Disclaimer: Everyone in their sane mind, condemns killing of innocent young children either by security forces or terrorists. Children belong in classrooms and not on frontlines of any war. There can be no two opinions on that.
t is important to make that disclaimer right in the beginning because a lot of our readers mistake truth for fanaticism and ruthlessness.
Kashmir valley has been on the boil for last several weeks now. A lot of us who were witness to the similar protests in 1990, just before the mass exodus of Kashmiri Hindus, the stark images are a grim reminder that absence of violence does not mean peace. For last few years, Kashmir witnessed fewer killings, fewer curfews and life had started limping back to the normal. Of course Kashmiri pundits were not part of this superficial normalcy, having been driven out of the valley long time back. However, the current protests make it clear that Kashmir has always been and will always be a hot bed of terror.
Hurriyat conference and its allies were losing their significance till some months back. Geelani and the Mirwaiz having refused to participate in the electoral politics were left twiddling their thumbs. At the behest of their masters in Pakistan they decided to play a dangerous yet very powerful game. In a world where perceptions mean everything and where public memory is short, an image of a young child throwing stones at the well armed security forces and succumbing to bullets in return is a very powerful image. It will melt even the most heartless person out there. Yet the dangerous game that is being played by the separatists who are sitting in the confines of their homes hardly ever seen in these protests, is the most heartless part of these pictures. These teenage boys most of whom are born after 1990 probably don’t even know that Kashmir at one point had Hindus and Sikhs living amongst them. They have been raised in the vicious atmosphere where they were brainwashed that Hindu India is their enemy and they have to launch a jihad against India. It has now been confirmed that these stone pelters are paid money to pelt stones at the security forces. Every child who succumbs to the bullets is considered a martyr and his family is paid handsomely. All this has been confirmed by the government through phone tapping and the world of Internet is witness to how these mobs who appear leaderless and faceless are indeed controlled by separatist factions, whose only job is to increase the number of casualties.
Anybody who still thinks that violence in Kashmir is about Azaadi or independence is severely mistaken. Kashmir violence is and was always religious jihad. Kashmir now is a part of International Jihaadi Network where Islamic Zealots want nothing but creation of Nizaam e- Mustafa. They will stop at nothing and if that means sacrificing their own children so be it. Unless it is premeditated, I do not know which parent will send their child out on the streets with the mob during the protests. For the Indian secular English Media to label them as Children of Conflict and airing documentaries about how these children have grown in turmoil and hence are emotionally vulnerable is nothing but bogus lies. Thousands of Hindu children languishing in the camps in Jammu and other places are also children of conflict. They were also thrown out of their homes only because of their religion. These children are also scarred and vulnerable and yet none of them throw stones at anybody. They don’t have camera men following them because they have no interesting stories to tell. That they were thrown out of their homes because of their religion doesn’t make for a great sound bite. These children and their parents swear by the Indian Constitution and yet are rendered homeless and clueless by their own government. Yet these children don’t turn violent because every night they are told a story by their parents that no matter what, Righteousness will prevail and one day we will not be persecuted for our religion in our own country.
Kashmir is probably going though another decisive phase in its history of militancy. Yet we are now living in post 9/11 world. Armed jihaadi movements will gain very few supporters in the world and that is why the jihaadists are playing this very potent game of using children as pawns. Yet if they are true Muslims even Allah will not forgive them for using young children for their own agenda.
As far as Kashmiri hindu children who probably can never go back to their homes are concerned, their parents will still tell them the same story that Kashmir is our land. It belongs to our sages and our mahatmas. It is the land of Shiva and we are the original inhabitants of this Satisar.
*Sunanda Zadoo Vashisht was born in Kashmir, when Kashmir was known for its unparalleled natural beauty and not as a cauldron of fear and terror. She did most of her schooling in Delhi and dabbled with several professions before moving to U.S.A.
She likes to introduce herself as an explorer because she wants to spend all her time in this world exploring unknown. Writing for her is a cathartic experience. She can't remember when she began writing first but she does know that writing has always helped her to be at peace with herself and with the world around her. Presently lives with her family in Sugarland, TX USA.
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