Kashmiris to choose their own fate, so that the children of Kashmir too don’t have the same loathing in their eyes for mainstream India as their fathers have!