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What Kashmir thinks

india Updated: Aug 19, 2008 20:14 IST
David Devadas

That governor SK Sinha had a soft spot for Hindutva was all too evident. He regularly met VHP leaders and lengthened the Amarnath yatra from 14 days to two months. Also, Raj Bhawan became pretty much the office of the Shrine Board he headed. The board brought in all yatra supplies from outside the state, sidelining local Muslims who have traditionally been serving yatris and have been all this while making enough money to last the year.

And that wasn’t all. The majority of the Governor’s appointees to the board were Sangh Parivar men from outside Kashmir. Why? To give these men a long-term foothold in the Valley, of course — short-circuiting Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that is supposed to guarantee us of controlling our own affairs.

Sixty-five per cent of the population in J&K is Muslim. But you’ll find that most senior civil servants and police officers are Hindu. You know what that means? It means that the Indian government doesn’t trust a Muslim to run important departments like Home or Finance. No commissioner or secretary in the state government is a Muslim. There have only been two Muslim DGPs — ever. And most top police posts are with non-Muslims.

Jammu has been seeing development; the Valley has been neglected. The government has been soft on Jammu agitators. It has been brutal against us.

Sure, Kashmiri political parties haven’t been as pure as Gulmarg’s snow either. The PDP has been playing dirty. It first approved the land transfer, then brought down the state government. The Congress did nothing for the Valley while Ghulam Nabi Azad was CM. It did the right thing to rescind the land transfer. A by-product of the agitation here has been the bringing together of the two Hurriyat factions.

All this is funny — if it wasn’t tragic. We went out of our way to help yatris when the agitation started in June. The yatra itself had nothing to do with the mess at all. But we felt betrayed when Muslims were killed in Jammu. For 20 years, we presumed that the people in Jammu sympathised with the horrific human rights abuse we have suffered.

That presumption has now gone out of the window. That Hindus in Jammu killed even Muslims from beyond the Valley — including Gujjars, whom Indians used to claim to be pro-Indian — once again showed us the true face of India.

They hate Muslims.