Adeela Naureen and Umar Waqar
Despite the Indian lockdown of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJ&K) for more than one year and ruthless oppression of Kashmiris in the largest human prison on earth, Indian policymakers have been hoping that their old Chanakyan strategy of tiring the opponent through a prolonged suppression and causing strategic fatigue to freedom fighters would create some political space. The prolonged lockdown has created its fall out with most of Kashmiris expressing their resentment against Indian Occupation. The latest voice from within IIOJ&K is from a pro-India, second generation Kashmiri leader, Dr Farooq Abdullah, who said in September this year that angry Kashmiris would prefer Chinese rule in Kashmir. His recent remarks in an interview with an Indian media outlet has sparked more controversy. Although we consider Dr Farooq Abdullah to be a ‘Sarkari Muslaman’ (state-friendly Muslim), whose family has actually helped India to maintain control over the occupied territory, his statement has reverberated in Indian media like fireworks. As reported by the Hindustan Times, Dr Farooq Abdullah the former chief minister of IIOJ&K, in an interview to India Today TV?on 11 October said that China “never accepted” the nullification of Article 370. “They said till you restore Article 370, we won’t stop because it has now become an open issue,” he said. He also prayed that “May Allah wish that our people get help from their (Chinese) might and our Articles 370 and 35A get restored,”. Dr Farooq Abdullah also stated that Indian Prime Minister Modi had actually befriended China, invited President Xi to Gujarat and took joint swings on a ‘Jhoola’, implying that Modi’s China policy has backfired and BJP was now blaming Kashmiri leaders for the faux pas. The BJP termed this statement as “seditious” and Godi media launched a vilification campaign against him by rattling that he should be arrested and charged with treason. Sambit Batra of BJP stated that you can call the congress leaders as Farooq Gandhi or Rahul Abdulla, they are both sides of the same coin. India today did an exclusive programme on the issue and highlighted that while Indian Army was busy defending Ladakh in extreme and freezing temperatures, Dr Farooq Abdullah has actually backstabbed India by siding with Chinese version of the LAC. Kashmiri resentment to Indian atrocities has regularly resonated in international media as well. Recalling the brutal assault by Indian Army on Kashmiris, famous writer Arundhati Roy wrote in the Guardian on August 4 2020, about how after midnight on August 4 2019, phones in Kashmir went dead and internet connections were cut. ‘On 5 August 2019, a year ago today, 7 million people were locked into their homes under a strict military curfew. Up to 10,000 people, from young children and teenage stone pelters to former chief ministers and major pro-India politicians, were arrested and put into preventive detention, where many of them still remain’.
Arundhati Roy feels that in the year that has gone by, the struggle in Kashmir has by no means ended. ‘Think of Kashmir under the densest military deployment in the world. On top of the suffering the coronavirus has laid on you, add a maze of barbed wire on your streets, soldiers breaking into your homes, beating the men and abusing the women, destroying your food stocks, amplifying the cries of humans being tortured on public address systems’.