Author: Saadut
•8:00 PM

Recent disclosures by Gen V K Singh about India paying money (via army and agencies)  to pro New Delhi politicians in Kashmir may have surprised most Indians but comes as no surprise to common Kashmiris. People in Kashmir have experienced how ‘democracy’ has always been remote managed from New Delhi and all pro India politicians have been known for decades to have neither possessed any independent decision making capability nor afforded any political line that deviates from the policy of New Delhi in Kashmir. And this policy of political deprivation in Kashmir has been in force right from 1947, altering even the first election to the J&K Legislative Assembly (held on 15 October 1951). Here the National Conference lead by Sheikh Abdullah was declared to have ‘won’ 73 of the 75 seats unopposed. Major political opposition had been either banished or forced out, and whatever of that political opposition remained, their election papers were rejected on flimsy grounds. B.N. Mullick (India’s ex Intelligence Chief) on these elections "Nomination papers of most of those who could form an opposition were rejected." Elections hence became a singular contest for pro New Delhi parties in Kashmir, managed covertly by Indian planners.

On 8th August 1953, Sheikh Abdullah was dethroned by New Delhi and replaced by his ‘ex best friend’ Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad. ‘Democracy’ in Kashmir was so strongly controlled by New Delhi that the same people in the state legislative assembly who earlier supported Sheikh Abdullah, now unanimously passed a vote of confidence for the Bakshi government (on October 5, 1953). All subsequent elections were again, either rigged or forced into a unilateral ‘contest’ where NC was projected to have won unopposed. Such repeated sweeping wins sans any opposition later looked so clumsy that Nehru wrote to Bakshi (after 1962 elections) “In fact, it would strengthen your position much more if you lost a few seats to bona fide opponents”.
Balraj Puri claims that in 1953 he advised Jawaharlal Nehru to extend political freedom in Kashmir. Nehru replied “we have gambled at the international stage on Kashmir, we cannot afford to lose it. At the moment, we are there at the point of the bayonet. Till things improve, democracy and morality can wait.” (Kashmir Towards Insurgency, 46).  With this rule to practice, India allowed no democracy to gain ground, and in later years leaders from Plebiscite front or the Jamaat e Islami were mass arrested or silenced by force to erase all of their political influence. Ex Chief Minister G M Sadiq wrote in his memoirs ‘My Life and Times’ “If the elections were free and fair, the victory of the (Plebiscite) Front was a foregone conclusion”.

The simmering discontent of decades from political disempowerment had already created an unbridgeable gap between India and Kashmir. It was very evident that India never trusted Kashmiris with democracy and Kashmir was never to see the light of any ‘people rule’ here. Indian Defense Minister Krishnan Menon voiced the same distrust in Kashmiris, against the Security Council call for plebiscite (On 5th February 1964) "Kashmir would vote to join Pakistan and no Indian Government responsible for agreeing to plebiscite would survive.” India surely knew that it could hold Kashmir by military force and political deceit only.

In the 1987 elections the MUF (Muslim United Front) attempted to trust the same democratic tools, elections, but were soon to face a tyrannical autocratic response. And 1987 proved to be the most brazenly rigged elections in Kashmir that was followed by arbitrary arrests of MUF workers and leaders, who were often subject to extreme torture.  NC was doing badly in these elections, yet all its losing candidates were declared winners and all opposition candidates who were winning (from MUF) were robbed and hounded by the NC, with active support from its New Delhi benefactors. Many of its political workers who were tortured and hounded by this NC government later became militant commanders, rising in revolt against India. Even after that armed insurgency had consumed thousands of lives, in 1996 India again helped the same party come into power, which had fuelled the fires of insurgency and indulged in oppression in Kashmir. In the 1996 elections local Kashmiris, especially in the countryside where media reach was limited, were reportedly coerced forcibly by Indian army to vote. And even after such coercing and threats, the turnout was not more than 10% across Kashmir (source BBC, 14th Sept 2002 report). While the 1987 elections became a turning point in Kashmir, India refused to learn from its past mistakes and continued to live in a world of self denial and political negation.

The present political equation in the valley is such that no party can form a government without the support of CONgress party. And this political equation is not any coincidence; it has been carefully cultivated in Kashmir. This arrangement ensures that even when, for the sake of any democratic display, India would use ‘fair elections’ in Kashmir to project ‘all is well’, it will also have ensured that no party has the numbers to deviate from New Delhi’s line on Kashmir. It is a perfect ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ system installed and groomed by New Delhi in Kashmir.

A controlled and ‘accommodated’ political system in Kashmir also ensures that India gets to control all resources in Kashmir with the deemed signatures of the installed party in power. All the power projects ‘given’ to NHPC by state governments on unfair agreements, where Kashmir stands fleeced, would have not been possible for New Delhi had they not controlled (by cash and kind) the ruling political class in Kashmir. The case of missing ‘agreement files’ on power projects, long overdue for return to the state, and the inability of pro New Delhi politicians to either outrage against it or ensure that they are ‘traced’ should not come as a shocker, given the fact that the ‘interests’ of these politicians have already been taken care of by New Delhi.

The same politicians who claim being victims of Gen V K Singh’s plans have not been able to justify the non dismissal of the minister accused of planning to overthrow this government, who continues to be a part of their cabinet. The same politicians while whipping repeated rhetoric for the removal of AFSPA from J&K, have never even send any communication to New Delhi for its repeal. Commoners are questioning the interest of these politicians in keeping AFSPA in place, while they openly talk against it. Have these politicians in power, ask commoners, already been ‘accommodated’ by the Indian Army for not pushing for the repeal of AFSPA in reality? Ironically removing AFSPA is within the domain of the state government, who by revoking the DAA (Disturbed Areas Act) can automatically have made AFSPA redundant here. Have then the AFSPA loyalties of these politicians already been purchased?

To keep such political thuggery intact India has used the ‘baton and barrel’ technique on common Kashmiris, and the ‘cash and kind’ technique on its political class, as is clear by Wiki Leaks cables on Kashmir. First, the average Kashmiri lives every day in fear not knowing if the next time he or she steps out their door, it may be their last. Moreover, that the person who will ultimately kill, rape, or torture them may or may not where an authorized uniform, but certainly will not suffer any form of prosecution or arrest for doing so.  In fact, they may even get a bonus if they are lucky.”

The political auction that India indulges in Kashmir is evident from another Wiki Leaks cable (Show Me the Money 21 C) where politicians (including some self claimed separatist leaders) have been clearly figured to live lavishly on New Delhi money, all of them selling common Kashmiris as a human headcount in front of New Delhi.

With the latest disclosures from Gen V K Singh, India has not been pushed into any denial mode for its acts. It has rather been embarrassed about these disclosures, which have further strengthened the belief among Kashmiris about the insincerity of India. The claim of 1.19 crores being used to overthrow the state government is hilarious, one crore is not even any denomination for the political corruption that is being practiced in Kashmir. Politicians in Kashmir have been known to play with toys for such ‘meager’ amount (an Audi Q7 costs 60 to 76 Lacs in India). But these claims are an example to how India has been attempting to keep its hold on Kashmir, pointing to just a tip of the iceberg behind the proxy control of New Delhi.  It has again reminded Kashmir of the political and territorial colony that New Delhi treats it as. For all the ‘wolf wolf’ cries of these ruling politicians in Kashmir, Kashmiris know since long that they are nothing but an extension of New Delhi in Kashmir.

This new generation in Kashmir understands this political and economic manipulation in Kashmir by India and they harbor no trust with India. There now stands no bridge between Srinagar and New Delhi.