When will blood stop flowing in Kashmir
The cold blooded murder of a Norwegian tourist by members of the so called Al-Faran group was a heinous crime. There is fear and concern about the fate of the other hostages held by this hither to unknown group. No right minded Kashmiri would approve of this dastardly act. The all parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) a representative body of 34 Kashmir parties condemned this act and demanded the immediate release of the hostages. A total strike was called and observed throughout Kashmir. The murder was also condemned by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto. In India the incident added more fuel to the fire. It also brought to the forefront the helplessness of the government to deal with the situation. Both India and Pakistan engaged in an acrimonious verbal duel. Kashmir sources however have added a new dimension to the incident. They believe that this hostage crisis has been stage managed by India to tarnish and compromise the legitimate struggle of the Kashmir people for their right to self determination. They point out that the Al-Faran group was unheard of until the crisis. Kashmiri leaders and others have professed ignorance about the origins of this group. They claim that this unknown group is slicing through Indian army lines with impunity and acting at will. This they say is a clear pointer of a plot. Western media services including the New York Times confirmed that the Al-Faran group was not heard of until July 4. The Glasgow Herald of August 18 revealed that some British military analysts believe that India is controlling the hostage takers. In Pakistan official sources say that India is conducting a disinformation campaign against Pakistan by alluding to a connection between Pakistan and the kidnappers. The Indians deny all reports pointing out that Al-Faran is a creation of the Indian intelligence. They claim that Al-Faran is related to Harkat Al-Ansar which comprises foreign mercenaries trained in Pakistan. However, one thing is quite clear. The blood of innocent Kashmiries and foreigners continues to flow. The intransigence of the Indian government and its inability to come to grips with the political reality in the ground is widening this crisis and making it reach a point of conflagration. Everyday innocent people are being killed. Even journalists are not spared. The last to die was Mushtaq Ali, a leading photo-journalist. The main problem is that the Congress government has no solution. It has to dance to several tunes at the same time. The communalists, the extremists, the military, the politicians have all got their own agenda for Kashmir. None of them have a solution. Short term political interests have led to the permanent alienation of the majority of Kashmiris. The impasse and hostile confrontation in today's Kashmir would have been avoided had the Kashmir accord of 1975 between Indira Gandhi and the "Lion of Kashmir" Shaik Abdulla was executed to the letter. The Farooq Abdulla government should not have been dismissed in July 1984. Support for quislings and lackeys and their installation in high offices by New Delhi created a great divide between the Indian government and the Kashmiris. To further add compound an already deteriorating situation restrictions were imposed. And then of course the violation of human rights and indiscriminate killing, rape and other brutal acts by certain army members added more fuel to the fire. The Kashmiries by now have lost all faith in the Indian government. The excessive use of force, the blatant violation of human rights, the use of terror as an instrument of policy has created hatred against what people now openly describe as "the occupiers" They are now asking for their legitimate and democratic aspirations. They want to exercise their God given rights of self determination. The present Indian government to its credit has faced the onslaught of the BJP, which demands repeal of article 370 of the Indian constitution. While backing down and giving in to fanatics and zealots like Theckeray and Advani another issues, the government is holding steadfast to its Kashmir policy. We however ask what policy? A policy which cause an uninterrupted flow of blood. A policy that is causing hatred for the country. A policy that is reeling the country and bringing it to the edge of war. A policy that conveniently ignores hard facts and sacrifices it to political expediency. The solution to the Kashmir problem lies in India's hands. The future of Kashmir should be discussed with the true representatives of the Kashmiri people. All restrictions imposed should be removed. Detainees should be freed and the victims of army brutality be compensated. However, lives cannot be brought back. The Kashmiri people have suffered a lot and especially so in the past five years. Let 1995 be their last year of suffering.
Topics: India, Kashmir, Pakistan