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Back with crocodile tears

Faisul Yaseen

It took 18 long years for the former chief minister and opposition National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah to realise that the troops and paramilitary troops were raping Kashmiri mothers and sisters. It took him 18 long years to say, “Now we can’t tolerate it anymore; we have had enough.”

For 18 long years Abdullah could not muster the courage to say that sisters and mothers in Kashmir were being raped. For 18 long years he remained silent when Kashmiri sisters and mothers were raped. He never felt the need to voice his anger on the rape of Kashmiri sisters and mothers. For 18 long years he enjoyed the rape of Kashmiri mothers and sisters.

Now when the assembly elections are round the corner, Abdullah wants the court martial of troops and paramilitary troops involved in the rape of Kashmiri women. When Abdullah says: “Time has come when action has to be taken against all those who killed innocent people”. Does he mean to say that the time gone by was not right for the action against the guilty troops.

When Abdullah indicates at a time to come, is he subtly indicating at the time of the assembly polls which are due in the state in 2008.

Do his statements have something to do with the timing?

Is his timing right or wrong only time will tell but the people of the state have come a long way from the days when such statements could flummox them.

After 60 years, Farooq Abdullah also has problem with the ‘accession’ of the state to the Indian domain. Now the human rights violations committed by troops makes him question the righteousness of the accession of the state with India, question the righteousness of the decision of his ancestors.

The instrument of accession, joining Jammu and Kashmir with Indian Union is said to be been signed by the oppressive Dogra ruler of the state Hari Singh in 1947, after the independence of the subcontinent and subsequent partition into two nations, India and Pakistan.

Farooq’s father Shiekh Muhammad Abdullah, the first prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir was an ardent supporter of accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. It was he who signed an infamous accord with the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975 whereby he became the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir after 11 years after giving up the demand of the right to self-determination.

“After killing of a schoolteacher in Kupwara and a baker in Kulgam by army we’ve been forced to think whether the decision of Hari Singh and my late father Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to accede to India in 1947 was right?” Abdullah told reporters on the sidelines of a book release function in the winter capital Jammu.

Troops killed a teacher Abdur Rashid at Marsari village of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on October 19, while last Saturday a baker Reyaz Ahmed Sofi was killed in Kulgam by troops of 9 Rashtriya Rifles.

Abdullah took strong notice of the killings saying that the army was harming Kashmiris and weakening the stand of pro-India political parties in the state likes his National Conference.

Abdullah is now trying to sound unforgiving for the troopers. He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony should personally intervene into such incidents and book the troopers involved.

However, he was too forgiving towards the troopers when he himself was in power. He sat over the killings of five innocent people in Pathribal after the Chatti Singhpora massacre. He never took up the case of Kunanposhpora mass rapes when he came to power in 1996.

He created the notorious Special Operations Group (SOG) and the State Task Force (STF) who indulged in the worst of human rights violations. He gave renegades a free hand who maimed men, raped women, killed innocent children, indulged in burglaries, set properties on fire.

Yet Farooq continued to be forgiving. The notorious renegades like Javed Shah and Papa Kashtwari despite indulging in plunder and aceldama enjoyed his patronage. The dangerous renegades like Kuka Parray and Usman Majeed went on to become political figures yet he continued to be forgiving.

Now this sudden U-turn would not impress the people anymore. They have come a long way from being fooled over promises which were never fulfilled. They have seen the days when NC continued to stick to power even after the autonomy resolution they passed was dismissed straightway by New Delhi.

They have seen National Conference supporting the right wing Bhartiya Janta Party, in New Delhi when none of the secular parties in Indian dared come close to the party aligned with Hindutva.

However despite big talk about taking action against troops and raising questions about accession with India, Farooq has still to come out of his master’s clout.

In one breath he raised questions on accession, in another he said that the army was not and occupation force.

He chose to keep away from the recent Vande Matram controversy and said that there was no harm in chanting the song. Despite the fact that the song has earned ire from Muslims in India ever since it was composed.

Explore

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