Dr Abdur Ruff Colachal, Nov 19, 2008
The larger world is quite unimpressed by the Indian polls in Kashmir by keeping the terror military threat more active. Unlike the great powers around, Kashmiris could be easily fooled by India and its agents in and around country by keeping them under its terror control and feeding false promise of freedom and development and also democracy to them. But Kashmiris have voted for both re-independence and development and they have hinted they would not like to antagonize India after achieving freedom from hegemonic India.
In view of prevailing mood of the Kashmiris seeking complete re-independence from occupier India, Indian poll action in JK on Nov 17 does not reflect the realities, though India keeps asking the USA and other powers to take note of the changing realities to accommodate its concerns. The state elections are being staggered over seven phases to allow authorities to mount a huge security operation to contain the freedom movement’s anti-poll campaign. In the first stage of elections, voting has been held in ten of the 87 state assembly segments.
India used force against the anti-poll campaign by the freedom leaders and tries to reduce the impact of the freedom struggle started form the Muzaffarabad March where several freedom strugglers including a major leader were killed by Indian terror forces. Indian agencies have made the poll possible as it feared international shame if polls are not held. Indian media is focused on the very conduct of polls. Turnout in the 10 seats contested across Jammu and Kashmir state was above average, but as expected by India. More surprising perhaps was a turnout of 59 percent in three seats contested in the Kashmir Valley, up from around 55 percent in the same seats in 2002. Previous elections have seen freedom fighters threatening violence to enforce their call for a boycott, and Indian soldiers trying to coerce people to vote. This time the freedom fighters did not resort to anti-state terror measures and said they would not interfere.
On the eve of the polls, the Indian government arrested and tortured freedom leaders and activists and terrorized the Kashmiris to vote. By conducting polls against the will and wishes of the freedom loving people and the freedom fighters by police and military threats, India has in fact killed democracy in Kashmir. The freedom fighters resisted from counter-force and the polls were “thus peaceful”. Four freedom activists and two army men were killed in two separate encounters on poll day in the State while another soldier was abducted after a gunfight in Poonch.
However surprising the turnout in Bandipora, voters in this picturesque Township insist their vote should not be misconstrued as “the vote against the movement”. Not just voters but the contestants also sought to reiterate that they did not seek vote in favour of any ideology but “exclusively for development. At least 42 people were shot dead by police when hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims took to the streets this year shouting “Azadi” (freedom).
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the people are yearning for revival of the golden era of governance that the state had witnessed under the stewardship of Mufti Sayeed between 2002 and 2005. PDP says the people have decided to teach the National Conference, a pro-Hindutva party, a lesson for the power-hungry politics of deceit practiced by the party over the years and they came out in large number yesterday to do so
State Terror and Violations
Human rights and poll monitor groups are not spared by the forces. Those who had gone to monitor the “freeness and fairness of polls” are behind the bars. Prominent human rights activist Parvez Imroz, the president of Coalition of Civil Societies, was beaten and arrested by police at Bandipora. Bar association struck its work in high court and other courts here in protest against the beating and arrest of Imroz. That apart – the man has been of late been in news for his Coalition’s interest in monitoring elections in Jammu and Kashmir and India has been focused on his torture and silence.
Important here is the history of detentions that Imroz has faced in the past. Since 2002, J&K CCS has been monitoring elections in the state. Their 2002 Assembly election report and later the 2004 parliamentary election report was not taken well by the powers-that-be because it contained several references to how the police and the Army had coerced people to vote. Significantly, the coalition even lost one of its volunteers during the 2004 elections when the vehicle, in which she was traveling, was targeted in a mine blast. Kurram Pervez lost his leg in the accident. He had to get it amputated. The leader of human rights campaign in the valley, he has long been espousing the cause of the voiceless especially those killed in custody and those who disappeared over the past several years of conflict in the valley. Very recently, Imroz’s house was under attack from people who are yet to be identified and punished.
They voted for Re-independence
Independence is a separate issue from the need for a better life, which a good administration can provide. While it is too early to draw firm conclusions from Monday’s first stage in a seven-part election across a very diverse state, the turnout in parts of the mainly Muslim Kashmir Valley was a surprise for separatists who had heatedly called for a boycott. This year has seen some of the biggest anti-India protests in the Kashmir Valley since an insurgency began in 1989, but a 70-year-old man said they wanted to cast their ballots even though they had taken part in protest marches
A good turnout at the start of Indian Kashmir state elections may mean freedom fighters don’t want to cause death to Kashmir by Indian terror forces under guise of tackling the opposition by the ‘separatists’. In fact of late freedom leaders showed inclination for Kashmir development while gaining freedom back from India. However, talk of democracy is something neither Kashmiris nor Indians know for sure. For Kashmiris it is state terrorism that is shown to them as democracy. An effective poll mechanism of promising life and development of Kashmir along with pressure tactics have brought a lot people to vote for a new government, but they say in voice that they don’t vote for India.
If Hindu-terrorists are harassed by the state, the Hindutva forces come to their rescue. Breaking his silence over the Maharashtra anti-terror squad (ATS) probing the September 29 Malegaon bomb blasts that killed six persons, Lok Sabha Opposition leader LK Advani on 17Nov expressed “shock and outrage” over the way Sadhvi Pragya was “physically and psychologically tortured and abused in obscene language by her interrogators.” Advani should not realize the way the Muslims of India and Kashmir are being ill-treated by Indian forces and jail authorities. This is main reason how Kashmir poll was peaceful so far.
Illegal Indian Polls
Current Indian poll in JK is ilegal and immoral. The chairmen of Hurriyat factions, senior freedom leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that the sanctity of elections have been lost in presence of 7 lakhs troops. Reacting to the statement of authorities that 55 per cent people voted in first phase of election, Geelani said that the claim of free and fair elections ‘is a sheer joke’. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference which had called for a boycott, questioned the official figures and said free and fair voting was impossible in the presence of hundreds of thousands of troops. But more mainstream political parties appeared to have won some listeners by arguing that the need to choose good government that can build roads and improve civic amenities would not necessarily undermine the independence movement. Many voters said they still wanted independence as firmly as ever, but experts said a successful election across Kashmir would give the state and central government the chance to offer better governance and defuse the independence movement to some extent.
One does not clearly know if the current governor Vohra has difference of opinion over the poll show when he met the big bosses in New Delhi recently, but as an appointed agent of New Delhi as governor of JK, he still continues to work for Indian case in JK by ensuring the poll at any cost by using the terror forces taking positions street by street. It was a common knowledge that the occupying Indians would go all about presenting a pro-India image for the watching world and with the waste resources wasted on poll machinations in JK, the task would not have been a total flop given a sort of neutral posture adopted by the freedom leaders. But the trend would fast change.
US president-elect Obama’s passion for a free Kashmir must have given the Kashmiris and their freedom leaders a fresh boost in pursuing their goals in non-confrontational manner. But, the unexpected turnout in 10 assembly constituencies that went to polls on Monday has given a boost to the pro-India so-called “mainstream” parties. Each party in JK wants to claim some credit for the polls. They believe massive participation of people will set a trend for the rest of the polling, especially in Srinagar and will give a confidence to candidates as well as voters. That is the joke being played out by New Delhi’s strategists, quit tragically, if not pathetically.
Does it all mean that India would not surrender sovereignty back to Kashmir in a peaceful manner? Does it mean Kashmir is permanently under Indian brute control? As a mark of support for Kashmir vote for re-independence, six mini trucks carrying goods from Pakistani Kashmir crossed the border in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, it is quite clear that Kashmiris have voted not for Indian terrorist-rule in Kashmir, but, on the contrary, to get rid of India oppression and gain freedom. Kashmiris have showcased their strength once again in making the vote as a declaration for gaining independence from India. India should read the message quite correctly and not to day-dream about keeping JK under its terror custody forever!
Kashmir Freedom seems to be fast approaching!