No More Betrayal Print
Written by Capt. S.K. Tikoo   
Sunday, 05 September 2010 00:00

Shah Faisal (not to be confused with the latest celebrity of the same name who secured a top spot in the list of successful candidates to the prestigious and exclusive Indian Administrative Service) was a young man of around 35 years of age. He belonged to Anantnag in Kashmir valley. He was quite tall and handsome, as most of the Kashmiris are, and was married to a charming and a sweet-tempered woman of the same district. Normally he should have been enjoying a happily married life in his home town, but it was not to be so for this unfortunate young man. He was virtually on the run for the last ten or twelve years, earning his livelihoodby doing some odd businesses in Delhi and Mumbai and made enough money to go in for a small dwelling unit for himself in Delhi. His visits to his home town were few and far between.

 

 

Why was he on the run? His only ‘crime’ was that he declined to be a part of the dreaded Hizb-ul-Mujahideen when he was just in his teens. When they put him on the death list, he chose to join the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon, a counter insurgency outfit floated by ex-terrorists to stop the spread of the Taliban type of Islam in the Valley. That was not his only fault; his father Ghulam Nabi Shah had committed another ‘heinous crime’ of contesting the 1996 J&K legislative assembly elections on a BJP ticket. This Shah Faisal, who was also known as Jeela Shah, visited his home in Anantnag some ten days ago, to be by the side of his wife who had delivered a baby a few days earlier. Poor Jeela Shah suffered a massive heart attack and died before any medical treatment could be provided to him. The family was in a shock, but worse was yet to come. The bereaved family heard blaring announcements being made from nearby mosques ordering the neighbors and other village folk not to attend his funeral, but even that was not all. Another diktat from the mosque, the House of God, “Jeela Shah cannot be buried in his ancestral graveyard,” was the last nail in the coffin of the bereaved family. His poor old father, with the help of family members which included the womenfolk too, dug out a grave in their courtyard and buried their darling Jeela there. 

 

Well-meaning neighbors, amongst them some Islamic scholars, whispered that this diktat was absolutely un-Islamic, but chose to remain mum on the subject lest they be the victims of  the SANG BAAZ crowd. Now imagine the plight of the bereaved family--they have to live with the torture of seeing the grave holding the mortal remains of their beloved Jeela every morning, afternoon and evening till they are alive. A punishment in perpetuity for the entire family for not only being Indians but having the guts to say so publicly. Nobody came to their rescue, neither the state, the civil society, nor the Ulema. All looked the other way. And the media published the story that an Ikhwani  was buried in his home because the leaders did not allow his body to be buried in his family graveyard. How inhuman and how bizarre. But that is what has happened to Kashmiri (Kashmiri Muslim) society, the so-called leaders who are calling the shots these days are bent upon de-humanizing the hapless Kashmiri society. They have already succeeded to an extent.

The episode narrated above should not be seen in isolation. It fits into the pattern woven by the likes of Syed Ali Shah Geelani in recreating the ghost of Ikhwanis. Print and electronic media in the Valley is abuzz with fake stories of revival of Ikhwanis, that Ikhwanis have been approached by authorities to activate themselves and fight the scourge of separatist stone-pelters, street urchins and hooligans. Even the Padma Shri awardee Moma Kanna was interviewed by the media and asked if he was approached by the authorities to re-activate himself and his Ikhwan. He denied having been approached by any one and this poor Indian tendered an unqualified apology to the QUAM for any wrong done by him in his earlier avatar as a known counterinsurgent. Qasim Khar, another very well known counterin surgent of the nineties belonging to Shia community and a native of Sumbal, has reportedly admitted to media persons that he was indeed approached by powers that be to re-start the outfit and give a befitting response to these secessionists. Print and electronic media in the Valley are, as usual, playing a devious game by giving wide publicity to the agenda set by the Geelani-led Tehrik-i-Hurriyat. The agenda is twofold: 1) to expose the  surviving Ikhwanis who are otherwise living a life of anonymity and obliquely ask the civil society to get rid of them (they did not spare even dead Jeela Shah who in any case had ceased to be an Ikhwani some 15 years back), and 2) to forewarn the general public who are already showing signs of fatigue due to this long senseless and purposeless stone pelting agitation (which has already claimed some sixty-four young lives) to desist from open defiance of the weekly calendar issued by Geelani or his side-kick Masarrat Alam (who, it is widely believed, is enjoying the hospitality of a big Srinagar-based Hurriyat leader and is fully  and justifiably  convinced that no police force will ever dare to raid the hideout) lest they be labeled as Ikhwanis.  

For the information of the readers, I can say with authority and full responsibility that the Padma Shri awardee, Moma Kanna, was never a part of the organization earlier known as Ikhwan ul Muslimeen (as insurgents), then renaming itself as Ikhwan ul Muslimoon, and finally dropping the word Muslimoon and emerging as only Ikhwan as a very effective counter insurgent outfit. The same is true about Qasim Khar and many others whose names appear in the local media as ex-Ikhwanis. The aim is not to deny and downplay the role of these loyal Indians in getting rid of the anti-Kashmiri and anti-AITIQADI Islamists; however, labeling every Kashmiri Muslim who played a role in the turbulent nineties against terrorism either individually or collectively is questionable.

And then why resurrect the ghost of Ikhwan at this time when Ikhwan is history, dead and gone? How is it that Swami Agnivesh visits the troubled Valley for three days along with four more JHOLAWALAS and meets only Hurriyat leaders now? How is it that P Chidambram, the honorable Home Minister, makes a loaded statement that something concrete is being worked out to solve the Kashmir tangle at this stage? And how is it that the both CPI and CPI(M) send identical signals of granting ‘concessions and more’ to the people of the J&K state when the secessionist and separatist agitation is limited to the parts of the Valley which does not form even 1/6th of the total area of the state, and Islamic fanaticism is the only driving force as admitted by the ‘select secular’ English speaking Kashmiri Muslim youth brigade in a TV show anchored by a rabid anti-Indian and pro-separatist anchorperson? Another youthful leader of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat, in a TV debate hosted by another TV channel recently, admitted that religion (Islam) was the sole inspiration for their agitation. What a farce, the comrades are supporting them.

A word about Swami Agnivesh--it was news to me to learn that this SWAMI, whose real name is a well guarded secret, holds a degree in Law and Economics, and (hold your breath) the man worked as a lecturer of Business Management at St Xavier’s College, Kolkatta. That this Chhatisgarh-born gentleman, who is always robed in saffron garments from head to toes, was a Minister of Education in Haryana from 1979 to 1982 means nothing when compared to his earlier assignment. After all, you can be an Enn O pass, yet be a Minister of Education in any Indian State. I wish I could tell my readers in detail about his escapades in the Valley where he spent three full days. Those who have access to the internet please read his full interview to Syed Basharat in Kashmir Times dated Sep3, 2010. Some of his gems are here:

“If Kashmiris stand united, show patience and perseverance, justice is bound to come, if not sooner but later.” (The statement seems quite loaded; I leave it to wise Kashmiri Muslims to interpret it.)

“I salute separatist leader Geelani for his evolution from his earlier stand as staunch supporter of merger with Pakistan to seeking full Independence.”(Does Swami stand for vivisection of India that is Bharat?)

“And no power on earth can suppress the urge for freedom. It is the highest and God-given urge. Allah gives that urge. No other power or education can give you that urge. In that sense, an urge for freedom has to be appreciated and shared just as we. India under the British had a profound urge for freedom. And we made all sacrifices. And even when we were told by the British ‘No, no, no, if we give you freedom you will not be able to rule your country, you will make a mess, not sustain your country,’ Gandhiji  said ‘You get out and we will see whatever we can do with our country.” (Poor Bapu will be turning in his grave.)

“Geelani is a kind, compassionate human being.” (How kind he is, please read my piece on Geelani in the July issue of Koshur Samachar {editor’s note: a leading Kashmiri montly newsmagazine published in New Delhi, India}).

“We don’t utilize his character for nation building. Instead we are pushing him to the wall and cornering him. I think he has great leadership potential in him.” (Beware Dr. Man Mohan Singh and Rahul Baba).

Lastly, I don’t want Geelani to fall in Swami’s trap and get ready for talks with GOI. Poor Azad of CPI (Mao) made the mistake and paid the price. Listen to what Swami says about his meeting with a senior functionary of GOI: “I could read ‘Let us eliminate a few more of them (Maoist leaders) and then they will be weaker, and then may be the dialogue will start, on our conditions and terms.’”  

Let it be known to everybody that the SANG BAAZ agitation is in its last phase, it is on its death bed gasping for breath. Kashmiri Muslims have already started showing defiance in higher reaches of the Valley where, as per reports, life has already returned to normal. Though small in numbers but quite significantly, young men in scores if not in hundreds marched through the streets of Srinagar, demanding reopening of educational institutions. Imams in various mosques now dare to question the very essence of this never ending and aimless agitation which has brought nothing but misery to the people in their Friday Khutbas. Geelani is seeing his defeat steering in his eyes, and he is raising the bogey of Ikhwan as an alibi.  Kashmiri Muslims are, this time, determined to put the last nail on the coffin of separatism; there only worry is they will be betrayed yet again. They openly ask a question, “Look what they did to those who literally brought Kashmir back to India and while doing so, not only did they lose their own lives but in many cases their entire families were wiped out, they(GOI and State govt.) ignored the ones who survived.” They are concerned that all these Agniveshs, Karats, Bardans and Jangs are being pressed into infusing oxygen to the dying patient. My only request to the powers that be is to wait for some more time--don’t be in a rush to offer any concessions in the shape of greater autonomy or self rule. People at large don’t want it and it means nothing but to a small but dedicated and aggressive band of agitators led by Geelani who want the Kashmir Valley, and if possible the whole state of J&K, to be either a part of Pakistan or an independent Islamic State ruled by Shariah.

And ensure Geelani lives to see the day when Kashmiris in lakhs will throng the streets of the Valley shouting old and popular slogans such as ‘Hindu Muslim Sikh Itehad’, ‘Naya Kashmir Zindabad’ and ‘Jamhouriya Hind Zindabad’ as they did in the mid-nineties. That day is not far off. But just have patience, let Geelani and his ilk stew in their own juice. Just let the world know, we can take care of secessionists and anti national elements. Please don’t be in a hurry.