- What is the sin of the people of Kashmir?
Renowned Indian actress Shabana Azmi lives in the very hearts of art-lovers, not only in India but in Pakistan too, and the same position is enjoyed by her husband Javed Akhtar. The couple receives a very sincere welcome whenever it comes to Pakistan. The couple was invited to grace a conference scheduled to be held in Karachi in the last week of this February. This conference was organised to acknowledge marvelous literary services of Kaifi Azmi in the field of poetry. Kaifi Azmi was Shabana Azmi’s father. Unfortunately the Pulwama tragedy turned the whole program upside down; Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar regretted that they won’t be able to attend the conference because of mounting pressure on them from Hindu extremists.
Shabana Azmi and her husband are among those Muslims who literally have devoted rather dedicated whole of their lives to the ‘Secular-India’ but a Damocles’ sword of religious hatred is always hanging over their heads. A few weeks back, a video clip became viral in which Shabana Azmi was talking to a TV anchor on increasing religious intolerance of Hindu extremists in India. She said that she had been trying to buy a flat in Mumbai but everyone refused to sell her a flat because she is a Muslim. Shabana expressed her depression and disappointment over the situation by saying, “If in Mumbai, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar are treated this way, in what way would a common Muslim be treated there?” Same is the situation everywhere for the Muslims all over India, from the Indian Held Kashmir to Ayodhya and from Gujarat to Delhi. The Hindu extremists under the ‘marvelous leadership’ of Narendra Modi are doing all their best to mould India into a purely Hindu state where no Muslim or anyone from any other religion would be allowed to live. Just to make life more difficult for the Muslims in India, they do not even refrain from killing their own soldiers and putting blames on the Indian Muslims and Pakistan; the Pulwama terror attack is a very recent example of this anti-Muslim strategy. Whatever happened there in Pulwama was nothing unexpected. Experts say that more horrible incidents of the same type may occur in the days to come.
The Washington Post of 23 December 2018 published an article by Joanna Slater and Ishfaq Naseem. The title line of that article was ‘2018 is the deadliest year in a decade in Kashmir. Next year could be worse.’ The writers said, “In 2018, the death toll for militants and security forces in Kashmir touched the highest point in a decade, according to official figures, with more than 324 killed. Human rights groups put the civilian fatalities at over 100. Almost no experts believe the situation will improve in the short term.” Another report by a monitoring group comments on the Indian atrocities in the Indian Held Kashmir that 2018 had been the deadliest year in a decade in the IHK, with more than 550 people including 150 civilians killed. Amitabh Mattoo, a professor of international relations at Jawaharlal Nehru University and a longtime observer of the Kashmir conflict said in a recent statement, “There is now a ‘generation of people’ whose only encounter with India seems to be through the prism of the security forces.”
The Japan Times has recently commented upon the situation of the Indian Held Kashmir in a very interesting way. The paper says, “The most deadly year (2018) in a decade has left Indian-controlled Kashmir facing a grim future with militant groups and the New Delhi government digging in for an even fiercer battle in 2019. The Indian authorities still virulently blame the neighboring state of Pakistan for the three-decade-old conflict which has claimed tens of thousands of victims. But Kashmir politicians and independent Indian experts say the presence of 500,000 troops in the former Himalayan kingdom and an election in India in 2019 leaves little hope for an end to the bloodshed.”
Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar regretted that they won’t be able to attend the conference because of mounting pressure on them from Hindu extremists
Not only in the Indian held Kashmir but also in the whole India, situation is getting horribly atrocious. Kashmiri youth has always been the most favourite target of the Indian security forces deployed there in the Indian Held Kashmir. These forces know very well that the Kashmiri youth in the distressed valley of Kashmir is the most threatening challenge to the Indian hegemonic designs; without crushing this youth India could never materialise her dreams there. Moreover it is much easier to portray a young man as a militant than introducing an old man as a terrorist or militant. According to the different media reports, in the name of investigations of the Pulwama attack, hundreds of the Kashmiri young men are being arrested by the Indian troops.
The Modi government may deny the facts but it is a reality that there is a revolt-like situation in the Indian Held Kashmir particularly after the Pulwama attack. It seems certain that by the end of 2019, situation in the Indian Held Kashmir would be more agonising, more painful and more miserable. What is the sin of the people of Kashmir for which they are being penalised for the last many decades; the planners of tomorrow must try to find out the answer to this question. Why Kashmiri youth is deprived of the basic human rights of living a life enriched with peace, happiness and prosperity; surely the world will have to answer this question too.