Hum Pakistani Hain, Pakistan Hamara Hai' (We are Pakistanis and Pakistan belongs to us).
Finally, Kashmiri separatism has spoken the truth. These words were spoken by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is characterised by the Indian media as chairman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference. I could never understand what this 'hardline' tag means. Which is the 'softline' faction of the Hurriyat Conference?
The Indian media tags the Hurriyat faction led by Maulvi Umar Farooq as the softline faction. One wonders how these two are different and what makes one the 'hardliner' and other the 'softliner'.
Both of them were present on the same dais at the same rally at the Tourist Reception Centre grounds in Srinagar on August 18, 2008. Both were raising anti-India slogans at that rally. Both were demanding secession from the Union of India. Both were involved in the strikes and drama that finally resulted in the revocation of the J&K state cabinet's order to allot land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board for building temporary structures for the protection of Shri Amarnath pilgrims.
Moreover, both enjoy patronage from politicians as well as terrorists from across the border in Pakistan. Both represent the philosophy of intolerance for faiths other than Islam in the Kashmir Valley. Both were silent when Kashmir's original inhabitants, the minority Hindus, were ethnically cleansed from the Valley. Both condoned the following slogans raised in that rally on August 18:
Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan [Long Live Pakistan]
Pakistan se rishta kya, La-illaha Ill-lallaha [What is the relationship with Pakistan, faith of Islam]
Yehan kya chalega, Nizaam-e-Mustafa [What will rule here, Sharia-law]
Meri mandi teri mandi, Ralwanpindi Rawalpindi [My market your market, Rawalpindi Rawalpindi]
Fruits to bahana hai, Rawalpindi jana hai [Fruits are just the excuse, real intent is to go to Rawalpindi]
Bharat ka jo yaar hai, gadaar hai gadaar hai [Whosoever is India's friend, is a traitor, is a traitor]
Bharat teri shamat aayi, Lashkar aayi Lashkar aayi [India, you are on notice; Lashkar-e-Tayiba has arrived, Lashkar-e-Tayiba has arrived]
In an interview, former J&K governor S K Sinha described the Hurriyat in the following words:
'There are supposed to be two groups in the Hurriyat; the so-called moderates and the so-called extremists. In effect they are all communal and anti-national. They have nothing against foreign tourists coming to the valley but they are allergic to Hindu Indians visiting the valley.'
In a recent interview, Geelani explained his desire to enforce Islamic rule in Kashmir and said, 'I have a three-point target. First is to impose an Islamic nizam (jurisprudence) in Kashmir. Islam should govern our lives, be it in our political thought, socio-economic plans, culture or the ongoing movement. The creed of socialism and secularism should not touch our lives and we must be totally governed by the Quran and the Sunnat (precedents from Prophet Mohammed's life).'
It is ironical that on one hand the Hurriyat people are 'allergic to Hindu Indians visiting the valley' and on the other hand they have no qualms about using benefits provided by India. Both these separatists enjoy the security provided by the Indian government and paid for by the Indian taxpayer. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a former J&K legislator, even receives pension funded by Indian taxpayers.
These Kashmiri leaders have no shame in getting benefits paid by Indian taxpayers while they continue to dance on the tunes of their masters from across the border in Pakistan.
But all aside, I am relieved that Syed Ali Shah Geelani has finally admitted that he, along with hundreds of thousands of his followers, is Pakistani.
So that begs the questions:
What are Geelani and his followers doing in India? Why should Indian taxpayers pay for their pension and security?
It is about time Geelani and his followers bought a one-way ticket to Muzaffarabad and board the Caravan-e-Aman bus and leave India for good. If they are Pakistanis and Pakistan is theirs, they have no business to stay here in India.
Sixty years ago, Indians sacrificed a lot and gave away a large piece of their body and soul to make a new country Pakistan. Millions at that time made their choice and moved to Pakistan. Those who stayed back also made a conscious decision to stay back. And most of them are content and happy. But those who are still in India and for some reason are not happy, should stop whining and go to Pakistan -- the country that was created solely for them.
India and Indians will not accept another partition, whatsoever.
I am sure that Indian taxpayers will not even mind paying one last expense, the one-way ticket to Pakistan, for Geelani and his followers. This would be the best investment Indians can make.
The Indian government lost a great opportunity on August 11 this year when Geelani and others were marching towards Muzaffarabad under their 'Muzaffarabad Chalo' campaign. The Indian government should have facilitated their trip to Muzaffarabad and then sealed the border.
In case Geelani and his followers do not go to Pakistan, then they ought to be tried for sedition. The Sedition Act, embodied under the Indian Penal Code Section 124A, reads as follows:
'Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added...'
It is not surprising that the Government of India is not enforcing the Sedition Act and bringing charges against Geelani and other separatist leaders from the Kashmir Valley. It is a continuation of the UPA government's appeasement policies towards Kashmiri Muslims. Otherwise, why would it not counter the lies about the so-called 'economic blockade'?
Anybody who knows the geography of Jammu and Kashmir would know that any strike and bandh in Jammu region would affect the only national highway connecting Kashmir with the rest of India. Granted that the first few days of the strikes in Jammu affected the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, but there was no declared economic blockade.
Within a couple of days of strikes in Jammu, the Indian Army was ordered to take over the entire national highway and they ensured that every truck reached Srinagar and every truck that was supposed to leave Srinagar left Srinagar and reached its intended destination.
There are statistics that show that there was absolutely no economic blockade. The fact of the matter is that it is the Jammu region that is facing hardships due to continuous strikes and bandhs in that region. It is the people of Jammu region who were running out of essential commodities. But who cares? As long as essential supplies reached the Valley, that is all that mattered.
It is sad and unfortunate that a few leading opinion-makers from the media are now falling prey to Kashmiri separatists' tactics and agenda. In recent days, we have seen these opinion-makers suggest a referendum in Kashmir. Their argument that if Kashmir secedes from India, all is going to be well in the rest of India, is preposterous and shows a lack of knowledge about the Kashmir issue and Kashmiri radical Muslims.
These radicals will not stop at Kashmir because Kashmir is not the end-game. Instead it is the start of their bigger plan of Talibanisation of the rest of India. Today you give away Kashmir, tomorrow you will have to give away Hyderabad and then Coimbatore and then Moradabad and so on.
We Indians need to be on guard and defeat the enemies within our borders -- the enemies are more dangerous than the ones outside.
Lalit Koul is the President, Indo-American Kashmir Forum, a US-based advocacy group. He can be reached at email@example.com