Sheikhdom crumbles
by Sandhya Jain on 17 Aug 2010 24 Comments

The political situation in the Kashmir Valley, which continues to witness relentless separatist-sponsored violence and attacks on security forces, remains extremely fluid. For a while it did seem that the Chief Minister might put in his papers. But regardless of how long he now continues in office, Mr Omar Abdullah will be heading a lame duck regime, incapable of controlling the Lashkar-driven violence in the Valley. Indeed, were it not for the fact that certain quarters in New Delhi are reluctant to admit that a young dynast could be unequal to a job presumed to be a birthright, Mr Abdullah would have exited long ago.


For one who impressed the glitterati with the belligerence with which he declared in Parliament in 2008 that not an inch of land would be given to Amarnath yatris, Omar Abdullah’s fall has been rather precipitous. Even partisan commentators admit he does not get along with cabinet or party colleagues, and is out of his depth in handling the crisis.


On Friday, Aug. 13, he ‘postponed’ the daily meeting of the Unified Command, which comprises top State Intelligence Bureau, J&K Police, CRPF, BSF and Army bosses, on grounds of law and order pressures. But Srinagar sources said that though Abdullah holds the Home portfolio, he is reluctant to take decisions and responsibility to control the lawless mobs. Perhaps he has lost his nerve; perhaps he believes lawlessness will fulfill his grandfather’s dream of an independent Kashmir closely aligned with Pakistan.


Anyone who has studied the exchanges between the National Conference, constituent assembly member Gopalaswami Ayyangar and the States Ministry would know how Sheikh Abdullah reneged on every commitment made personally to Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, and refused to allow proper integration of the State into the Union.


This divisive mentality deeply pervades the State’s Sunni elites who (like elites in Delhi, unfortunately), are cultivated by the West for geopolitical purposes. Louis Mountbatten failed to get Maharaja Hari Singh to opt for Pakistan or be independent; this remains the goal of the Anglo-American imperial enterprise. The West’s growing confrontation with China for Tibet, and desire for Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth, makes an independent Kashmir an urgent desideratum. It needs a satellite nation to serve as military base…


As a necessary prelude, the opinion-making industry has to be pushed into top gear. Useful idiots are aplenty. The Wall Street Journal is currently promoting Kashmiri Muslim journalist-turned-novelist Basharat Peer on its blog India Real Time. Peer’s Curfewed Night narrates Kashmir’s growing Intifada, the departure of young boys to the ‘other side’ for arms training to kill civilians in India, and the return of those not tough enough. It describes the inventive use of local radio in Occupied Kashmir to inform families that the ‘missing’ one is safe in the bosom of Jihad trainers.


Most remarkable is the complete omission of the rape, brutality and genocide that drove the miniscule Pandit community out of the Valley; the unwillingness of Muslim civil society to stand up for human values; and the combined reluctance and inability of families to prevent youth from crossing the border, to be transformed into killing machines.


Yet Peer demands sympathy for this intolerant community, battened for over six decades with the hard-earned money of the Indian, mainly Hindu, taxpayer. Ensconced in New York as fellow of George Soros’ Open Society Institute, which played a lead role in the Coloured Revolutions in former Soviet Republics (Uzbekistan escaped after Mikhail Gorbachev told Islam Karimov to expel the Open Society), Peer plans to write about ‘Kashmiris living under Indian rule’ – shame.


Peer claims the militancy in the Valley (read religious hysteria that ethnic-cleansed the Hindu population) is a ‘political response’ to an alleged erosion of Kashmir’s autonomy and democratic political space. And stone throwing, he says, is just a continuation of the demand for azadi. He blames the Army for civilian killings (“unabated human rights violations”) caused while restoring order. Not a word on Lashkar renting mobs of the kind we last saw in Nepal, where the monarchy was successfully driven out of the palace and the country surrendered to lasting chaos.


The Open Society Institute’s divisive agenda is clearly visible in Peer’s assertion that Kashmiri Muslims are very different from ‘Indian’ Muslims, as the former do not want to be ruled by India, while Indian Muslims chose to remain in India after the partition. This is the new myth we will be lulled with until the next Intifada begins in Aligarh…


Peer says that living in New York he has no problems with the attitude of the western world to Muslims in general as, in his incarnation as a writer, he doesn’t ever have to think about religion. If that were true, why would the Open Society Institute enroll him to write about his Kashmiri Muslim community?


When will India wake up to the fifth column role of Indians abroad? Choudhary Rahmat Ali was a ‘student’ in London when he invented the concept of Pakistan (more likely he accepted a brief from MI-5, just as Aga Khan accepted a signal to petition the Viceroy at Shimla and set up the Muslim League). Mohammad Ali Jinnah was practicing law for six years in London when he suddenly returned to India as saviour of the moribund Muslim League, to inexplicable success, one might add. Today, the Diaspora is being richly funded in America …


What takes the cake is Peer’s declaration that, “I still have an Indian passport as that is the only travel document available to anyone from the Indian-controlled-part of Kashmir. The question of my nationality continues to be a matter of dispute” (emphasis added).


This searing contempt for his native land sparked outrage in India. One reader wrote that radical Kashmiri Muslims work in tandem with Jihadi forces to destabilise the state and nation. He said that while in India, Peer was employed in top media houses because his father is an IAS officer; currently he is a Secretary in J&K State!


Mr Omar Abdullah and the political establishment of Kashmir must tell us, if Basharat Peer’s nationality is disputed, does the dispute also encompass his father’s nationality? This deserves the attention of the Prime Minister and President of India. How can they countenance continuation of an IAS officer with an ingrate son working openly against national unity and territorial integrity from foreign soil?


The author is Editor,
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