Twenty-six MPs from 20 political parties comprising the parliamentary delegation enjoyed a pleasant 24-hour stay in salubrious Srinagar. Next day, on its way back to New Delhi, the delegation reluctantly made a short stop-over in Jammu to symbolically meet with a few local delegations. Back in Delhi, the one thing which they will have spoken to their party stalwarts with great gusto will be Kashmiri cuisine. Kashmir politics has often been called gushtaba diplomacy usually discussed on the dining table of the Kashmirian Czars in New Delhi.
In reply to a media persons question, Home Minister wisecracked that some of the accompanying parliamentarians little conversant with Kashmir politics, will have picked up its elementary nitty-gritty during their one-day visit. Home Minister’s cryptic remark about Kashmir history deficit with our parliamentarians is comically true. I remember that in 1991, I was with a delegation of the displaced community meeting some parliamentarians in New Delhi. After listening to our tale of woe one or two of them laconically said, ”han samajh gaye. Ap Kasmir ko rahne do aur Srinagar main baitho, wuhan to hamara hawai jahaz jata hai.” The worst part of this dismal ignorance is that the one who claimed to be bandaged in Kashmir history since his ancestors hailed from Kashmir — and he handled Kashmir arbitrarily —- was proved otherwise by the verdict of the history.
More adventurous among New Delhi’s Don Quixotic pack, trying to endear themselves to the champions of secession tried to steal a “personal” visit to them to subtly slight the Home Minister who had left them out. Ali Geelani’s doorman refused to let them in. Mirwaiz, Shabbir and Yasin refused to receive them saying they would not talk Kashmir.
Rajnath Singh thinks incivility shown to these stuntmen among his delegation was negation of all the three unimaginative “yats,” long back moated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Ever since, the triumvirate “yat” became gospel truth for Kashmir seditionists forgetting that Vajpayee was only versifying and not pontificating. Where did insaniyat evaporate in thin air when four lakh Kashmiri Pandit minority was forced out of homes and hearths under the threat of gun?
Yechuri, with one or two of his ideological buddies carried olive branch to the seditionists but only to receive a rebuff, found face saving in making a demand for withdrawal of AFSPA. He took care not to ask the seditionists to leave the gun: he did not demand withdrawal of Z security extended to hundreds of descript and non-descript “VIPs” that costs the State exchequer a hefty amount each day. More amusing, he did not ask the secessionists to decline official security and engage private security like armed jihadis.
After a day’s break in New Delhi, the said parliamentary delegation to Kashmir met and scripted the report. The grapevine has it that none of the delegates from opposition party was prepared to say that Kashmir is a dispute between the two countries.
Omar Abdullah commented that the visit of parliamentary delegation to Kashmir was an exercise in futility. It is not true that the parliamentary delegation gave nothing to Kashmiris as claimed by Omar. It gave a number of things. First, the delegation conveyed that the so-called two month-long strike and shutdown was a horrendous blackmail to which the Centre would not succumb. The delegation conveyed that for the first time in seven decades, the Central government led by Narendra Modi has challenged it. Therein we find the hidden frustration of Omar and others of his ilk.
The second thing which delegation gave is upgrading all facets of security in Kashmir like more operations to thwart seditious activities, isolating local sympathizers of seditious groups, full encouragement of nationalist segments in Kashmir, reinforcement of coalition government under the leadership of Mufti Mehbooba and enforcement drive for restoration of law and order and functionality of the administration.
The parliamentary delegation has also given a piece of advice to the seditionists. It has warned them of the dangers of Wahhabization of Kashmir. Wahhabiztion has led to schism, sectarianism and group-ism wherever in the Islamic lands it has spread its fangs. The delegation has also harkened that using mosques and shrines for political propaganda is sacrilege and fraught with dire consequences.
The one lesson which the delegation did not spell out openly but could be elicited effortlessly is that the Indian State is determined to fight terrorism in whatever form and manifestation it emerges in whatever part of the country. The Indian State keeps open the option of carrying the battle to enemy’s ground. PM hinted at it in his Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort. In this context, the noose is getting tight round the neck of hawala and clandestine remittances from abroad to the seditionists..
Hardly had the parliamentary delegation landed back in New Delhi, when the ex-Chairman of Hurriyat (M) Ghani told local press in Srinagar that by rejecting a meeting with the Parliamentary delegation, Hurriyat had made a mistake. Many pragmatists in Kashmir valley endorsed his comments.
By rejecting to meet with the Parliamentary delegation, the Kashmir seditionists have armed New Delhi with the weapon of exposing their pro-terrorist proclivities to the world at large. New Delhi will put a simple question to its critics wherever they are. The question is this: “by refusing to sit down for a dialogue, do the Kashmir seditionists want to resolve the issue through force of arms?”
That the State of India will reinforce security arrangement in its highly strategic and volatile northern region of Jammu and Kashmir has become an imperative in the wake of Pakistan allowing China deep inroads into territories lying in close proximity to the Valley of Kashmir. Our strategists should understand that what Indian State is fighting in Kashmir is neither jihad nor separatism nor secession, it is not even LeT or other “non-state actors” sponsored by the Pakistani State. India is fighting China in Kashmir. Unable to manage her affairs in strategic Gilgit and Baltistan, Pakistan, taking recourse to escapism, has virtually ceded Gilgit –Baltistan to China, which, by now, has made deep inroads into this area under the rubric of CPEC. China is very much present on our Kashmir borderline.
Kashmiris have to understand that the State of India is committed to forestalling any attempt by any quarter of snatching the hard-earned political, constitutional and economic “aazaadi” of the masses of Kashmiri people, who on October 26, 1947, left behind for all times to come the sordid saga of inviting foreigners to rule over them and enslave their future generations. Indian nation will never allow that to happen and its proof lies in how firmly Prime Minister Modi is handling the situation.
@ Prof KN Pandita is the former Director of the Center for Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University.
Disclaimer: The Views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation that he belongs to or of the USI.