Majority Of Kashmiris Not Separatists, Surprised?
It is a surprising revelation. It is said that demonstrations following the hanging of Afzal Guru was confined to five districts, out of 22. In India, the general impression was that the whole of the Valley was up against India. It is now being openly claimed that only 15 per cent of Sunnis –which include Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti—are pro-separatists. And they are confined in five districts. The Shias, Sufis, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians are not pro-separatists. Pakistan has no attraction for them, nor has Islamabad made any overtures to them.
These facts were for inexplicable reasons never brought out. Whenever any stone-pelting or demonstrations takes place, everyone in India presumes the discontent that led to protests was shared by all in the Valley. But obviously it’s not true. And this is quite logical. “We forget that two of the three regions of J&K are not Muslim majority areas. 85,000 square kilo metres are not…When we talk of separatism, there haven’t been any protests against India in this 85 per cent area till date,” asserted Arun Kumar. Speaking at a seminar on Parliament’s Unanimous Resolution on Jammu & Kashmir 22 February, 1994’ he said: “There’s only one section of community, the Kashmiri-speaking Sunni Muslims, who talk about separatism. I often ask channels, media, and even common people that when you see a TV debate on Kashmir, who you see. Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah, Gilani, Asiya Andrabi, Lone. Who are these people? There’s an area in Jammu & Kashmir comprising five districts from where this section of community, the Kashmiri-speaking Sunni Muslims come from.”
It is he who informed that J&K has around 12 per cent Shia Muslims, around 12-14 per cent Gujjar Muslims and around 8 per cent Pahadi Rajput Muslims besides Sufis, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus; none of these communities had any separatist leaders and the press never invites them to appear on their programmes.
“When Afzal Guru was hanged, the media made it appear as if the entire state was out on the streets. The reality was that out of 22 districts, there was not a single demonstration in 17 districts and only five districts faced mild demonstrations.”
To affirm his revelations he cited various examples. “For instance, Poonch has 90 per cent Muslims but this district is dominated by powerful Sikhs, Kargil has 90 per cent Muslims, Kargil city has more than 99 per cent Muslims but there was not a single protest in those areas. In India the perception about J&K is that a battle between nationalism and separatism is going on for past 68 years in the whole state. Nationalism has neither been lost nor will it be, because in most areas of the state, majority of the people are nationalists”, said Kumar.
He also reiterated that there was no dispute over J&K and the only issue relating to the state is “how to get back areas that are under the occupation of Pakistan and China”. “There is no dispute over Jammu & Kashmir. The creation of Ladakh as a separate state is a must which is like any other state in the country,” he added.
All these mean separatism, and the alleged disputes and autonomy can only be treated like three myths associated with the whole state. The J&K cannot be a separatist state. This is because J&K is perceived first as just the Kashmir Valley—Kashmir which has a Muslim majority—Kashmir which has a separatist movement, wherein the Indian tricolour is burnt and Pakistan’s flag is unfurled, that happens only in five districts.
The State should be considered as one entity comprising of the Jammu region which has the maximum ground area, Ladakh and only then the Kashmir Valley.