majid Maqbool from Srinagar

From Hard News: Say ‘K’

Always begin with “K is an integral part of India”. That  is, if the people of Kashmir keep coming out on the streets to demand azadi (freedom), protesting against the occupation of their lives and their land, if they keep expressing dissatisfaction with their democratically elected government. Remind people of the free and fair elections held in 2002 and 2008 (not the rigged ones; don’t mention 1987), high voter turnout, elected representatives, other such democratic terms. If Kashmiris still shout azadi, tell the world repeatedly from the studios of ‘popular’ news channels: Pak-sponsored elements and separatists are responsible for the unrest in the valley. They are instigating people to shout azadi on the streets.

Indeed, Kashmiris want peace, normalcy, and good governance. Azadi, whatever that damned word means, is a Pak-creation!
Use all these interchangeable words to describe the unarmed people who protest on the streets: mobs, agitators, terrorists, arsonists, mobsters, separatist sympathisers, paid agents etc. Legitimise military force against unarmed people, delegitimise peoples’ protests. Then, say it loud and clear, this “cycle-of-violence” has to end.

Play taped phone conversation of people on the streets as ‘credible evidence’ on prime time news. For example, if person A is somewhere saying “10-15 people should be martyred”, pick this line and translate it into, “We want 10-15 to be martyred”. Then bring in “home ministry sources” to give credence to that just-exposed new conspiracy hatched somewhere across the border to create trouble in Kashmir. Prove that the planning behind stone pelting is done in some unknown terrorist-infested mountain (also called ”safe haven”) across the border. Say that’s where the trouble originates, not on the streets of Kashmir.

Make sure that a certain ‘sarkari’ investigative journalist (of Islamist-Kashmiris and five-police-station-theory fame) writes about this piece of evidence, and the compulsive television rabble-rouser in Delhi talks about it in his high-pitched patriotic voice on prime time news. Also, why not declare that Kashmiri youth are getting paid by separatists to come out on the streets and pelt stones at the security forces? Oh, these are drugged, jobless youth who have no idea of why they are pelting stones. Don’t forget to mention the outside support (always, Pakistan), terrorism (Pakistan), infiltration (never-ending) encouraged from across the border. Occasionally, also talk about ‘Chinese incursions’ on the other side of Kashmir.

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