This is for the attention of those of my otherwise well meaning friends and well wishers from mainland India who, in the aftermath of Aug 5th, 2019 betrayal were constantly trying to empathise and reassure me that “The abrogation of Article 370 was soon going to usher in a new dawn of joy, happiness, progress and prosperity to Kashmiris”. Now more than two years after that massive harakiri by the Central govt, what is seen to be unfolding in Kashmir right now is what a sheer majority of Kashmiris, including this writer of course, had reasons to feel deeply sceptical about these reassurances. The current scenario as it obtains in Kashmir is reason enough why Kashmiris would think that way. And here is why!
As if the massive brutality and unspeakable violence being committed in Kashmir are not enough, the people here are now witnessing and experiencing something that had led to the white racists in S. Africa to eat the dust and shut shop after the people had raised in revolt to challenge and dislodge them from power. Closer home, if the endless state sponsored violence has been used by the State to suppress the sentiment, and to use that to prevent a revolt against it being precipitated in Kashmir while resorting to the most draconian measures to achieve that, this latest case of the Aparthied will.
The reference is to a recent development involving local Kashmiris being denied entry including to the only 5-star hotel in Srinagar – the Grand Lalit Palace, the erstwhile Grand Oberoi Palace.
The other day, a newly married couple in my family accompanied by some family members had gone out for dinner to the same Grand Lalit Palace. As they had entered the Restaurent lounge to relax, unwind, spend some good time and treat themselves to dinner there, the manager at the reception desk goes to the table and tells them rather tersely, and even rudely:
“NO KASHMIRIS ARE ALLOWED INSIDE THE RESTAURENT!!!”
For those like me and millions of Kashmiris, that was like a cat being set among the pigeons! Because what followed thereafter was even more disconcerting. The normal reaction of an aggrieved guest at the hotel would have been for him to step backwards and head elsewhere to unwind and indulge himself there. But the party in question chose to plead, and rightly so, that the (un) rule was plainly stupid and outrageous and that the management had no business no issue such insane dictates which were in flagrant violation of the “sacred” constitution. However, as was to be expected, the management was unimpressed. This led to the elder member of the group look for his contacts in the Administration to draw their attention to this ghadtly spectacle. The result was that soon thereafter a senior official of the hotel management appears on the scene to assuage the guests who were served the belated dinner, something that should have been the case right in the beginning without the avoidable fuss.
Now what does all that add up to? As should be clear, it doesn’t look like that such outlandish stipulations are always issued in black and white, even as they seem to be part of a well designed but deeply devious plan of subjecting the people of Kashmir to insult, indignity and injustice by adopting such measures as part of unspoken, unwritten convention. That’s even worse given that a formal legislation of these diabolical measures would have attracted both national and international opprobrium.
The main takeaway of the discussion is that such worst forms of crime against humanity have been going on here for a long, very long time. This is disgusting to the core and has the potential to unleash a South Africa kind of upheaval in Kashmir – far more elemental in its fury than what has been going on here since 1988 – against the enemies of democracy and human dignity. All that’s needed to achieve that is a Nelson Mandela in his avatar as a mass leader in Kashmir. Such contretemps as encountered in the Grand Lalit would only help accelerate the coming to the scene of such great characters in the bruised and brutalized valley of Kashmir.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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