<img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-1822" title="Syed Geelani" src="http://www.defenceinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/
2012/08/Syed-Geelani.jpg” alt=”" width=”271″ height=”189″ />
2012/08/Syed-Geelani.jpg” alt=”" width=”271″ height=”189″ />The dilemma of being Syed Ali Shah Geelani lies in constantly having to raise and keep alive an issue that has the capacity of derailing the process of governance and disrupting everyday life in the valley. For long now, he has been making concerted efforts to ensure that the image of Kashmir that is broadcast world-wide is one of mass-discontent, strife and perhaps even revolution. A number of instances in the last few months can be quoted to elucidate the meticulous planning being done by Geelani to keep his reprehensible agenda alive and ticking.
The latest victim of Geelani’s politics of disruption is the Panchayati Raj system reintroduced in the Valley after many decades. The Panchayat elections in 2011 were considered to be historic in conflict ridden Jammu and Kashmir. 33,500 Panches and Sarpanches were elected across the state in an election held after many decades. The election took place in Kashmir despite a call from the separatists, most vociferously led by Syed Geelani, to boycott the same. Once elected, the Panches and Sarpanches have had to face intimidation by terrorists supported by the political pressure generated by the separatists. In June this year, over four hundred Panchayat members from South Kashmir resigned from their posts following a threat by terrorist groups warning them of dire consequences unless they published their resignation in newspapers.
The government has put in maximum effort to assist the smooth implementation of the system; a high powered committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary has been constituted to suggest means to transfer empowerment. The government is doing its best, yet, facing the flak. This is the result of the sustained intimidation and media campaign launched by the separatists at the behest of Geelani. The end result is that the noble concept of grass root empowerment instituted with great difficulty has simply failed to take off.
At a time when the tourist season in the valley was in full swing Syed Geelani chose to endorse a diktat to tourists by the Jamait-ul-Islami to follow a model code of dress and demeanour that practically forbade the donning of western apparel in the valley. Geelani justified this diktat by claiming that the foreign tourist inflow was causing an erosion of the cultural ethos of the state. Predictably, the Kashmiri tourism industry lost no time in condemning this statement of his which they considered counter-productive to the flourishing tourist trade in the valley.
A few days later, the leader reacted to the laudable efforts being made by the State and Central Governments to bring the Kashmiri Pandits back to the valley with a weird conspiracy theory. He said that the Central Government was acting on the advice of Israel and was developing enclaves where it would settle non-Kashmiri’s.The intention, Geelani feels, is to bring about a change in the demographic structure of the valley. How would the return of Kashmiris to Kashmir alter the demographic structure of the
valley is something that one is at a loss to understand, but then, who can find logic in the statements of the infant terrible of Kashmir?
This apart, Geelani also wants the Government to give the Pandits money to buy back property that has been unfairly wrested away from them. One wonders as to why he does not recommend restoration of the property of the Pundits from those who have illegally occupied it. Obviously, by saying so he would be earning the ire of the miscreant element of Kashmiri society that he himself represents and no doubt, relies upon for support.
More recently, the death of a Kashmiri youth in an encounter in Bandipora has once again provided to Geelani the opportunity to lash out at the Indian security forces, his favourite punching bag. The death of a civilian in firing is indeed an unfortunate happening but then it was hardly a premeditated act. In any case an inquiry has been initiated and if its report implicates the security personnel involved they will be brought to justice. Nothing can be achieved by inciting people into protest and violence; law should be allowed to take its course in the matter. Geelani, however, does not feel any need to allow this to happen.
It seems that Geelani has never noticed that whereas India has ensured that the demographic complexion of the valley on the Indian side remains unaltered, successive regimes in Pakistan have, for decades, been settling people from Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK). As a result, the demographic structure in POK has completely changed with the ethnic population being reduced to a minority in their own land at a very fast pace.
In the circumstances, the question that emerges is, who is it that the efforts of Geelani are going to benefit? Certainly not the Kashmiri’s or the state of Jammu and Kashmir; if Geelani actually has the good of Kashmir in his heart then he would be using his good offices with Pakistan to alleviate the sorry lot of people residing in POK to, at least, try and raise their living standards to the same level as Kashmiris in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Instead, he is pulling the latter into the same dismal situation as the former. What worth then, Geelani’s avowed concern for the plight of Kashmir and Kashmiri’s?
Geelani has, on many occasions, admitted that he wants only strife and mayhem in the valley which he feels will assist in fructifying his agenda. Now it depends on the people of Kashmir whether they are going to respond to such damaging edicts and policies which are aimed at engineering a return to the times of social strife and economic downturn that they have emerged out of after great sacrifices