August 13, 2016 2:52:29 am
In the ongoing discourse on Kashmir in the political establishment, the Peoples Democratic Party, alliance partner of the BJP in the J&K government, today sought a “counter narrative” that called for “patience,” and a “restraint in the protests against excessive force and pellet guns” because “a 60-year-old problem cannot be solved in five days”.
At the all-party meet on Kashmir today, PDP was represented by former deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig.
“There is a narrative of religious extremism. This narrative is created in madrasas. Our teachers and schools don’t have such commitment or reach. These kids are trained in religious texts without context. Now, there is a revival of Khilafat which has taken the form of ISIS. It is bound to influence the youth of Kashmir,’’ Baig said he told the all-party meet. “I told them that what is taught in a madrasa is not real Islam. They get two sets of kameez-pajama from their families and these vulnerable minds are told that if you die in jihad, you will go to paradise and if you survive you will be a hero. We should have had a counter narrative (to this in Kashmir)”.
Baig said he reminded Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his speech during the election campaign at Kishtwar (in J&K). “I said Vajpayee had used only insaniyat and jamhooriyat. In Kishtwar, you introduced and added Kashmiriyat. I was happy to see you introducing Kashmiriyat. For us, it means a centrist between Shaivite Hinduism where unity of God, fraternity and equality of human beings are its foundations, which was later supplemented and enriched by Sufiism. That is Kashmiriyat,’’ he said. “It has two facets — one is civilisation value and other is the political status. The unique political status of Kashmir in Indian Union was necessary to preserve and foster its civilisational values and tradition. It isn’t a Muslim identity but a mixed identity”.
Baig said that he asked the Prime Minister to apply his own mantra to the problem of Kashmir. “I told him (PM Modi) about what he preached to the executive committee of BJP in Allahabad. You had talked about the moral conduct in public policy,’’ Baig said. “You had talked about six elements and I remember five. Balance, Patience, Positive thinking, Empathy and Dialogue. These are the elements of a good political policy and we want you to apply the same to the problem of Kashmir”.
Elaborating, he said: “We must accept that, historically, Kashmir has been let down by mainstream politicians both in the state and at the Centre. We must introspect and recognize that we are also responsible for this and then frame a balanced policy…You should understand the pain of the people. Empathy ke bagair kaisay ho ga (How can it work without empathy). We are not prepared to share their (Kashmiris’) pain. Once we understand their pain, then there should be process of dialogue. That would be meaningful”.
Baig said that he told the all party meeting that the protests have become “pervasive” and that “women too are taking part in large numbers”.
“Women cook food and then come out to protests after 8, 9 pm. It is happening across Kashmir. That’s why night curfew was imposed. There is 73 per cent rural population who were bystanders earlier, they are participating fully now. The protests are there in Rajouri, Chenab Valley, etc in Jammu. Almost 70 per cent of the protesters are teenagers. These are some unique facets of these protests,’’ he said.
“I told the Prime Minister that you should be thankful to the Constitution of the (J&K) State,” Baig said, “that you cannot give away any territory of J&K to any other country even if you enter into a treaty with them. That you can do in respect of any other part of India.’’
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