A brave Kashmiri voice

But who will bell the cat?

Here is one brave voice making a not very fashionable point:

Not in my name: I now believe that just as the ordinary people spoke out against Gujarat, because the dastardly deeds were done in their name, it is high-time that we, the ordinary people of J&K, spoke up. In unison. We must speak out, shout, and scream till our voices get hoarse. I saw how almost routinely, for more than two years now, almost on a daily basis, newspapers, TV channels, magazines, have had an unrelenting profusion of Hindu names and faces lamenting what happened to the innocent Muslims of Gujarat. The situation with J&K is undoubtedly not completely analogous, but I feel almost compelled to demand that we, the common people of the valley, have to let our voices be heard, read and registered, that don’t want any bloodshed, that we do not want any killings of anybody in our name.

When writing in the backdrop of the brutal murder of tourists, perhaps this is not an opportune time to speak of starting a movement for the rehabilitation of the displaced Kashmiri Pundits, and all those who have suffered, but in our own self-interest it is time to speak out. The risks involved are many, and there is the fear of the gun–but the guns have to be silenced somehow. If they won’t be, perhaps individually we could begin by trying to drown out their obscene sounds with a loud and clear scream — not in my name [Shabnam Ali/Outlook]

Unfortunately, self-appointed flag-bearers of Kashmiri opinion have their own sponsors and agenda; they care little about what the common people of the valley really want. Terrorism may have disrupted the lives and livelihood of a generation of ordinary Kashmiris, but Kashmiri separatist politicians are too scared to condemn the terrorists. Lofty-softies elsewhere in India can only see the atrocities perpetrated by the security forces – and not what sent them to Kashmir in the first place.

Shabnam Ali’s sentiment is worthy of applause. Such voices are the best hope for peace in Kashmir. Unfortunately, it is difficult for these voices to be heard above the noise of terrorist gunfire. One reason why elements such as the Hurriyat fear elections is because they know that this is the voice of the silent majority of the Kashmiri people.