A senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary suggested on Monday that separatism was restricted to only “five districts” of Jammu & Kashmir that comprise “Kashmiri-speaking Sunni Muslims”—a category that includes former CM Omar Abdullah and PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti among others.
“Two of the three regions are not Muslim majority areas. 85,000 square kilometres are not…When you talk of separatism, there haven’t been any protests against India in this 85 per cent area till date,” Akhil Bharatiya Sah Sampark Pramukh of RSS Arun Kumar said. He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Parliament’s Unanimous Resolution on Jammu & Kashmir 22 February, 1994’.
“There’s one (sic) section of community—Kashmiri-speaking Sunni Muslims. I often ask channels, media, even common people that when you see a TV debate on Kashmir, who do you see? Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah, Gilani, Asiya Andrabi, Lone. Who are these people? There’s an area in Jammu & Kashmir comprising five districts where there is a section of community, Kashmiri-speaking Sunni Muslims. All of them are from there,” Kumar said.
He then said that J&K has around 12 per cent Shia Muslims, around 12-14 per cent Gujjar Muslims and around eight per cent Pahadi Rajput Muslims, but none of these communities had any separatist leaders.
“When Afzal Guru was hanged, the media made it appear as if the entire state was out on the streets. The reality was that out of 22 districts, there was not a single demonstration in 17 districts. Except for those five districts,” Kumar said.
He added: “Poonch has 90 per cent Muslims, Kargil has 90 per cent Muslims, Kargil city has more than 99 per cent Muslims…there was not a single protest. Our perception about J&K is that a battle between nationalism and separatism is going on for past 68 years. Nationalism has neither lost nor it will because in most areas of the state, majority of the people are nationalists”.
Kumar also said there is no dispute over J&K and the only issue relating to the state is “how to get back areas that are under the occupation of Pakistan and China”. “There is no dispute over Jammu & Kashmir. It is like any other state in the country,” he added.
Terming separatism, dispute and autonomy as three myths associated with the state, Kumar said the common perception is that J&K is a separatist state. “This is because J&K is perceived first as just Kashmir — a Kashmir which is a Muslim Kashmir, a Muslim Kashmir which is a separatist Kashmir…basically a Kashmir where Indian tricolor is burnt down and Pakistan’s flag is unfurled,” he added.