Eid curfewed in Kashmir, but why?

K B Jandial

It is said that for the first time in the history of Kashmir major mosques in Kashmir – Hazartbal Dargah, Jamia Masjid, and Dastageer sahib shrine were locked on Eid-ul-Azha,preventing Eidcongregation and prayers.It did not happen even during Sikh and Dogra rules.

The most important mainstream leader Omar Abdullah who could not offer Eid prayers even at SayidSahib Shrine in his neighbourhood, predicted that “it is going to have huge backlash”, terming the action as “an unforgivable offence that had no parallel in Kashmir’s tumultuous history”. He said, “When you prohibit Eid prayers and impose an unprecedented curfew on Eid in the only Muslim majority State in the country – you are going out of your way to vindicate the stand of those who question the moral legitimacy of Kashmir’s association with the Union of India in view of such repression.” Very hard words from a former CM and a Union Minister, indeed!

Another mainstream leader and sitting MP Traiq Hamid Kara found the occasion appropriate to resign Lok Sabha seat and PDPand described the action as “religious aggression”. Once shut down in 1819, it is a historic religious place constructed by Sultan Sikandar Shah in 1394.

The Jamia Masjid had seen many ups and downs while Hazartbal Dargarh, remained closed for Muslim faithfuls during October-November, 1993 when militants had occupied the shrine and after many days of negotiations they were given safe passage to save this revered place from possible destruction.But this time it was different.

There is no doubt that the Govt.’s action was unprecedented that had bearing on the Muslims’ religious rights in Kashmir.Was the decision motivated to trample religious rights of Muslims or it saved life and property of many? Will anyone give  a thought to it?

How can those who cried hoarse over it overlook the dangerous designs of separatists to link EID congregations with call for “UN chalo”? It was win win situation for them – the Govt.was forced to curfew Eid congregations that further alienated Kashmiris; and if the Govt. had allowed Eid congregations, uncontrollable gathering of tens of thousands of faithfuls wouldhavebeen motivated to march towards UN office; and given the existing ground situation, it would have left atrail of death and destruction. That too would have been advantageousto separatists who are thriving on Kashmiri blood.

How can these leaders, especially Omar Abdullahforget violence resorted to by the disbursing crowd from Jamia Masjid on Eid in 10 September 2010 despite promise made by the Mirwaiz of peaceful protest? The curfewed Eid has made Mehbooba a target of Kashmiri hate and anger, for which no CM could have avoided in these circumstances. Partially it is also because the administration failed to explain the unavoidable decision to impose curfew on Eid to only to protect life and property of people in view of separatists’ UN Chalo call.How she would overcome it in months to come would be a real test of her political career, especially when she doesn’t have the matured advice of her father or other stalwarts, making her to fightalone? These are the travails of power!

Meanwhile, Geelani led joint resistance amalgam  continue to issue the weekly calendar of protests which invariably has  call for one march or the other to keep the pot boiling and violence continued unabated, the resultant bloodshed notwithstanding.

While it was,indeed, unprecedented to clamp curfew on such an important religious day, but when the administration has to make a call between the religious rights and preventing possible mayhem the decisionhas to be to safeguard life and property of the people. The Govt. has no choice but to go to any extent to avoid loss of life, curtailment of rights notwithstanding. The Islamic kingdom of Jordan, an influential member of OIC, has even gone beyond Kashmir. Faced with the threat of jihadist groups, the Govt ordered temporary closure of 2000 mosques to prevent militant preachers ascending the pulpits. The Imamshadto recite only the approved sermons sent to them on their mobiles. They know that Friday sermons are potentially dangerous for them. Imams in Kashmir’s mosques, however,have unbridled liberty to spew venom against the country after prayers.

The most shocking impact of the situation is on children who are making “stone pelting” a new plaything within their homes. A mother in Khanqah-e-Moula regretfully confided to a reporter that her children have forgotten their toys or cricket but only want to play stone throwing. They repeat in side home what they see on the streets. The psychiatrists fear that the situation would affect the development of personality of the children.

Education in Kashmir is ruined as session lost is irretrievable. But are the separatists concerned about the future of Kashmiri students? Or their only job is to perpetuate instability and blood trotting unrest in Kashmir? The “enterprising educationists” of Jammu have started special coaching classes for Kashmiri students where 15000 students are already studying to save their session.

While Kashmir tourism is yet another big causality of the situation, the marriage season too has been shattered for due to violence, curfews and shutdowns.Some of the families, however, temporary migrated to Jammu and performed wedding.

The Eid greetings to Kashmiri friends and consequent brief discussion on the situationdid leave a bad taste in the mouth. The anger was experienced in many cases who didn’t, for once maintained the red line, and spoke with all hatred for Modi and Mehbooba. There was the counter argument on the usual accusation which had gone viral on social media, that none of the children of separatists joined the bandwagon of “intifada” and they are only putting children of the poor families in front of the fire line of police and security forces. The counter argument was that none of the leaders of national freedom movement send their wards to participate in the struggle. But the learned friend forgot that whenever violence erupted in any of the satyagrahs, Mahatma Gandhi withdrew the call because he was concerned about his people, unlike Kashmiri separatists. In Kashmir every day of bloodshed is greeted with extension of shutdowns and another march that could shed more blood. But who cares?

Another friend lamented that Jammu and Delhi are having sadistic pleasure on the using excessive force on innocent protestors. While Jammu maintains communal harmony and peace despite occasional attacks on tankers and trucks of Jammu transporters carrying supplies to the Valley, its people share the pain of those who lost their near and dear in this mindless violence. Thereare absolutely no signs of “sadistic pleasure” in Jammu over bloodbath in Kashmir. Hatred against Delhi and Jammu would serve no good to any Kashmirior their purported cause which Jammu doesn’t support.

Even those who support the idea of azadi know well that it is unachievable. Kashmiri hawks should not forget that prolonged unrest in Kashmir and continuous raising the flag of anti-India would only provoke a counter movement for trifurcation of J&K to end Kashmir’s domination in Jammu and Ladakh.


There was other resentmentdue to emerging situation claiming that it was mishandled.They accuse Mehbooba for not being firm on those who are holding the entire population to ransom by their ‘talbanic’ actions. In Bandipore, a single teenaged boy smashed the glass of one of the opened shops in the market with all other meekly succumbing to his diktat. The police too was not keen to arrest him.

Others lament that post evening scenario is much to be desired as withdrawal of CRPF and local police in the evening brings the teenagers on road to take control of public movement. Some officers regret that CM is vacillating on certain law and other issues.

It is not a fact that entire population supports this cycle of unrest, even though one may not like to make 5% versus 95%. A recent tweet from a Kashmiri Muslim to Justice Markandey Katju unfolds another paradigm in Kashmir. The twitter, who sought anonymity, divides people in Kashmir in two categories- Rulers whom he called as Syeds and Cattle (remaining people). In the category of Rulers he puts all political biggies of Kashmir –Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabir Shah, Aisya Andrabi, Mehbooba Mufti, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani, Mushtaq Peer, Gulzar Peer. He believes that these people control the Waqf Board and top posts of power across all companies, banks, partieswhiloe their kids are studying outside so obviously no one can raise an issue.

The second category of people has to obey everything:

  • We do what they command us to do:
  • We go out to die on the road:
  • We don’t stop our kids from pelting stones:
  • Our kids don’t go to School:
  • Our sick don’t reach the Hospitals:
  • Our shops are closed:
  • We form the lower ranks of J&K Police
  • Our youth join militancy:
  • We fight for azadi& even if we get that it who will be the Incharge of the administration;
  • If freedomis neededfrom anything, it’s from the rulers who have been brainwashing us for generations and nothing will change if they continue to be at the top level.

The twitter is the symbolof “silent Kashmiris” who for the fear of retaliation by the “protestors” prefer to remain inside their homes but understand the dangerous politics of “protests” and the forces stoking these.

Who actually controls Kashmir“intifada”? Leaderless teenagers or Geelani and other pro-Pak separatists? It is believed that Jamait-e-Islamihaving strong base in South Kashmir is behind this cycle of unrest while separatists trying to remain relevant to the situation by issuing weekly shutdown calendar.Many feel that the unrest would last at least up till the session of UNGA to embarrass India and provide fodder to Nawaz Sharif for his speech in UN. But he may feel the heat for terror strike in Uri on Sunday last. Semantics apart, Kashmiris are fighting a losing battle at their own peril.

(feedback: kbjandial@gmail.com)

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