Tariq Karra, on quitting PDP and resigning as an MP, likened the current PDP-BJP rule in J&K to Nazi rule.
Perhaps Karra doesn’t remember 19 January 1990, when something of a “Nazi rule” led to the eviction and killing of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
On 15 September, in what can be considered a massive blow to the ruling dispensation in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tariq Karra quit the party and resigned as a Member of Parliament (MP), likening the rule of the PDP-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance in J&K to Nazi rule.
Karra told reporters that he “was feeling suffocated by the alliance” and resigned to “protest against the brutalities on civilian protesters and the PDP’s sell out to the BJP” as the government “is treating its own people like the Nazi forces treated the oppressed”.
Elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014 from Srinagar-Budgam, Karra was one of the founders of the PDP and close aide of the late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. He was against the BJP-PDP alliance. Karra mocked the PDP for its earlier protests against civilian killings and human rights violations in the state.
“What happened to the promises like self-rule? Why was the PDP protesting against similar killings during the previous government? The PDP had been protesting against everything that is happening now.”
Karra’s resignation comes days after Muzzafar Hussain Baig, another PDP founding member, urged Mehbooba to call off the alliance, as party cadres were unhappy with the way government had dealt with the protesters in the Valley.
Although the resignation of such a senior leader will jolt the ruling dispensation in J&K, an interesting point not much highlighted is the return of intense demonising of the Indian government by the Kashmiri leadership.
The recent unrest in Kashmir was said to have come about as a response to the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani two months ago. Wani’s funeral prompted attacks on the security forces, with the total death toll of civilian and police combined adding up to 23.
However, very few are willing to admit that the origin of this prolonged session of disaffection started after the BJP became the strongest force in Jammu and the second-strongest force in the state. This made the party a legitimate claimant to share power there, a fact Karra openly despised and opposed. Enough tears have been shed for the slain Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist by the ‘secular’ human rights activists, whose tear ducts refuse to function when Wani and his colleagues kill innocent civilians.
Karra must know that the Hurriyat separatists (whose language he is using at the present), heavily financed by the Pakistanis, are shameless in defending violence and will even encourage it with the solitary aim of weakening India. Those so-called advocates of Azadi, who accuse the Indian forces of killing ‘innocent’ Kashmiris, seem to conceal the blood of innocent Indians that is on their hands.
Karra’s angry outpouring seems to indicate that the violence in Kashmir will disappear the moment the government talks with the Kashmiri separatists and banish the Indian security forces, who in their eyes are on a power trip shooting for fun. It would have been the case had terrorists like Wani gunned down innocent Kashmiris out of noble intentions.
It is undeniable that the Government of India must win the ordinary Kashmiris over through various confidence-building measures, and talks with the Hurriyat should not be abandoned altogether. Nonetheless, the government must be clear about the purpose, which does not include concession of any kind to the Jihadis and separatists. And this is possible only when the war against terrorism is won definitively. For as long as terrorists hold sway, reconciliation is next to impossible.
Karra can also look back at what his senior colleague Muzaffar Hussain Baig said on 24 August, that there is now a robust pull of “Pakistaniyat” in the Valley, with some of the strains of “Azadi” merging with ideas of ISIS. Thus, the longstanding endeavour to start talks on greater autonomy within the Indian constitution will not be enough to bring peace.
So, the jihadification of the Kashmir Valley is in full tilt, with self-radicalised youths, backed by the Pakistani establishment, raising the slogan of “Azadi” for militant mobilisation and jihadi violence. Yet when ISIS flags were being raised following the PDP-BJP government taking charge, it was dismissed as an attempt to drive a wedge between the two parties in power. To the jihadis, Kashmir’s Azadi means annulling India’s secular constitution, which will confer the right to radical Kashmiri Muslims to persecute Kashmiri non-Muslims.
It is clear to all except Karra that the separatists and self-styled Kashmiri leaders have become immaterial. Engaging them will not pacify the jihadi mob now wielding more power. De-jihadification cannot be done by the Indian state. It has to come from within a community. But Karra sahib seems to be in no mood for it.
And lastly, Karra is very much right about Nazism descending upon Kashmir, but he seems to have gotten his dates wrong. It happened already, back on 19 January 1990, when mosques in Kashmir gave the Kashmiri Pandits three options — Raliv Galiv ya Chaliv - “join us, die or flee”. According to most reports published, about 1,00,000 of the total Kashmiri Pandit population left the Valley while a large number of them were killed.
But it did not happen in a day. Pakistan kept training and indoctrinating young Kashmiri Muslims for years to wage a jihad against the infidels in India. The then National Conference government, in spite of all this, kept releasing dreaded terrorists between the months of July and November 1989.
Karra sahib must be reminded of a popular song broadcasted then:
Jago Jago Subah Huyee; Rus ne Baazi Haari Hain, Hind par Larzaan Tare Hain, Ab Kashmir ki Baaree Hain
The song then gave way for the following slogans:
Hum Kya Chahte Azadi
Ae Zalimo Ae Kafiro, Kashmir Hamara Chhod Do
Yahan kya Chalega Nizam-e-Mustafa...
And, of course, the vilest one:
Aes Kya Gasyi ‘Pakistan’, Batav Rosti Batnevey Saan (We want Pakistan, without Pandit men but with their women.)
Karra sahib, were you not feeling suffocated then? Did it not motivate you to talk to the militants and prevent the tragedy? Do you see any significant change in the slogans uttered by the Jihadis nowadays?
Names of the slain victims of terrorism, like Tika Lal Taploo, Justice Nilakanth Ganjoo and Prem Nath Bhat have been repeatedly brought up on many forums, but that seemed to pass by without Karra noticing. To rub salt on the wounds, many of Kashmir’s leaders accuse then Governor Jagmohan of organising a secret exodus. One cannot remember Karra giving angry speeches then (the author would be happy if proved wrong).
Sadly, 26 years after the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Kashmir, which would have pleased the Nazis, it is still astounding that the correct nature of the separatist movement needs to be explained to the Kashmiri leadership and secularists. It is as if the cleansing of Pandits, the consequential cleansing of Hindu and Sikh minorities in the villages of J&K, never happened.
Kashmir is where the idea of Jihad should be comprehensively defeated.
To conclude, quoting R Jagannathan:
We have to do what we can to protect Kashmir and ourselves from jihadism. Insaniyat is a prerequisite for the abandonment of insanity. But insanity needs to be a spent force before people discover value in insaniyat.