Niloofar Qureshi

Of ‘Resistance’ and ‘Cruel Jokes’

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Two years ago the joint resistance leadership (JRL) of Hurriyat refused to meet an all-party parliamentary delegation without assigning any reasonable explanation and thus missed a golden opportunity to put across their point of view, but we didn’t complain. And neither did we raise any objection when the JRL recently called the center’s Ramadan ceasefire offer a “cruel joke” and rejected it without even bothering to ascertain views of the people. Even if meetings and talks yield nothing they don’t do any harm either and when our leaders say that Kashmir has no military solution, the JRL’s aversion to any interaction with the center or parliamentarians is naturally quite perplexing.

Contrary to what the JRL says, our ‘freedom fighters’ seem to firmly believe that the Kashmir issue only has a military solution and that’s why they have announced their outright rejection of the ceasefire offer known not only with hard hitting statements also but by intensifying attacks on government forces using guns, grenades and even IEDs. Kashmir has been turned into a veritable battle ground this Ramadan and though we may try our best to shift the blame for the violence on the government forces, but with more than two dozen incidents of grenade attacks having had taken place after New Delhi announced ceasefire, I wonder if anyone would believe us?

Not to be left behind, the others took to the streets  and videos of young boys attacking passing-by government forcevehicles with sticks, stones, bricks and even hurling a bicycle have gone viral on social media. While our leaders may consider this to be an excellent exposition of public anger against the government forces, but the fact is that these videos will do more harm than good to the ‘self determination’ struggle for a number of reasons. Firstly, crowds attacking the vehicles of government forces that were only passing by and in no way threatening or instigating the people conveys very wrong impression that Kashmiris aren’t the peace loving people but a violent society.

Secondly, the Hurriyat (M) statement after the death of a protester named Qaiser Amin Bhat who came under the wheels of a government force vehicle which was under attack in Nowhatta area of Srinagar reads, “Such incidents exhibits open aggression and worst form of State terrorism unleashed on the people of Kashmir.” It goes on to claim that “it is because of the unbridled powers given to the forces and the lack of accountability; every day innocent civilians are brutally killed.” However, no country (other than Pakistan) or any human right organisation has concurred with these accusations made by the Hurriyat (M) against the government forces and the reasons for this are obvious.

We must have the courage to accept facts even if they are unpleasant. And so, whether one likes it or not but after viewing videos shot by locals that vividly show crowds attacking government force vehicles what stands out is that inspite of being attacked the government force personnel travelling in these vehicles didn’t retaliate. Thus, while Hurriyat (M) may try to portray the death of Bhat as a preplanned and cold blooded murder but since the videos tell an entirely different story, how can anyone expect the international community and human rights organisations to believe what its statement says? After all, one naturally would believe in what is seen more readily than what is only heard!”

Besides leading the ‘self determination’ struggle, the JRL also has the moral responsibility of ensuring that the people are guided so that they don’t unnecessarily lose their lives like poor Bhat did. It also needs to ensure that none of its actions has an adverse impact on the ongoing struggle like outrightly rejecting offers for ceasefire and dialogue as this conveys an impression that Kashmiris don’t have the inclination for peacefully resolving the ‘K’ issue. Two humble suggestions for the JRL- one, please take immediate control of the situation in Kashmir before it degenerates into anarchy and two, trying to use each and every incident to demonise government forces or New Delhi without applying the mind should be avoided as it could well end up in loss of Hurriyat’s credibility at international level!

Tailpiece: If we are telling the world that the struggle in Kashmir is all about ‘resistance’ to oppression then our actions cannot be offensive. And militants attacking government force personnel after declaration of ceasefire or mobs attacking government force vehicles plying on roads cannot be called ‘resistance’. Lastly, though directed at government forces the grenades hurled by our ‘freedom fighters’ have unfortunately caused more casualties to civilians than to those in uniform. And if this is acceptable to our leaders as legitimate ‘resistance’, then there couldn’t be a more “cruel Joke” on the people of Kashmir, than this!

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