What started with a small land transfer issue has now taken the whole country by storm with protests, killings and communal issues. And both political parties and separatist party (Hurriyat) have done everything to ignite the problem and counter attack each other only to worsen the situation. Lets go back and see how this all happened.
Around early June 2008, the government of India and state government of Jammu and Kashmir reached an agreement to transfer 100 acres of forestland to the Amarnath board, the body that organises the annual Amarnath Yatra. Amarnath Yatra is one of the most sacred Yatra for the Hindus and is organised by the Government of Jammu & kashmir during the month of Shravan, which falls sometime between July-August. Shrine Board wanted to use this land to provide better facilities for pilgrims.
There were initial protests from the environmentalists, who thought this will spoil the ecological balance. They were right to some extent and this problem could have resolved by imposing certain rules, certain parameters. But while the environmentalists, Indian Govt and the Amarnath Shrine Board where still negotiating, there came the separatist group who thought that the Indian Govt is trying to bring in Non-Kashmiris to the valley and bring the local Kashmiris to the minority. Who infused that poison to the Kashmiri people? Slowly that started taking communal color and become more of Hindu (Non Kashmiris) and Muslim (Kashmiri) Issue! And this was further sparked by Political leaders with their provocative statements. Mehbooba Mufti, People Democratic Party leader made a statement saying rest of India not to interfere in affairs of Jammu & Kashmir. Why? Isn’t J & K part of India? Or she is fearing or harboring separatists? And now when Pakistan are mediating everyday into J & K issue, she is quite! Is she an Anti-National? Farooq Abdullah too kept silent and let the separatist ignite more fire, which soon brought people to the streets and triggered more violence and killings.
Even Bharitya Janata Party (BJP) did not leave this opportunity to try and gain from the situation. They started protests across India especially in J & K favoring land transfer. The supportive people created blockades in the highway there by resulting into economic blockade (movement of goods and commodities are blocked). This further angered the separatists and soon this became war between the people of Jammus and Kashmiris. Public properties were destroyed, innocent people were killed but these leaders (both Separatists group and BJP/VHP – Vishwa Hindu Parsihad) did not stop and were igniting more fire with their statements.
The question remains – What does common man want? We had Amarnath Yatra since 1900s, a Muslim found this Amarnath Cave and since then many Muslim people have helped Hindu Pilgrims in their Yatra by providing with food and transportation and we never had issues. Even during the heights of terrorist activities, the Yatra went without major problems. It’s around this time of the year Muslim families use to make some money for the entire year. In recent year, the terrorist activities were reduced and life was coming to normalcy. But Pakistan’s ISI and terror groups operating in the valley could not bear the fact that the Kashmir Azaadi Issue is getting lost from the mind of the people and they were looking for an opportunity to stir up that protest. And this small issue served as the best platform for them. Who is getting benefited?
During this whole episode, one of the Hurriyat Chief Sheikh Abdul Aziz was killed, supposedly in firing by the Police trying to stop the protesters. It was said that Aziz was brought dead at the hospital. Hurriyat leaders and the whole Kashmiris are making a big hue about Aziz’s death. Who knows he was killed to add more fire to the whole episode? And not that we do not condemn the death, but what about so many other Kashmiris who have died as well. This small land issue could have been resolved by simple talks. Yes, Hurriyat leaders are also saying that Kashmir is the main problem, but why mix that with Amarnath land issue with it? Aren’t Kashmiris settled in different parts of India? Isn’t there many Mosque Committees across India for better facilities of the Muslims? Aren’t many lands in the prime cities of India allocated to the Muslim Committees for Mosque, Madrasas for the upliftment of the Muslims? Why cannot we have a forest land, which wasn’t used by anyone for better facilities of the Hindu pilgrims?
The sparks of this issue is seen everywhere in India. This has lead to protests and road blocks everywhere. And what more, 1 person died of heart attack near Ambala, Punjab as he could reach hospital because of this blockade. Similar incidents were reported from a place near Kanpur, UP, where a young boy died after being of electrocuted and could not reach hospitals as blockade people did not allow his family to do so. So who is gonna pay for this? Who should be accountable!
At this stage, we do not want to spark any controversies and request people from across India not to let a handful of people to gain out of this small issue, which has been made BIG and VIOLENT. We respect all societies of people. We understand we cannot ignore Kashmir issue. We have to address that and request Indian Government to extend every help to make the life in J & K stable and restore peace.
Lets all voice our protest so that Government can restore peace very soon.