island of secularism and a beacon-light to the benighted subcontinent was
how Mahatma Gandhi described Kashmir at the time of partition of India.
Now, the very same island of secularism has been invaded by Islamic fundamentalism.
very same valley of Kashmir is now in turmoil. Yes, it is. Only a democracy
can provide an outlet to political grievances. Only a democracy can accommodate
dissent . . . through talks, discussions and subsequent actions. But what
if the other side does not believe in dialogues . . . does not believe
either in an Opposition or in a representative Government . . . no, not
even in democracy itself.
therefore, represents a major challenge not only to the nascent Indian
democracy, but also to all democracies. How can a democracy confront a
non-democratic system that uses democratic clichés - human rights, self-determination
and azadi - to wit secession from India, while it itself flouts all democratic
values? How can a democracy take on a Jehad that does not believe in democratic
tenets but rather exploits them to the hilt for furthering its own vested
interests? More so when the current phase of disruptive activities is aimed
at the revival of Islamic fundamentalism through terrorism, and a sponsored
one at that.
half-truths and systematic disinformation about the political Situation
and terrorist mayhem has been the order of the day. The Press and political
activists are hostages to terrorists. Freedom of opinion, of dissent and
of belief are unconditional hostages to their outfits. Their methods of
propaganda are recognizably Nazi-like and Fascist. Their cry for Azadi
is a mere facade for secession. A cry that robs men of even their basic
Constitutional freedoms. No civilised society can withstand this concept
of azadi where the non-Muslim minorities have been hounded out, asked to
change their vocations and ways of life . . . where even humane values
are decreed as evil.
cannot exist without media coverage. Most of local journalists, who also
act as guides for the visiting ones, actively assist terrorists in carrying
out their objectives. Terrorists, and their mentors across the border,
weigh the potential impact of media coverage prior to their operations.
And they then carry them out. Actions are designed to manipulate coverage
by creating events and incidents that will hog the headlines, at times
due to their great nuisance values, at others because of prevalent media
practices. A type of manipulation that must be considered as victimization of media making journalists unwilling and quite often unwitting accomplices
in Kashmir has almost become an ancillary activity for a majority of local
journalists. Barring the Verghese Committee of the Press Council of India,
the role of media in the Kashmir imbroglio has not been objectively examined
in its empirical aspect.
paradise on earth, as the Valley was described by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan,
is bleeding. Its saffron flowers spurt blood instead of fragrance. Legendary
for its happy, carefree and smiling faces till 1989, Kashmir is now a valley
full of visages scarred with wrinkles of tension and uncertainty. The paradise
which beckoned people with the songs of its cascading streams, itself lies
stunned by the sound of bullets and bombs.
an evil eye cast its spell over it? It is believed that if the elders would
burn isband (aromatic seeds), the spell of the eye will break. Where have
all the elders gone . . Alas, the evil eye of Islamic fundamentalism has
fissured the social fabric of society in the Valley and has not only threatened
the age-old communal amity and traditional composite Kashmiri culture,
but also posed a potent danger to Indian democracy.