The Crisis in Kashmir

Tariq Ali

On 9 February, after ten years on death row, Mohammed Afzal Guru was judicially assassinated in Delhi. The BJP warmly supported and publicly celebrated the event. A veteran Kashmiri activist and a medical student (born in 1969), he had been picked up and accused of being part of a terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001. The evidence was totally circumstantial, the confession obtained under torture and a threat to kill his family. All this is well known. Had the Chinese regime behaved in this fashion towards a Tibetan, the media and political response in the West would have dominated the news. Kashmir remains invisible to the world. In India all the mainstream parties welcomed the hanging. The media was supportive of the government. In Kashmir a general strike shut down the province and the police opened fire on demonstrators. The exact casualties have yet to be revealed. A handful of courageous activists, journalists and writers kept up the pressure. One of them, Sanjay Kak, has written a powerful essay on the human rights crisis in Kashmir. It makes grim reading and will no doubt be ignored by governments (like the British) whose main concern is to sell weaponry to India. The most recent development on this front is Downing Street’s agreement that aid money can be spent on buying arms, presumably from the UK.


  • 13 March 2013 at 3:51pm
    kashraf says:
    Dear Ali. Please remember that BJP, CPI (M) are the right and left hand of the same upper caste ideology that hanged Afzal Guru.Please dont give us- especially muslim in kashmir and other parts of India- your secular nationalist narrative. I would like to hear your response on this statement that Communist Party of India ( Marxists) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury made. “I think, the law of the land with all its provisions has finally been completed as far as the Afzal Guru case and the attack on the Indian Parliament is concerned. The issue which had been lingering for the past 11 years has finally completed its due course.”.I dont know the difference between this statement and the statement made by BJP! I would like to remember you that politics in India shifted beyond usual left-secular-nationalist narratives!

  • 13 March 2013 at 10:35pm
    Julia Atkins says:
    Tariq Ali writes of 'all mainstream parties.' The CPM is included. I heard him on radio the other day criticising the CPM very sharply on this issue.
    Secularists can attack the dominant Indian ideology as well. You don't have to be a staunch believer to argue that Kashmir is being raped.

  • 13 March 2013 at 10:45pm
    Lucian says:
    Kashraf, I am of Jewish origin and secular and a leftist and I support the Kashmiri people, especially because I know that Israeli military officers have been to Kashmir to advise the Indian military. So broaden your mind a bit. There was a very good article Perry Anderson in this magazine titled 'After Nehru'. Just read it. He';s a Marxist historian by the way.

    • 15 March 2013 at 7:52am
      kashraf says: @ Lucian
      I value your support and understandings.I dont want to read Perry Anderson to understand Indian politics!. I found scholars like G Aloysius is more useful than Anderson.I strongly recommend you to read his essays :)

    • 15 March 2013 at 9:51am
      Julia Atkins says: @ kashraf
      So when it comes to Anderson, you become an Indian nationalist? Never heard of G Aloysius, but will check him out on the web.

    • 15 March 2013 at 10:01am
      kashraf says: @ Julia Atkins the problem is "left paternalism" not the "nationalism".

  • 13 March 2013 at 11:10pm
    Ayesha L says:
    Surely the point of Tariq Ali's blog is to alert us to Sanjay Kak's powerful and penetrating essay. It made me weep. Kak and Arundhati Roy (who was strongly critical of the CPM by the way) prevent me from despairing and leaving Delhi for Madison where my family has now settled. And I'm sure both Kak and Roy are secular progressives, deeply hostile to official politics and ideology regardless of whether its defended by BJP, Congress, CPM or anyone else. Lucian writes that Israel supports India on Kashmir. True. But who does Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Indonesia support? Not the Kashmiris. And Pakistan just uses Kashmir for its own purposes. Kashmir needs all the support it can get and its counter-productive to start excluding anyone. I am an Indian and secular but not a nationalist because that word today is debased and means backing the atrocities in Kashmir, in Manipur, in Jharkand and elsewhere.

  • 14 March 2013 at 8:22pm
    Tariq Ali lament about the lot of Kashmiri Muslims (of course there are virtually no Hindus left there) elides an inconvenient truth: the problems of Kashmir stem from the idea of Pakistan. It is an idea founded on a lie that Muslims needed a land of their own. That they are now in a race to define who really is a Muslim (Ahmedi and Shia exclusion and destruction is just the tip of the iceberg).

    That there are nearly as many Muslims in India today as in Pakistan is an inconvenient truth. That most Kashmiris nurture the preposterous notion that they are different to not just non-Muslims but to others as well does nothing for their cause.

    The LRB blog would do well instead to review the book "Shadow Wars" by Pakistani author Arif Jamal where he documents Pakistan's efforts from its very inception, to support terrorism in Kashmir.

    Pakistani perfidy

    • 15 March 2013 at 12:12am
      raf37 says: @ NYCHOTPILOT
      You cannot use Pakistan's misconduct or mistakes to excuse oppression by India;s forces of the kashmiri population; and just because the population happens to be muslim to claim that they deserve atrocities being visited on them of which there is ample proof. You doing your own country India an injustice as well as to the hundreds defenders therein of civic freedoms.
      Unfortunately I find such inherent intellectual dishonesty such as yours to be very prevalent among some Indians. They resent any sort of criticism with intolerant arrogance. As for Pakistanis, they are now so used to being vilified and demonised that they could not care less. In fact most of them join in the criticism of their own country without hesitation. In this they show more political integrity than many Indians who want one standard for Pakistan and another for India.

    • 15 March 2013 at 3:11am
      dronacharya says: @ raf37
      This cannot be said enough, NYCHOTPILOT. The only reason Kashmiris feel different is that their neighboring country dins this difference into their own population as well as their neighbors. How do we deal with a country that claims our peoples have the same culture, heritage and geography and, at the same time, also claims their professed religion, alone, is sufficient to divide them into irreconciliable political entities ?

      This message of religious difference is so widely accepted that most of their countrymen end up with a persecution complex while dealing with any outsider. Here is an example "just because the population happens to be muslim .. claim that they deserve atrocities being visited on them ". Its futile to point out that this statement has not been made to you but ascribed to you. Its futile to try correct the person ascribing such views to you since this preconception of other's views is central to the ideology of separation that underlies their state - "such inherent intellectual dishonesty such as yours to be very prevalent among some Indians. They resent any sort of criticism with intolerant arrogance."

      Peace has not been found in costly political dismemberments of the subcontinent so far - take the examples of, first, Pakistan, and later, Bangladesh. Peace will not be found till the ideology of separation that caused these remains politically salient

  • 15 March 2013 at 1:20pm
    rmk28 says:
    Thank you Tariq Ali for using your immense prestige yet again to hold up the mirror to those who gaze at these pages. It makes a difference, surely for the oppressed everywhere, not just in Kashmir, where I was born and raised. Keep on doing your thing despite some of the usual barbs...barbarians.

    • 15 March 2013 at 2:02pm
      NYCHOTPILOT says: @ rmk28
      rmk28:What would your definition of a barbarian be? Could it include the decapitating of journalists (Daniel Pearl), soldiers; shooting of girls in high school (Malala Yousufzai)?

      Mushtaq Zargar one of the terrorists that the Indian government in its own stupidity released (the other two noteworthy ones being Omar Sheikh who lured Pearl and Masood Azhar who seeks to make Pakistan a "pure" Islamic state) just yesterday said that "The Kashmir dispute will be resolved only through armed struggle". That surely will do wonders for Kashmiris and Pakistan.

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