The leftist propaganda The Wire interviewed PDP spokesperson Waheed ur-Rahman Para which was published as an ‘edited testimony’ by the portal on 5th of May 2019. The testimony reveals the dangerous mindset of politicians in the valley and that of a vast section of Kashmiri society.
The testimony also reveals that Kashmiri terrorism is not merely a political issue, it’s deeply religious. In a single testimony, Rahman equates cows to terrorists, attempts to undermine the legitimacy of anti-terror operations and hypes up the Hindu-Muslim divide.
The ‘testimony’ of the PDP politician which The Wire published without any rejoinder only reveals the hidden agenda of certain leftist media outlets. The ideas voiced in the ‘testimony’ are quite dangerous and yet, The Wire meticulously reproduces them without any critique of its own or even a counter question to the interviewee who is mouthing off dangerous rhetoric.
The article says, “Yesterday’s funeral [of Lateef ‘Tiger’] – these funerals are now the political events of south Kashmir. Ten thousand people arrive spontaneously, without an invitation. This is the crowd we should be seeing at political rallies. Those 10,000 people are voters – but who among them is going to vote? Their sentiments are on the boil because, for the first time, the government became more interested in anti-militant operations as elections got closer. Otherwise, if you want a smooth election, you don’t mobilise 10,000 people against participating. Automatically, an encounter is an anti-election event.”
It appears fairly obvious, although quite evidently not to Rahman, that terrorist sympathizers not voting in Indian elections is a good thing. I cannot imagine them voting for a candidate who’s conducive to Indian interests. If anti-terror operations are seen as anti-election events, then perhaps, the people do not deserve to participate in democratic politics. And it is a sad reflection of Kashmiri politics that even politicians speak the language of terrorist sympathizers. But then again, politicians are only a reflection of the electorate. And it shows that the people of Kashmir need to set their priorities in order.
Rahman says further, “Here, they are not avoiding confrontation – rather, they are inviting it. As a result, south Kashmir is in a constant state of funerals. It is massive mourning. We cannot go now and talk about votes, and tell them, ‘Let’s dance for this democracy’. We cannot ask for a celebration amid their mourning. Each of the 7,000 people at yesterday’s funeral [in Dongarpora, Pulwama] will stop their families from coming out. And the district where the operation happened [Shopian] will do the same. It is a design to kill the democratic process.”
If people are mourning terrorists who have been eliminated, then it’s them who are at fault, not Army or the Government of the time. If people prioritize terrorism over their democratic right, then it’s their choice. Of course, choices have consequences and they will have to live with them for the remainder of their lives.
The PDP spokesperson also has issues with the decision of the Election Commission to conduct elections in three phases in a single constituency. While Rahman reserves great criticism for the EC, he doesn’t have a single harsh word to spare for the terrorists and their sympathizers who necessitate such drastic measures.
On one hand, Rahman claims that people won’t come out to vote because of the encounters in the state and then proceeds to blame the Election Commission for conducting elections in three phases which he believes is designed to reduce voter turnout. Both of them, quite obviously, cannot be simultaneously true. Either people don’t want to vote, in which case the EC’s decision has no effect, or voters will not come out to vote as they fear being targeted by terrorists and their sympathizers who Rahman was himself sympathizing with earlier. Rahman cannot have his cake and eat it too.
What appears most dangerous, however, when he rakes up the Hindu-Muslim communal divide to justify his rhetoric. He says, “A lot of Kashmiri police officers also conduct encounters, but they do not celebrate them. They understand that sensitivity. But the people celebrating on TV, or in the BJP, are non-Muslims. Those who are mourning are Muslims.”
If there was ever any doubt that Kashmiri separatism is inspired by religious motives, then they should be buried to rest. People should stop being ostriches and confront the real issue here. Rahman does get one thing wrong, however. It’s not recently that people of Kashmir have started seeing the security forces as Hindu. It has always been the case. The Indian Army has always been hated in the valley. The hatred is such that stones were pelted as CRPF soldiers lay dying in the aftermath of the Pulwama Terror Attack. It’s a trend that has been observed for decades.
We are constantly bombarded with propaganda that terrorism has no religion and yet, it appears people who claim such a thing themselves admit that those who mourn the death of terrorists do have a religion and they are Muslims. It’s a remarkable cognitive dissonance.
Amidst all of this, Rahman manages to drag in the Amarnath Yatra as well and claims military operations aren’t conducted in the run-up to the Hindu pilgrimage to prevent tensions from escalating. He conveniently forgets to mention that pilgrims are awarded the most stringent of security during the Yatra and despite, sometimes, it’s not enough and terrorists succeed in their monstrous deeds.
The most hilarious bit certainly is the false comparison drawn between cows and dead terrorists. Cows give us milk and help us in various other endeavours while the only thing terrorists have to offer is blood and death. The testimony offers great insight into the psyche of Kashmiri politicians and that of the people in the valley. It also reveals why the situation in Kashmir is unlikely to improve in the coming years.
Most importantly, however, the ‘testimony’ reveals how eager so many media portals are to provide platforms to terrorist sympathizers and Kashmiri separatists and effectively work as their mouthpiece.