Srinagar, February 28: The conviction of Mohammad Afzal Guru in Parliament attack case and his subsequent execution and burial in Tihar jail “proves that for India Kashmiris are subject people and Kashmir is its colony,” Gautam Navlakha, a prominent New Delhi-based social and human rights activist, said. He added that India is forcing the Kashmiris to pick up gun again.
Navlakha in an interview said, “The case of Afzal proves that Kashmir is indeed different despite New Delhi’s tall claims of its (Kashmir) being integral part of New Delhi. The difference lies in the fact that Kashmiris are only ‘subject people’ for New Delhi and Kashmir is ‘like a colony’. The logic of policy decision followed in Kashmir proves the difference.”
“They killed him (Guru) in order to make someone pay for the crime (Parliament attack) that is what Supreme Court meant by ‘to satisfy the collective conscience’,” he added. Navlakha described Afzal as a “polite man” who was happy to see whoever came to meet him. “I met him in 2011. He was inside jail, so one could not expect him to have an opinion about the civil society in India. But he was a polite man and he was happy to meet anyone.”
When asked about the growing perception in Kashmir that the Indian civil society has been by and large silent on human rights violations in Kashmir, Navlakha said, “Like we have divorce in personal relations, Kashmir is now in a state of complete irreparable separation with India. The growing perception (in Kashmir) that Indian civil society acts like a fire brigade for New Delhi during unrest in the Valley is based on past experiences of the Kashmiri people.”
He said, “Indian civil society may be a misnomer; I would rather say the Indian democratic and liberal opinion has been silent over whatever has been happening in Kashmir from rapes to killings to disappearances.” He said the Indian democratic opinion will be tested “as to if it stands with people of Kashmir on all issues from handing over of Afzal’s body to this proposal for a new ‘Police Raj’ in Kashmir.”
“The so-called representative government in Kashmir is puppet in the hands of New Delhi with only municipal powers. In reality Kashmir is controlled by military, Intelligence Bureau and other Indian agencies. India has been holding Kashmir militarily for past more than 60 years. After Afzal’s hanging even Omar Abdullah himself admitted that New Delhi was treating Kashmir differently,” he said.
“People’s democratic right to protest in Kashmir has been denied for past 60 years and it is going to be denied again and again. So the message sent by the government of India is clear that the people shall go back to violence. Conditions are created for Kashmiri youth to again become militants, and India is alone responsible for it,” Navlakha added.