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Kashmir separatism is Islamism by another name

In an interview to a news channel, former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Omar has Abdullah expressed his disappointment over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments about the separatist violence following the killing of a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in the Kashmir Valley.

Modi broke his silence over the violence and on-going unrest after 32 days, at a public rally in Bhabra, Madhya Pradesh, marking the launch of the 70th anniversary of independence celebrations. Invoking Atal BihariVajpayee’s approach of “Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhuriyat” in Jammu & Kashmir, Modi said that both the State as well as the Union Government are finding solutions to the problems and difficulties through development.

Omar Abdullah rightly rebutted Modi’s remarks by saying that the problem in Jammu and Kashmir is not of development but a political one. However, Omar Abdullah was telling the proverbial half-truth.

The problem in Jammu & Kashmir is certainly of political nature, whether on the external front with Pakistan or the internal one about Delhi-Srinagar relationship. However, an intrinsic part of this problem is of Islamism. The religious angle can’t be isolated from the political one.

Moreover, Pakistan has often reiterated that Kashmir is an “unfinished agenda of partition”. The assertion of Pakistan is, in fact, on the grounds of Jinnah’s two-nation theory which led to the formation of our hostile neighbour.

Omar Abdullah further goes on to say that the sloganeering by the people is for ‘Azadi’ and even the calls from mosques are for ‘Azadi’ only. The cry in Kashmir is “Hum kya chahte? Azadi. Azadi ka matlab kya? La ilaha illa Allah.Yahan Kya Chalega? Nizam-e-Mustafa.”

You don’t have to be a Kashmiri to understand this. Trying to be Machiavellian, Omar Abdullah says that the Taliban and the Islamic State haven’t been able to gain ground in Jammu & Kashmir. It is true that, except the waving of the Islamic State flag, there has not been any evidence which suggests about the presence of the Taliban or the IS.

What our former Chief Minister doesn’t say is that we have Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and other such terrorist organisations operating in Jammu & Kashmir. The objective of these terror outfits does not need to be elaborated.

The secessionist movement in The Kashmir Valley has always been about transforming the State in to an Islamic one. The ethnic cleansing of the Kashmir Valley by driving half a million minority Hindus out of their ancestral land in 1990 is a testimony of the nature of the problem. Hadn’t it been an Islamist movement, there wouldn’t have been an ethnic cleansing.

So let’s stop deluding ourselves that Islamism has nothing to do with separatism in Jammu & Kashmir. The Azadi demand is about Islamism. If someone tells you it is not, then it is a case of wilful witlessness.

Under the Prime Minister’s rehabilitation package, many Pandits started working in the Kashmir Valley in the last few years. In the current cycle of violence, their transit camps in Kashmir were attacked which forced them to leave the valley for Jammu.

The Pandits have been protesting in Jammu for more than three weeks now. They are demanding from the Government that they should be posted in Jammu region only. Why were these miniscule number of Pandits attacked?

Islamism in Jammu & Kashmir is a major challenge for India’s political and security establishment. The sooner they discern and address it, the better it will be for the State as well as the nation.

It is sad to see the loss of over 50 lives and scores of injured persons. But frankly speaking, the current unrest in Kashmir Valley is a self-inflicted wound. The local Kashmiris are to be blamed first for this; not the state authorities.

The predicament in Kashmir is aptly summed up by a Kashmiri adage — “Anim Soiy, Wavyim Soiy, Lajhim Soiy Panas”. It means, “I brought the nettle, I cultivated the nettle and then the nettle stung me”. Allegorically, it means, “To pay for one’s own misdeeds.” Now ask yourself the question: Who brought the gun and used the gun in the first place in Jammu & Kashmir?

(Published in ABP Live)

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