The Hindu published a very crappy article about situation in Kashmir in July 27 Sunday Magazine. Dialogues in suffering Coming from a paper of such standing, its very disappointing, to put it mildly. So I wrote a letter to the editor. Hope it makes some difference.
I'm truly apalled by "Dialogues In Suffering" article in July 27 Sunday Magazine. Unlike previous week's article in the same space, this one if full of hyperbole and is completely one-sided. I'm from Jammu and have personaly seen most of the state. My parents and many relatives are in state government service and they have also travelled extensively accross the state.
You talk about suffering of Kashmiri Muslims. Its true that they are suffering, but you present it like they are the victims and Indian army a blood thirsty monster.
Quoting your line, "Even in small towns, you encounter even today bullet-proof tanks stationed on busy market squares and surly soldiers aremd with deadly weapons at every turn". This shows reporter's total lack of objectivity, knowledge and common sense.
I've been to Srinagar numerous times, right now my parents are in Srinagar with Civil secretariat. Nobody has ever seen a "tank" in civilian area. As far as I know and personally seen, Army has never deployed tanks in any civilian area. Vehicles used by them are troop carrier trucks, gypsy or an occasional mine-proof truck.
Further, what kind of equipment you expect soldiers to carrry? Soldiers don't carry flowers. They are trained and expected to use weapons.
Indian soldiers (the ones I've met), are usually friendly and polite. Its the local police that locals worry about mostly. Arrogant and corrupt to the bones.
Now coming to your so called kashmiri "victims". I wonder why the reporter completely forgot to mention Kashmri Hindus in this article. Lakhs of Kashmiri Hindus were forced to flee their homeland of 1000s of years by same people he writes about . They are living in worse conditions. A large percentage of them still live in one room tinsheds. Come visit Muthi, Doman region in Jammu city to see what I'm talking about
Mr. Mander also completely omits the fact that most of Kashmiris are completely anti-India.If he paid enough attention, he might have noticed that no Kashmiri house has electricty or water meters installed. Whole of J&K has new electronic meters installed recently but not Kashmir. Exact words of a Kashmiri who was against meters "hamara paisa Hindustani sarkar ko nahi jayega". This coming from a community who is completely dependent on Indian government for its survival. terrorism has destroyed tourism, only significant source fo income for Kashmiris and now if aid stops coming from centre, state government would not have enough money to pay salaries even to its ministers.
When they were protesting against allotment of land to Amarnath Srine board in Baltal, no national paper or TV channlel showed communal and secessionist statements by kashmiri politicians. They opposed the decison on grounds that its Indian govt's conspiracy to settle Hindus in Kashmir and oppress Muslim Kashmiris. That place is under snow for atleast 8-10 months every year. Who can stay there for whole year? Not to mention lack of electricty, water, roads in addition threat of terrorists and hostile locals. They protested chanting pro-pak and anti-India slogans and many locals unfurled paki and islamic flags on thier houses and other buildings. Many tourists including women and elderly were beaten up brutally during protests.
Terrorism was crushed in Pujab and Jammu. You know the reason? Because terrorists had no local support there. While its still alive and kicking in Kashmir. More than half of Kashmiri terrorists are locals and its common knowlede that they find support with many politicians (PDP, Hurriat) and locals. You print photo with caption, "Learning to live with violence". Do you even have an idea who is the perpetrater here? Walking on streets on Srinagar, you never kow which guy is going to take out a grenade or an assault rifle out of his firan(kashmiri robe) and use it onyou before disappearing inside the crowded lanes. Did Mr. Mander ever talk with any victim (and his/her family) of such attacks. 1000s of soldiers and civilians have lost their lives just like that.
Since when frisking is a form of violence? I've been checked numerous times and never had any unpleasent experience even in terrorism affected areas..(Rajauri, Poonch, Srinagar).
I'm not saying that Indian Army never committed any human rights violations.There are rotten apples everywhere but they are very few in our army. Any HR violation is condemned and guilty punished. Our arned forces are doing a praiseworthy job in very difficult conditions.
All I'm saying is please don't publish exaggerated and one-sided propoganda .I subscribe to your paper even though it reaches me one day late beacuse of your highly accurate and impartial reporting of facts without resorting to sensationalism or dumbing down of articles.
P.S : I don't expect my letter to be published in paper, but atleast keep my point of view in consideration