Writer: Reapan Tickoo, A citizen of J&K
Lt. Ummer Fayaz of 2RAJRIF of our Army's cold blooded murder in captivity makes everyone of us numb with grief. Last winter at a conference, I met alumni of my school from Srinagar, Major Gen. Mohd. Amin Naiak who after retirement was now working with an engineering company. He had not visited his home at Tral since 1990 on the suggestion of the Army. Why wasn’t this suggested to Lt. Fayaz as soon as he joined NDA?
Anti-Kashmir forces have manufactured the enemy that is today being stoned in the Valley. Today none knows how to dismount this monster; this monster has consumed our pluralism, our ethos, our way of life, our economy and is now consuming our youngsters and Lt. Fayaz is the latest victim.
In 1988 the monster first drove out non-Kashmiri out of the valley. With USSR withdrawing from Afghanistan by February 1989, the arms, violence and destruction moved to my Kashmir. The silent majority in the Valley knows how miniscule fringe elements (read: Iblis used for Satan by Kashmiris ) hijacked the collective consciousness in 1990 and drove fellow Kashmiris out of the Valley on basis of religion and political affiliation. Today this monster is driving out Kashmiris on basis of class; any Kashmiri who can afford to set-up a home in Jammu/Delhi/Goa/Bengaluru etc has moved his children and family out of Kashmir.
The greatest harm done to Kashmir is by:
a) Political entrepreneurs who build a constituency around UN Resolution. The truth is it can't be implemented due to demographic changes, territorial changes and break-up of our State since 1947.
b) By Kashmiris themselves, by not stating the obvious to the children, that our Army saved Kashmiris in October'1947 on the invitation of Kashmiris and drove out the enemy with the active support of Kashmir's Salamati Fauj.
In 1980s, while I was growing-up in Srinagar, most of the houses in our locality comprised of two stories; usually the ground floor was rented to the family of the security forces (SF); our civilian colony was between the Defense Airport and BSF Head office on the old airport road in Srinagar. As children we would play with the SF kids. I received a puppy as a gift from one of the SF family living in our neighbourhood; the dog enriched my childhood. As middle class school children we would ski in Gulmarg with Army’s High Altitude Warfare School(HAWS) participants. Indian Institute of Mountaineering & Skiing would conduct water skiing course for final year NDA students and civilian children would also enrol for the course during summer vacations. Our civilian school had SF children studying with.
The above changed on 25th January’1990, when non-combatant, unarmed Air Force personnel who used to live in our civilian colony, were killed in cold blood and their families injured. JKLF’s Yasin Malik has admitted to these killings in an interview with Tim Sebastian. That is the last we saw SF families living amongst us. Things have never been the same in Kashmir since that dark day.
The wounds of people in the Valley will not heal with hatred towards anyone. We deserve a leadership that can take us out of the abyss of hopelessness and gloom;
and guide us to a path that serves us; the leadership that doesn’t mortgage our children’s future to the past. And this leadership has to come from within us; each one of us has to be the change we seek; and violence has not served us in last three decades and is likely to destroy us completely, unless we do a course correction. Please stop the news that gives impetus to trouble; responsible media that invests in peace is needed.
To blame politicians is convenient. It is schools, education, parenting, cultural leaders, press, civil, society, religious leaders, politicians etc who have failed Kashmir. Actually each one of us has failed Kashmir and its main asset, our children. We have to invest in bringing Kashmiri history, poetry and culture to its schools; this is how we will find ourselves again, for we are lost.
Jalobhav the monster was destroyed to give birth to Kashmir from Satisar lake; the present monster mentored by Ibilis is to be destroyed to find again the Reshi-Peer Valley we all Kashmiris aspire.