Deny the Separatist …

Deny the Separatist the support within India

June, 2011

State Government seems to have risen to the dangers posed by the forays of people like Gautam Navlakha, Arundhatti Roy, Ram Jethmalani and so many others who flaunt themselves as prominent members of the civil society of India who can help win supporters for the separatist cause in Jammu and Kashmir in rest of India. That the state government thinks that the indulgence of such persons in Kashmir affairs is in fact bringing instability and more trouble to the people of Jammu and Kashmir is a realization which should be welcomed. It needs however to be seen over a period of time whether the displeasure of the state government is merely a tactical and transient ploy to somehow ensure a peaceful tourist season in the valley this year or a more deeper realization of the support structures of separatism in the state in rest of the Indian mainland.

The public discourse in India has mainly remained focused on the support provided to the separatism in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan. There is no denying the fact that Pakistan continues to be the key and critical component of the separatist support structures in Jammu and Kashmir. But it is also true that there are many political actors and formations in rest of India who for their own reasons want the separatist pot boiling in the state. Ram Jethmalani led Kashmir committee is not a recent addition to the bandwagon of separatist supporters in India masquerading as peaceniks. In its first incarnation the Kashmir Committee had Dileep Padgaonkar, who is now the chief Interlocutor appointed by Government of India, as its member. Many apprehend that services of Ram Jethmalani’s Kashmir Committee have been sought by the interlocutors themselves to engage those in the separatist rank and file who have refused to meet them. Others say Kashmir Committee is a

proxy committee of BJP to convey signals to the separatist echelons in the valley that the party still continues to pursue the Vajpayee line even now despite the fact that it is not in a position to support it openly because of the change in the political arithmetic in the party as well as in the country. But when Mr. Jethmalani compares the situation in Kashmir with that of Germany when Nazis were at the helms of affairs in that country we are witnessing a vicious phenomenon of self-negation and self-flagellation which goes beyond the rationale of lobbying, engagement and political brinkmanship.

Ram Jethmalani has chosen to pick up the thread where Arundhatti Roy had left after she chose to exit herself from indulgence in Kashmir affairs for a while. Arundhatti Roy had described the repression in Kashmir so severe that people were even denied free breathing. Ram Jethmalani and Arundhatti Roy represent ideologically different poles and yet they seem to be meeting intensely in Kashmir. Or is it that both of them are actually approaching the task of balkanization of India using Kashmiri Muslim Separatism as a cardinal insult to the National unity.

The convergence of segments of Indian right and the radical left on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is perhaps more an indicator of the identity of the bigger powers which have been promoting both. Once we start examining the issue from this angle we reach an inevitable conclusion that the right and the left we recognize as right and left are in fact merely tools of a vicious imperialist maneuver in Jammu and Kashmir. The implications of Ram Jethmalani comparing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with Nazi Germany are the same as his support to the Musharraf formula. And these implications are perfectly in sync with what Arundhatti Roy and Gautam Navlakha have been saying and doing about Kashmir. Such interventions have been seen umpteen times in the past when the situation in Kashmir had shown signs of improvement and when the credibility of separatism was starting to take a nose dive. What is most intriguing is the abject silence of BJP high command on

the role of Ram Jethmalani in Jammu and Kashmir. What makes Jethmalani to become a stronger player in BJP than even Jaswant Sing who was expelled from the party for comments in his book which were not as dangerous as the utterances of Ram Jethmalani? Is it the legal support which he provides to Narendra Modi in Gujarat or is he the leader of the track two maneuver of BJP on Kashmir which provides the party the room for implementing the Vajpayee line while providing a sufficient space for deniability?

The government of India has ignored to its own discomfiture the support Kashmiri Muslim separatism has got from sections of political class in rest of India. The local governments in the state have also taken a long time to realize how encouragements from within help in complimenting the destabilsation campaigns on the ground. As the situation in Pakistan is deteriorating and the international opinion is waking up to the dangers posed by Muslim identity politics in fomenting and perpetuating culture of intolerance, the support which the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir are getting from within India is acting as a critical oxygen line. It is time that the political support line of separatists from within India is disrupted decisively for democratic process to shift from soft secessionism to a vibrant nationalist mode.