The Mirwaiz and his clique have no right to prick India Inc’s conscience
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, supposedly the moderate face of a potentially politically acceptable Hurriyat, sought to remind corporate India of its duty. The Indian Express reports that he sent the rest of India this ‘wake-up call’.
As thousands wept while they prayed for the quake victims, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who led special prayers at Srinagarâ€™s Jamia Masjid today, sent the rest of India a wake-up call: â€˜â€˜It is sad that people have not responded to this great tragedy. This was not expected. When Latur and Bhuj were ravaged, big industrialists stepped forward to help. But no one seems to be coming to our aid.â€™â€™[IE]
An insinuation, and a rather obvious one, that India is not treating its Kashmiri citizens with the same sympathy that it reserves for rest. The Mirwaiz, of course, did not find it necessary to mention that thanks largely to the more than a decade long reign of terror unleashed by his supporters, much of the state of Jammu & Kashmir is effectively out of bounds to ordinary citizens.
Nor did he find it necessary to consider that geography plays an important role in how fast aid — private or official — can reach disaster victims. And wasn’t it the Hurriyat’s ‘boys’ who were killing railway engineers in order to prevent Kashmir from being better connected to the rest of India?
And it is particularly ironic that the Hurriyat leader sought to remind India Inc of its duty. For last November, the Hurriyat pooh-poohed the Indian prime minister’s special economic development package for Kashmir. Money for schools and buildings, they said, gave them the ‘feeling that the government just wants to buy them over’.
And when Kashmir was hit by another, relatively smaller disaster earlier this year — heavy snowstorms in February — the jihadis took advantage of the Army being diverted for relief operations and used the opportunity to launch suicide attacks. The Mirwaiz did not condemn them then.
And why, jihadi terrorists brutally murdered 12 villagers in Kashmir even before the earth had settled after recent quake. The Hurriyat saw no need to condemn that act of violence.
That India needs to improve its disaster management system has been abundantly clear for some time now, especially after the tsunami. That hundreds of thousands of people feel that aid is not reaching them as fast as they would desire is also clear. But it is also necessary to document that the India — led by the Indian Army, which has the most effective reach on the ground — is doing its best to deliver relief to its affected citizens. The Hurriyat remains true to its churlish form when it tries to paint a deliberately misleading picture by focussing on what India Inc is doing or not doing to help. What the Mirwaiz is doing is cynically exploiting raw emotions of disaster victims and using them to serve his partisan agenda. Before he proceeds any further, he would do well to dwell on the observations of Amanullah Khan, chief of one of the oldest Kashmiri terrorist organisations, and resident of Pakistani occupied Kashmir.
It’s a shame as the government on the other side acted promptly and provided relief and rescue in all the affected areas. People are angry here as they think Islamabad has double standards, even in handling natural disasters. [IE]
Update: To its credit, the ‘BBC’ has a balanced report on why private aid is less conspicuous in this case.