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“Quit Kashmir Movement” in Kashmir – is it a mere gimmick and a bit late call?

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By very closely following the colonialist traditions, India also has been making strenuous efforts to make Kashmir an “integral” part of Indian territory Indianite Kashmir with Indian military personnel, police, intelligence, officals, Hindus, and others to outnumber Kashmiri Muslims as quickly as possible.

Land grabbing in Kashmir valley has been going on for years officially. By accelerating Hindu religious operations like Amarnath yatra with help from pro-India elements who rule and promote colonialist operations, New Delhi has been very apt in saffronize Kashmir for pure political advantages.

.In carefully pushing the RSS backed BJP into a post poll alliance (only after the elections with a hung assembly) .with major Kashmir political outfits like national Conference or PDP,   India has achieved full control over Kashmiri Muslims as well. Now literally the BJP and Indian government decides the political course in Kashmir.

Indian Forces damage property worth millions in North & Central Kashmir

Thus far world looks at Kashmir as a dispute between India and Pakistan where Kashmiris do not play an role at all. Thus far, Kashmiris freedom seekers projected their fight with India only to win Kashmir for Pakistan. In other words, world understands that Kashmiris are not fighting for sovereignty and freedom for reestablishing an independent Jammu Kashmir but only to become a part of a destabilized and weak Pakistan. Maybe Kashmiris want the support of Pakistan to obtain sovereignty but Pakistan has made it clear it has been fighting for Kashmir not to enable Kashmiris to build up their own home but in order only to make Kashmir a part of Pakistan. This impression, for whatever reasons, has only complicated the desire of Kashmiris for freedom as India and Pakistan continue to let the world know that Kashmir belongs to them and are only using Kashmiris to to get Kashmir for themselves as per joint strategy.

For the first time since Jammu Kashmir was invaded and made a part of both India and Pakistan in bits, Kashmiri freedom fighting pro-Pakistani leader Syed Geelani has announced a struggle to oust India from Kashmir. One hears slogans like these ever wherein Kashmir: “STOP VIOLENCE, India GO HOME!! INDIAN SOLDIERS, Please GO HOME!!”

Syed Ali Shah Geelani has launched a Quit Kashmir Movement today asking deployed Indian soldiers in disputed Jammu & Kashmir to go home. An email received by Kashmir Watch here today says that the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani will march tomorrow (27th August) to 15 corp Hqs of Indian Army at Badami Bagh Srinagar at 2:00 pm and handover the following letter to GOC in-charge asking him to vacate Jammu and Kashmir. People in Jammu and Kashmir and all over the world are urged to mail this letter to Indian Army, Indian Armed Forces, Indian Navy, BSF, CRPF, ITBP and CISF stationed in the UN recognized disputed states of Jammu & Kashmir.

Geelani said: “Even though your actions have killed one lakh people, disappeared ten thousand and orphaned more than sixty thousand children to subdue us collectively and to make us surrender our fundamental right of freedom, yet the emotion of love and reverence that martyrdom of Commander Burhan Wani mobilized across and beyond Kashmir, should open your eyes. The more you strike us down, the more we shall rise with renewed determination and vigor. We are in the process of liberating our minds and the days of freedom are in sight. This is the time for you to see the writing on the wall and think upon what you always intended to do and what it has presented you with always.

You thought your violence would kill our dreams for freedom. They have not. You thought our spirit would break; we would turn against each other. We will not. You have succeeded in murder, but not in the death of our dreams. Before more violence, before more sorrow, before more graves, we ask you to stop.

Ours is a rich and resilient culture. We are proud people whose hospitality has defined our history. We welcome guests, invited or uninvited, not invaders. We understand your deception, your psychological warfare. You will be tired of killing us; some day you might be horrified at what you have done to humanity. We will never tire of struggling for our history, for our future, our freedom. We will not forgive. We will not forget.

Since we believe, there must be some humanity left in your persons as sons, brothers, husbands, fathers and as people; we appeal you to lend solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir for our rightful self-determination, and the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to be free. We call on your conscience to end the long chapter of deception, tyranny and death. Therefore, we appeal and urge you to leave our land. Save your individual conscience and help your national soul with healing that only comes from acknowledgement and acceptance of truth, i.e. People of Jammu and Kashmir are not with India and will never be…..”

Observation

However, notwithstanding huge loss of Muslim lives in Kashmir, Hurriyet leader Geelani has not clearly mentioned about a soverign Kashmir for Kashmiris. He has not made any effort to link Kashmir freedom struggle with international freedom movements or initiated any steps to coordinate the Kashmiri struggle with other such movements across the globe – that would have got the political mileage it deserves globally.

Geelani should know only “united, they stand” and can force the government in New Delhi to initiate steps for withdrawal from Kashmir. He needs to change his own mind in favor of an independent Kashmir and lead the people to achieve that sacred goal.

In Kashmir military decides everything. A recent report that Kashmiri kids have been thrashed by CRPF in South Kashmir reveals what India has been doing in Kashmir with support from pro-India elements.

While Kashmiris would never forgive Mehbooba led government for atrocities against Muslims in Kashmir, the way India has been preceding with its plan of grabbing lands in Kashmir makes it clear about Indian future agenda in there. As Kashmiri separatists continue to promote Pakistani interests, property worth millions was damaged by Indian forces in Bangdara Kreeri village of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Saturday when they went on a rampage hitting parked vehicles, entering into houses smashing television sets, electronic gadgets, furniture and other goods. Locals told news agency CNS that government forces went on rampage in the village.

Indian government forces hit people with gun butts and sticks, even didn’t spare women and children. Every house was targeted. We are shocked to see the extent of damage caused by these government gunmen. Locals said that a peaceful mild protest was going on in the area when government forces emerged in the village. “They let loose a reign of terror. Every parked vehicle was targeted and windshields were damaged. Motorcycles and scooters were targeted. The TV sets, refrigerators, laptops, and other electronic gadgets were smashed into pieces,” said locals.

When contacted a police official said that he will look into the matter. Similar reports from Wusan Kangan said that government forces created mayhem in the area, thrashed people and damaged property. “The unbridles men in uniform were so rude that they didn’t even spare teenage girls and little children. They beat up all, damaged our houses, vehicles and electronic gadgets. We will never forgive Mehbooba led government for these atrocities,” locals said.

Meanwhile, the family members of three minor kids from South Kashmir’s Kulgam district alleged that ‘unbriddled’ CRPF personnel beat them to pulp while they were on way to their orchards. The minors who have received multiple injuries were identified as Basit Ahmed (12), Muhammad Huzaib (8) and Sahil Ahmed (10) all residents of Gulshan Abad Koimouh. “It were local policemen who saved our kids from CRPF. These kids are unable to walk due to sound thrashing,” the family members told CNS. The family members said that neither any protest nor stone-pelting was going on in the area nor yet their kids were targeted. “The incident speaks volumes about the lawlessness prevailing in the district,” they said.

While pro-India elements serve the cause of India, the pro-freedom or separatists only help Pakistan. Thus they promote colonialism in South Asia.

Leaders of Kashmir should stop and end betrayal of Kashmiris.

They should also stop confusing the world.

They have to erase the impression that they work and speak for India or Pakistan, thereby promoting colonialism and state terrorism.  

Quit Kashmir Movement in Kashmir could remind India of its own “Quit India movement” that eventually won freedom from British government, even though that freedom meant only for the rich and compote lords. Today, both India and Pakistan, backed by both USA and UK, are being looted by the corrupt politicians.

Will Kashmir freedom movement leaders be sincere and honest with people?

That indeed is a trillion dollar question!

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South Asia

‘External forces’ won’t decide the actions of New Delhi

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India’s farmer’s protest is in the news for a while for the obvious reasons. In a democracy there should be protests, it keeps the power balanced. However, in India, the protestors and the government are both facing a common challenge, that is the external influence. To which, Indian External Affairs Minister and other government wings already made public statements. Before understanding the external factors, one needs to look into the farmer’s protest.

What are the farm laws?

Last year Government of India passed three laws in order to bring a reform in the agriculture sector in India, which are:

  1. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act – provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi (marketplace) tax imposed by the state governments.
  2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance – Allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.
  3. Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act – amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations.

According to the government – the new laws will help to strengthen basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. Successive governments have found financial constraints in investing in farm and rural infrastructure. It is argued that with food markets growing exponentially in India, private players would make agriculture profitable for the farmers.

Why farmers are protesting?

It’s been around 3 months since the Farmers are protesting in North India, on the highways en-route Delhi. Despite having rounds of talks between the government and the farmers, they’re yet to find a common understanding.

Farmers are worried as they feel this may impact the existing structure and lead to the corporatization of the agriculture sector in which the big corporations will exploit the farmers. Moreover, the new farm bill talks about the establishment of the private Agriculture Produce Market Committee, which in turn will end the role of middleman involved in the market, However, the middleman is seen by farmers, not as one exploiting them but one who provides services to them. Their number in two states – Punjab & Haryana could cross 100,000. So, farmers and middleman fear that this will ultimately result in huge job loss and impact the structure.

Another point farmers fears that from individual-to-individual relation, these bills will change the market into the individual to corporate relations. With a changed dispute settlement mechanism the farmers also are worried that their pleas could not get the desired settlement.

MSP – Minimum Support Price is another demand forwarded by the farmers, which they apprehend that allowing outside-APMC trade of farm produces would lead to lesser buying by the government agencies in the approved Mandis (marketplace). The protesting farmers say the new laws would thus make the MSP system irrelevant and they would not have any assured income from their farming. Right now, the government announces fixed MSP for around two dozen crops.

The working of the MSP system has been such over the years that it benefits only a handful of farmers at the all-India level. The Shanta Kumar committee set up by the Modi government in 2015 says that only six percent of farmers benefit from the MSP regime.

The catch here is that for farmers of some states such as Punjab and Haryana, the MSP system has worked well. In these two states procurement of paddy and wheat range around 75-80 per cent.

So, the fear that the MSP system may crumble and get dismantled after the new farm laws are implement has become a very emotive issue for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. And, that is why they are the ones who are most vocal in their protest against the farm laws and demanding that the MSP should be made mandatory for both APMC and private Mandis (marketplace).

The government, however, is constantly in touch with the farmers and trying to resolve the issues through dialogue and till then the laws have been kept on hold while talks are held.

External group’s interference

Many external elements are interfering in the protests and challenging the government, including a few fringes and notorious separatist organisations which are based and nurtured by the West during the days of the cold war days for the obvious reasons. In the garb of human rights and democracy, they know it very well that how to destabilise a nation. There are many examples in front of us, the Russian protests being one of them. 

The world has seen how after the new U.S. government’s arrival in the United States set the narrative for the socialist lobby around the world. President Trump very well assessed the threats of such groups and kept them in check but the new administration seems to propagate their ideology as the state policy. 

When President Biden said, “We must meet the ‘new moment’ accelerating global challenges” it indicates toward continuing the policies of Obama administration with new added ‘Biden’ characteristics. 

The tweets by American celebrities and people with clear political leaning are not about the protests, they in fact, do not know much about the protest, and their idea is to attack the ideology which doesn’t meet theirs. India is a land of protests, revolution, ideas and ideologies and both the Government of India and Indians respect the thoughts across the spectrum.

One of the American Congresswomen said that she will continue to monitor this situation closely and another expressed the solidarity but their thoughts are not driven by the plights of farmers, rather a particular ideology.

Recently, the State Department welcomed the reforms by the Indian government and also advocates for the protests. Which is contradicting in itself. India as a bearer of an Independent Foreign Policy should avoid any validation by any foreign government and let not the tweets by a particular mindset decide the course of protest or government actions.

India as a democracy respect different ideas but can’t allow any ‘vested interest’ groups influence any actions by New Delhi.

From our partner International Affairs

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Forced Cremation: Another bout of marginalisation in Sri Lanka

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A thermometer gun is used to take a boy's temperature in Sri Lanka. © UNICEF/Chameera Laknath

The agony of the Sri Lankan civil war is not worn off from history as yet. The 26-year war decimated the foundations of the country and highlighted the separatist fragment of the society. The massacre of the Muslim community and the wounds left to fester since 1990’s riots have still not subsided even after three decades. While the clash of the Sinhalese and Tamils climaxed in 2009, the violence against the Muslim minority never ceased. The recent strike over the rights of minorities is the forceful cremation of the deceased in the line of Covid prevention adopted by the Sri Lankan government. Regardless of the religious doctrines guiding the final proceedings of the dead, the Sri Lankan regime continues to ploy to utilise the pandemic as a tool to forcefully cremate the deceased Muslims irrespective of the sentiments of the Muslim families.

Sri Lanka, officially known as the ‘Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka’, is a South Asian country forming a tear-drop below the Indian subcontinent and located at the southwestern edge of the Bay of Bengal. The country was bloodied by the infamous civil war that incited in 1983; claiming mounds of lives and consuming countless communities. The 1990 Massacre was the flash point of the civil war; mosques attacked in the town of Batticaloa resulting in 300 Muslims brutally slain as a drive against the Sinhalese government. The end of the civil war should have marked an end to the inhumanity bestowed upon the Muslim minority given the fall of the ‘Tamil Tigers’; the main culprits of the 1990 massacre. However, the religious violence exponentiated instead of contracting under the Sinhalese dominated Sri Lanka as the anti-Muslimism campaigns picked up pace over the last decade, leaving the Muslim minority, making only 9% of the total population, insecure with respect to safety of life and prosperity.

Over the course of the decade, the spree of violence and discrimination against the Muslims transitioned into bloody chaos claiming mosques, shops and even crippling entire towns dwelled by the Muslims. The anti-Muslimism rhetoric led by the extremist Buddhist group ‘Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)’, backed by the Sinhalese government, paved the riots against the Muslim community in the form of mobs ravaging the Muslim towns during systematic protests. The repeated calls for protection went unheeded by the Sinhalese Buddhist Revivalist Groups, further nudging and encouraging the extremist monks to spread hatred against the Muslim community which came across as the mobster mentality boldly continued to oppress the Muslims.

The Human Rights abuse under the regime of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, has surpassed all the records of injustice etched in the Sri Lankan history. His promises to bring back the Muslims displaced amidst the civil war went in vain and he proved to be as much of a biased leader as his brother. When Gotabaya came into power in 2019, the Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalist Party (SLPP) had been mongering extremism under the pretence of mob-attacks while backing groups like BBS to simmer hatred and prejudice against the Muslim community. The Rajapaksa brothers are notorious of their Burma-like mentality of ethnic cleansing, rumoured to be following the footsteps of Myanmar to thin the Muslim minority in a similar exercise of genocide as against the Rohingya Muslims. Though the ‘ethnic cleaning’ allegations have been repeatedly put down by the SLPP leaders, the historical bloodletting of the Muslim community and the irrational policies adopted under the charter of litigation point to a very different and bleak picture of politics in Sri Lanka.

Since the Sri Lankan government adopted the mandatory cremation policy in March 2020, more than 80 deceased Muslims have been forcibly cremated against the will of their families. While the Rajapaksa-regime uses forced cremation as another tool to torment the Muslim community by trampling on their basic rights in the guise of Covid-prevention, World Health Organisation (WHO), along with the Sri Lankan doctors, has rejected the justification provided by President Gotabaya for adopting cremation as a safety procedure to prevent water contamination due to rituals related to burial. Despite of the assurance of WHO, the Sri Lankan government not only refused to consider burial as an accepted method but even the Supreme Court expended no time to shun the petitions filed against the forcible cremation law, pushing injustice in the face of the Muslim minorities. The UN experts remarked on the systematic persecution of the Muslim community: “We deplore the implementation of such Public Health decisions based on discrimination, aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism amounting to persecution of the Muslims and other minorities of the county”.

It is clear from the stern attitude of the Rajapaksa-regime that it aims to undermine the voice of the minorities by crushing the rights and subsequently silencing the protests that ensue from the inhuman treatment. Though the global political circles have responded strictly to the ghastly abuse of power in Sri Lanka; UK being the prime country to hold active protests against the violation of human rights and even UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, threatening sanctions on Sri Lanka for proactively transgressing the rights of minorities. However, despite of the pressure building up, the spokesperson of the Sri Lankan government, Keheliya Rambukwella, rebutted the allegations by stating: “We do things only on expert advice and cannot take ad-hoc decisions”. The juvenile statements followed by the aggressive attempts to subterfuge the global community are enough to expose the extremist mindset of the Sri Lankan government. The debacle that is to follow, in retrospect, could be far worse than the civil war since even the dead are not spared of the tyranny in today’s day and age.

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From Gandhi to Modi: Exploitation of Svadharma

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Hinduism is depicted as the world’s oldest religion, with roots and customs dating back to more than a 4,000 years. As of now, it constitutes of around 900 million followers, and is the 3rd most practiced religion after Christianity and Islam. In essence, Hinduism carries main concern over the mind, spirit and body of individuals, where non-violent actions that result spiritual peace of these identities are idealized. Moving forward, the central notion of Hinduism revolves around dharma, which can be associated with the overall duties and responsibilities of individuals in society, with accordance to ethical and moral practices that highlight non-violence. Notwithstanding, Hindus are also disposed to choosing their individual dharma in accord with their consciousness, intellect, and circumstances. This is coined as svadharma, and includes the duties and responsibilities of Hindus in relation to fellow beings and the total environment they reside in. Consequently, the attainment of peace is promoted through fulfilment of life goals, and the abandonment of stormy conditions. Since Svadharma as a concept is up for interpretation, it varies from individual to individual. In fact, due to its subjective nature, it also leaves room for religious exploitation in the lust for political objectives. This essay will aim to put forward the true depiction of svadharma through analyzing Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s Satyagraha; adding on, the exploitation for political incentives shall be explained through BJP’s Hindutva ideology.

To begin, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s interpretation of svadharma resulted in Satyagraha, which can be portrayed as a revolutionary step towards non-violent non- cooperation against the British rule in India. Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha was a natural outcome of the supreme concept of truth. According to which, if the truth can be deemed as the ultimate reality, its protection is critical. Hence, Satyagraha refers to the exercise of the truth against all injustices, oppressions and exploitations; which ultimately results in peace on an individual and societal level. It essentially embodies the notion of peace from Hinduism. To add on, for the attainment of fighting oppression through non-violent means, he embraced yogic strength to endure the most intense physical pain, including food and sleep deprivation without any flinching or any fear. Gandhi served as an influence to millions of his unarmed followers, through serving as a symbol of divine strength and passion. Consequently, a mass revolution was launched against the then British Empire, formally regarded as the non-cooperation movement.

 In order to stay true to the divine and peaceful teachings of Hinduism, he commanded individuals to undertake the process of obeying the civil and moral laws of the state, while simultaneously resisting laws that were oppressive and barbaric. As a result, Gandhi laid down certain standards of moral discipline for the Satyagraha process, which were: complete faith in God in order to calmly bear the physical barbarisms directed towards individuals by the British forces, not yearning after wealth and fame, submitting to the leader of the Satyagraha unit, absolutely fearlessness and firmness against brutality, single-minded purposefulness, and individuals losing sight of their duty through the virtue of anger or any other passion. Thus, Gandhi wanted to incorporate attitudes penetrating towards toleration and acceptance of the hardships that came along with this movement. Overall, Gandhi’s svadharma allowed him to attain political gains without resorting to violence, which resulted in peaceful change. In Gandhi’s words, complete civil disobedience through refusing to serve compliance to state- made-law can be an extremely powerful movement. In fact, it can become more effective in comparison to than an armed rebellion; as, it does not include the suffering of the innocent individuals on a wide scale.

Satyagraha was a peaceful and inclusive movement that arose of svadharma; nevertheless, the concept of svadharma also introduced Hindutva, which is an extremist ideology with aims to disintegrate India’s secular outlook through transforming the country into a Hindu Rasht (a majoritarian Hindu religious-nationalist state that directs its 200 million Muslims and 30 million Christians into second-class citizens). In theory this concept goes against the very teachings of Hinduism, which revolves around peace and non-violence. Nevertheless, the concept of svadharma has been exploited and misused; as, Hindu extremists incorporate this notion to justify their horrific acts to attain political interests. The word Hindutva was introduced by the 20th century ideologue V.D. Savarkar, and it literally means “Hinduness.” The central concept was the embodiment of religious nationalism with territorial belongings and citizenship. Meaning, being an Indian was equated to following the religion of Hinduism; as, India was the spiritual motherland of Hindus. This was a problem for Indian Muslims and Christians; as, their holy lands were constituents of other states. Therefore, Hindutva followers disregarded Muslims and Christians as citizens of India. The current Indian government Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been assimilated under the ideology of Hindutva, and this notion has brought them popularity in India. In fact, this ideology was incorporated by them to come into power, which highlights the exploitation of svadharma. As a result, forcible integration into an outward Hinduness is being conducted in India. In recent years, India has witnessed Hindutva extremists killing Muslims due to various reasons ranging from consumption of beef to failing to chant the slogan “Jai Shri Ram” to hail a Hindu deity. Such actions are being conducted in order to compel the non-Hindu population into embracing Hinduism. However, at the end of the day, Hindutva is simply an exploitation of svadharma; as, it does not acquire to its peaceful and non-violent requirements. Moreover, svadharma aims to bring about peace on an individual and societal level; and, Hindutva is simply leading to chaos and riots in India. Through this the fact that Hindutva was a political goal for Modi to come into power is highlighted.

In conclusion, Hinduism is a religion that promotes the concept of non-violence and peaceful co-existence. Over the years, svadharma has been carried out by multiple personalities across India, in order to highlight their roles and responsibilities in insuring a peaceful through their personal interpretation, most notable of which are Gandhi and Modi. Nevertheless, the difference lies in their intentions and ultimate goal. While Gandhi carried a goal of attaining interests of the Indian population through non-violent means, Modi carried the aim of coming into power. Thus, Modi did not follow the true essence of svadharma and simply exploited.

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