Newsclick talks to Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, MLA Kulgam. He tells that the current Kashmir crisis is by-product of years of neglect that they have faced. Politicians have failed to deliver on their much touted promises. The autonomy promised to the state has been under threat and the only response government has given is by use of pellet and violence.
The youth of Kashmir needs jobs, education and sense of security while all they get is bloodshed. He appeals the people to not fall for the propaganda of BJP and reject the communal politics that they’re pursuing. This communal politics has a deep impact on the valley.
Pranjal: Hello and welcome to our program. Today we are joined by Comrade Yousuf Tarigami, central committee member of the CPI(M) and also an MLA from Kulgam. And we are going to discuss about what is the current crisis in Kashmir, what is the situation. Welcome to our program, comrade. What actually is the situation in Kashmir seeing the outcome that we have seen in the two parliamentary by polls; the decreased number of voting, regular violence, students are protesting on the ground, what’s happening?
Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami: You see whatever is happening today in Kashmir it is not to be seen in isolation. It is the result of the long list of neglect which the people of Kashmir have been facing. It is the result of the disastrous policies pursued since long vis-a-vis Kashmir. Not taking into account the actuality of whatever is happening on the ground. And it is in Kashmir where the people have been feeling strongly that we have been abandoned, we have been betrayed, and whether it is the question of democracy, whether it is the question of certain guarantees provided by the constitutional provisions vis-à-vis autonomy. These are the issues why the people, particularly the younger generation has been feeling hurt and disturbed. And now the present crisis, again, it is the ongoing crises of 2016. All of us know that in 2016 we have seen a massive agitation and around 100 youngsters got killed, so much of pellet gun was used and dozens of youngsters have been blinded. And this has been under focus. Parliament has discussed it, elsewhere this issue has been discussed but nevertheless there has not been any political response, positive response from the government of India. Now one important thing is to be taken into consideration by this low turnout now, during this Srinagar parliamentary by poll, 7% only. And that’s not just one thing, while in 2014, there was a huge participation of youngsters, the whole atmosphere was full of enthusiasm.
Pranjal: Since BJP-PDP government has come to power, this has constantly increased. Apart from also the issue of autonomy, there are other issues like employment, providing livelihood to the people. Has government completely failed on that front?
Tarigami: No, that’s not the question. They’ve never initiated anything as of now. I’m telling you, they have only given doses of deaths to the people of Kashmir. What happened last year? What is happening this year? You will find on the streets of Kashmir, nothing except our security forces. There is no political face on the ground seen by the people. There is no message emerging out of this empire in Delhi which can convey that we are concerned about their plight; which can convey the feeling of, some sort of concern about their fate. Now, employment and all that, there is nothing. Virtually our economy is destroyed. Virtually our everything is in shambles. And mostly, the younger generation of people there unfortunately, massively feels insecure. That sense of insecurity is more dangerous for coming days if not arrested by taking political appropriate measures. When BJP was telling the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly Jammu that we will be having 44 plus and we will reverse all those policies which are against the interest of Jammu and Ladakh and we will be having abrogation of article 370, we will be doing whatever is possible to address the grievances of the people of Jammu and Ladakh. And again, it is PDP in Kashmir which apart from other issues, they focused their campaign on, ‘that here is the threat posed by RSS led BJP and unless and until we resist it, the future of Jammu and Kashmir is doomed. And none else but PDP can resist this pressure of communal agenda. Vote for us’. You see then these are the forces; BJP and RSS on the hand and PDP on the other who were fighting against each other during elections, promising certain things to their respective electorates, then joining together and forming the government. See please don’t forget it, the same people were up in, full of enthusiasm in 2014 are now getting virtually irritated by the very name of elections, electoral exercise.
Pranjal: So comrade seeing the situation we have today, what’s the way ahead? What are the demands that the secular minded people, the democratic people of Kashmir are raising?
Tarigami: You see there was a phase of militancy and government of India claimed that militancy is almost controlled and all that. Then there were certain amount of demands in 2010 and onwards that why don’t you take certain confidence building measures? When the level of militancy has come down, what is the requirement of such huge security forces to be deployed for internal security? Then what is the necessity of Armed Forces Special Powers Act? So these were the demands and plus, there was a demand that this has been a problem between India and Pakistan, not today, right from 1947, why don’t you talk together? Why don’t you have a dialogue, why don’t you settle the issues through the process of dialogue? And again, our assembly has adopted a resolution about granting the original autonomy. Not that we were demanding anything new. We were demanding whatever eroded to be restored. That has not been done by the then BJP government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. So all these issues put together, people have been demanding and demanding but there has not been any response. Sometimes there were certain promises made but later on those promises have been forgotten and even now, last year, such a huge massive agitation, and massive upsurge and then the response has been, there has been some debate and discussion in the Parliament in both the houses and delegation led by the Home Minister visited, an all party delegation in which our general secretary was also a part of it, left parties were part of it and there were certain assurances given to the people. Now look how callous the attitude of the government of India is. Pellets have created havoc. As if internal security is incomplete until there is pellet. What a sorry state of affairs. Now despite assurances, despite the demand by the people that give up this notorious way of dealing with the situation; this notorious weapon called Pellet Gun. So far, nothing has happened.
Pranjal: Now in fact they have issued new set of pellets.
Tarigami: New pellets. Now sometimes they say we will use the rubber bullet and this bullet. There are bullets only in the store of BJP. Now unfortunately whatever the BJP has been doing since last two years, whatever they have been doing in the rest of the country, it is sending a very dangerous message to the people of Kashmir, that henceforth there is no scope for living an honorable life within the Union of India. A very, very dangerous message is going to the people; that you the people of Kashmir, you can be treated with bloodshed, you can be treated with pellet shed, and you can be treated with prisons and all that. There is no soft face for the people of Kashmir. Kashmir is today, I must tell my countrymen, my youngsters, that Kashmir is getting humiliated.
You know these younger boys; they want to study, they want a good life, a better life. They don’t want to get killed, humiliated. But when they are pushed to the wall, what is the alternative left for the people there? Even now the situation can be retained provided; the set of proposals be made by us, CPI(M), restore the eroded position of Article 370, give the maximum autonomy to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, talk to all stakeholders including Pakistan. You can’t live with a neighbor in a hostile atmosphere for a longer period. And this hostility has caused much to our national interest and to the interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Give it up; the sooner, the better. And Kashmir cries for a solution which can provide them with some sort of a dignified life. Some sort of life in which one feels treated inerrably. That’s what the Kashmiri youngsters demand from us.
But looking at the agenda of the BJP at the national level; we have seen what they have done, what they have said in UP, what they’re saying elsewhere. It means that they are keen to destroy the fabric of plurality, the fabric of secular ethos, the fabric of brotherhood. They are virtually targeting these issues on which the foundations of India are there. That is where you can understand the impact of these policies, disastrous policies, on the psyche of the average Kashmiri.
Pranjal: Thanks comrade, for giving us your time and as this issue processes we’ll be coming back to you on it. Thank you for watching our program.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for Newsclick are typed from a recording of the program. Newsclick cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.