In the early 90’s whenever there were plans by leaders to fast unto death or go on a hunger strike – a majority of the population would fast with them. Kashmir saw itself as one homologous unit, there were supposed to be no differences. Everyone had one goal: Azadi. There were no contours of this Azadi. It was crystal clear and above all, no one doubted the intentions of the leaders.
Today a hunger strike is seen more as an attempt to make ones presence felt than a tool of non-violent protest, as it is made out to be. And our iconic Hunger Striker is Yasin Malik, who has once again vowed to go on hunger strike for human rights abuses and etc.
Why do these symbolic gestures result in nothingness?
Symbolic gestures are essential, but have to be an extension of
concerete actions, and not concrete actions in themselves. It appears hunger strikes and talks on deep rooted conspiracies are the only achievements constructed on the sacrifices people have been giving.
A researcher wanted some data on HR abuses that the APHC and approached them for it. The response, which I can not put here, would make you cry. The state of Kashmir’s struggle is a lot of rhetoric and lacks any real effort or hard work by the separatist establishment for Kashmir. ALl their work is directed back towards them. Mirwaiz travelled Central Asia for his PhD, but he would have had to travel a lot less, and would have had a lot more to show to the people, if his thesis was on Human Rights in Kashmir.
Talking is easy, it requires no effort, but recorded, verifiable data is essential to claim anything, words alone do not stand scrutiny. Geelani has been talking about International Criminal Court, but those courts do not take press releases as proof, and he needs to understand that. We should be thankful to organizations like AI and HRW for doing some of that work for us.
Also of interest is the google time line of Yasin Malik’s hunger strikes:
Between 03-06, Yasin Malik gave up going hungry (any ideas why?), but Mirwaiz (time line below) continued. A look at these two time lines shows the differences between these leaders and that it isnt the events in Kashmir that determine their actions, but their own personal agendas. One would have thought that the strikes would peak at the same time for both the leaders (assuming that they would go on a hunger strike for increased human rights abuses) but that’s not happening.
The state of Kashmir’s police
The man behind the killings of Kashmiris in the summer unrest, SM Sahai, nearly admits to the presence of torture camps in Kashmir in a BBC interview. In this interview he brushes aside the credibility of ICRC, as if it were the State Human Rights Commission, and calls ICRCs credibility an opinion of the radio host. If this is the attitude of the head of police towards ICRC, the only organisation in the world with a legal mandate on human rights, one gets a snap shot of how insignificant human rights and accountability are to the state, rhetoric not withstanding.