I seriously doubt democracy in Kashmir. The Ramban incident, which has hardly been covered in mainstream Indian media, questions every claim of the Indian government over the prevailing peace in the valley. Just because we do not discuss the violence, does not mean peace exists!
Everybody in the country has an opinion over Kashmir and the Kashmiris. I would take a position here and would term the relation of the Government of India with Kashmir as colonial. As a larger Indian society we see Kashmir as a home to numerous terrorists and burden on India. We have a political faction and leaders in our country who are determined to teach a lesson to ‘Terrorist Kashmiris’. I am quite sure that many jingoist patriots of the nation would not even try to read deeper into the incident and come to a conclusion. I only wish if they could read this report on the entire incident.
Why do Kashmiris need to live under constant threat from BSF or any other forces? Incidents like this only bring halt to the peace process. More importantly it affects the average Kashmiri who earns his daily bread during the season when tourists come.
Another matter of concern for me is the coverage of the story. I did see the story being covered on a few news channels in a very casual manner. The national media, I firmly believe, has a bias against any story related to Kashmir. The quantum of violence and curfew in the state is enough to be the most important national agenda for the moment, but we have a Home Minister who says ‘will look into the matter’, as if it is something that isn’t ever priority.
The communal behavior of our armed forces has often been talked about, but only in a particular circle of liberal and secular people. The larger communal society doesn’t see it as a problem- rather it sees it as a solution. It is the same society who is waiting for India’s version of Hitler to create theLebensraum of its own. It is hard to understand by which logic we equate the entire population of Kashmir to Pakistan. You first rob somebody of their national identity and then demand for patriotism. You term somebody a terrorist and then blame for not showing faith in ‘Indian’ administration. You treat Kashmir as your colony and then blame them for your each and every failure.
Mutual respect can be the only way forward, and the nation state has to take the initiative even if they fail thousand times. You cannot expect ordinary citizen to bow down before you even when you molest them at every possible chance. The Indian armed forces have been extremely insensitive while tackling the issues in Kashmir and few other states like Manipur and Nagaland.
I wait for a day when we, the larger society, do not see Kashmir as a problem, and then we can have a meaningful discussion. Without this everything else is meaningless.
This article was first published in Youth Ki Awaaz on July 20, 2013