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The jihad comes to Kashmir

Not long ago in the lobby of the Oberoi Hotel in Delhi I ran into Yasin Malik. He was with his pretty Pakistani wife and they were off to dine in the Italian restaurant....

Written by Tavleen Singh |
July 11, 2010 3:30:26 am

Not long ago in the lobby of the Oberoi Hotel in Delhi I ran into Yasin Malik. He was with his pretty Pakistani wife and they were off to dine in the Italian restaurant. After sharing a laugh about meeting an ex-terrorist in the lobby of a five-star hotel,we talked about Kashmir and I said jokingly that people in India were so sick of Kashmir that if I were Prime Minister I would give Kashmir its independence. He replied,quite seriously,that I would always be welcome to come and visit ‘my friend Yasin’ in his new country.

You know,I know and I think every stone-thrower and protester in the streets of Srinagar knows that ‘azaadi’ is not an option. It is never going to happen. From my brief encounters with General Pervez Musharraf in snowy Davos,I formed the impression that this is something he knew well. This is why he suggested in his last year in office that a solution in Kashmir could only come if everyone stepped back from their stated positions. The Kashmiris would have to give up their demand for complete independence,India would have to stop pretending that the problem was a domestic matter and Pakistan would have to give up its dream of absorbing Kashmir into the Islamic Republic. This was his analysis. According to experts in South Block,we came closer to an agreement on Kashmir when Musharraf was in power than at any time since 1947. But,it did not happen and Kashmir has erupted once more.

Children have been killed in police firing,Srinagar spent last week under total curfew,inflammatory speeches are being made from mosques and on a personal level I have been inundated with abusive tweets from Kashmiri Twitterers. They were provoked because I twittered about last week’s phone intercepts that recorded secessionist voices demanding more ‘martyrs’.

The conversation between a man,believed to be close to Hurriyat hawk,Ali Shah Geelani,and some other separatist was played on every major news channel last Thursday and my guess is that most Indians would have believed it to be authentic. This is because most Indians outside the Kashmir Valley have no sympathy with the so-called freedom movement. Whatever little there was dried up completely after 26/11. There remain a few human rights types led by the ex-novelist who continue to speak of India’s ‘occupation’ of Kashmir but you can count them on your fingers. Most Indians sympathise with the security forces and not the stone-throwers despite the tragic deaths of children in the past few weeks.

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The reason for this is that they sense that the worldwide jihad has changed the nature of the ‘freedom movement’ that began when Yasin Malik kidnapped Mehbooba Mufti’s sister in December 1989. As someone who wrote a book blaming the Government of India for the Kashmir problem ten years ago I confess that in my view things have changed since then. Dr Manmohan Singh’s government has gone out of its way to control human rights violations but it has made no difference. And,if we are to judge by last week’s telephone intercepts this is because there are jihadi groups behind the current agitation,groups that want innocent children to die so that ordinary people come into the streets to express their rage.

Anyone who has listened to the intercepted phone conversations from 26/11 knows that the jihadis have a cynical disdain for the loss of human life. A few dead children would mean nothing to them. What matters is the jihad and its goal of subjugating idol-worshipping,infidel India once more to the domination of Islam. This is their stated objective and you can look it up on their websites. Kashmir is a mere pawn in this grand plan. If by some miracle the Kashmir Valley has to be made independent tomorrow it would be a matter of months before a Taliban type group took charge. When supposedly moderate Kashmiri politicians suggest softening the borders do they ever think of the kind of people that would come across those soft borders?

The Government of India has to think of these things. With Islamist terrorists rampaging through Pakistan and Afghanistan and winning friends in Bangladesh no Indian Prime Minister can begin to even vaguely consider freedom for Kashmir. What he should be thinking about is what our policy is going to be if Taliban type groups manage anyway to do to Kashmir what they have already done to Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. As a first step it would help greatly if the Prime Minister would articulate loudly and clearly what he cannot do. He cannot now or ever consider the possibility of ‘azaadi’ for the Kashmir Valley and he needs to say this in so many words.

Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh

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