All talk of Azadi in Kashmir is only a smokescreen to cover the narrow religious demand

Rajiv Lochan

Religious extremism and terrorism drove the Kashmiri Hindus away from their homes and made them refugees in their own country.

The violence in Kashmir was never for democratic self-rule because Kashmiris had that ever since India became independent. The discomfort Kashmiris felt was about the laws that should underpin this self-rule. Also, there was a total confusion because the Congress cabal ruling India during the now dead and gone Congress period insisted on promoting separatism, religious extremism, communalism and casteism.

Take the case of the Hurriyat and, the terrorists, both of which rejected a secular Constitution. The terrorist groupings and Hurriyat did use a word called “Azadi”. But azadi was just a cover to push a narrow, religious demand. These people never had any confusion about what azadi means for them. They did not even hide their intent. It was just the people of the Congress period, journalists, politicians, government officials, jurists, journalists, academics, human rights workers, who deluded themselves into reading some other meaning into the objectives of the terrorists and the Hurriyat whose singular stated objective was to impose Shariah rule. The interesting fact is that such an objective was nurtured by, provided space by, the weird Nehruvian belief that because Kashmir had a Muslim majority therefore it should be provided a separate status. Various Congress governments, the officers of government, journalists, jurists, academics and others responsible for the actual running of government promoted such a slide in Kashmir. Often they even provided protection to the terrorists. When the Indian Parliament revoked Article 370 it removed the very ground upon which these Shariah mongers were standing.

Those who remain confused about Kashmir and ignorant about its “azadi” need to understand this. Or else they are best off living somewhere away from India. India does not need them. There is no place for them in post-Congress India. Post-Congress India is extremely intolerant towards people of this variety.

The author, Rajiv Lochan, a JNU alumnus, is a renowned historian, scholar, author and academician

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