By Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad
Sikander, New Age Islam
30 June 2018
The dispute of Jammu
and Kashmir (J&K) is a legacy of partition of the Indian subcontinent. It
has been an entity of contested claims both by India and Pakistan. The worst
sufferers of this dispute have been the inhabitants of the state of J&K.
The stakes of India and Pakistan have led to creation of a class that is loyal
to their pay masters for different perks and privileges. This class with vested
interests keeps the pot of the conflict boiling and do not want it to be
resolved anytime soon as they will lose access to unaccountable money and power
that they are enjoying by peddling the Kashmir conflict. The conflict surely
has become an industry for these vested interests that sabotage every move
aimed at resolution of this long pending issue.
Since 1990s when the
mass armed insurgency started in J&K, truth has been rendered a casualty.
In the midst of blaring propaganda, prevailing anarchy and confusion the truth
has became a casualty. The masses were at the receiving end, too naïve to
understand factual realities amidst violence and daily killings. Not only the
insurgents, combatants, uniformed men became cannon fodder of the insurgency
but the opinion makers, social activists, ideologues and politically affiliated
people were also targeted indiscriminately. These high profile killings of
apparently apolitical people were owned by none of the insurgent groups or
state institutions. In most cases the rival parties i.e. insurgents and the state
blamed the assassinations on each other. Both of these rivals would pay
glorious tributes to the assassinated individuals. Thus in the end the killings
would be blamed on unknown gunmen.
The latest casualty of
these unknown gunmen in Kashmir is Shujaat Bukhari. Shujaat was a powerful
editor of four multi lingual newspapers published from the valley. Further he
was a high profile civil society member who was involved in track two
diplomatic efforts on Kashmir, between India and Pakistan. Some blame his killing
again on these unknown gunmen and point out to his participation in track two
efforts that became a reason for his assassination. The police is still
investigating the murder and militants have blamed the Indian security agencies
for the killing while demanding a probe through an international agency.
Leaving aside the
dichotomy and controversy surrounding the death of Shujaat, the masks of these
unknown gunmen still remain to be unveiled. The pertinent question has always
been avoided and none is ready to engage with the same? Who are these unknown
gunmen? During their lives every public person is controversial; some remain
shrouded in mystery even after death. But the bravado created around the
personalities after their death, makes the controversies and mysteries
surrounding their lives, works and engagements go down in oblivion. We have yet
to be mature enough to balance every personality according to merits. We have a
persistent problem of compartmentalizing people in boxes of right and wrong. We
then either condemn them out rightly or paint them as saints and heroes whose
loss is always irreparable.
All those people who
were vehemently critical of Shujaat during his life were not behind issuing
condemnations against his gruesome assassination. This failure to criticize or
introspect any personality after death has leaded us to a deadly morass. It has
rendered us blind to our faults. For us a person can be with us or against us,
there is no middle ground and those who intend to find one are pressurized to
join a camp because both India and Pakistan, mainstream and resistance
politicians, armed forces and insurgents do not want any neutral voices to
emerge strongly as to create a niche among the ‘stake holders’ on Kashmir. Even
most of the civil society members are being sponsored by various clandestine
hands and promoted to defend and peddle a certain narrative.
Many right wing
ideologues and politicians like Lal Singh while warning other journalists to
mend their ways described Shujaat as an apologist for insurgents that simply
translates to peddle a given narrative and surrender their independence and
freedom to report. This is not the case with right wing ideologues only but
other politicians and ideologues of different hues also want neutral, saner and
independent voices to fall in line. Now coming back to the question of truth,
given the previous experience of probes and investigation turns in high profile
killings, the real assassins of Shujaat will remain under veils. We have
experienced similar results in the killings of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, Prof.
Mashir ul Haq, Dr Qazi Nisar, Dr Ghulam Qadir Wani, Prof. Abdul Ahad Wani, Dr
Farooq Ashai and Dr Guru. Their killers were never brought to the book. But the
time has now come to unveil these forces of darkness who do not want the
resolution of Kashmir. Whenever the bridges for dialogue and resolution are
made they are ready to burn them.
Someone, some cause,
some ideology has to take the blame! Police have now declared a Pakistani
militant and two Kashmiri militants as murderers, who happen to belong to
Lashkar e Toiba (LeT). LeT had already blamed the killing on Indian security
agencies. Anyways whosoever was the culprit but the question needs to be probed
is what made his assassins pull the trigger? Did the track two diplomatic
efforts became a reason for his killing, did his brave reporting against
military atrocities on common civilians was a bone of contention for his
assassins or was he being witnessed as a double cross by both India and Pakistan
and its spy agencies for the reasons best known to them? What percolated down
at the much hyped Dubai conference? Who sponsored it, what was the outcome?
What prompted Salahuddin, head of United Jihad Council issue a statement
against the same? Whose stakes were threatened by the conference? These
questions have to be asked and seriously revisited in the common discourse.
Otherwise truth that has been a casualty in Kashmir will continue to be so.
This status quo on factual realities and truth will continue to add confusion
and anarchy to the discourse as Kashmir. In this prevailing anarchy stray
bullets will continue to kill and the reasons will continue to evade us.
M.H.A. Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar,
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in
Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In
Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women
in West, Islam Women and Feminism