Turning Points in Team Anna Movement – Saif Ahmad Khan

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Hypersensitivity Towards Kashmir

Ever since the inception of India, Kashmir’s existence has revolved around scepticism and apprehension. The hypersensitivity of the Indian society towards Kashmir was once again brought to the forefront when three vagabonds attacked Prashant Bhushan, an eminent lawyer of the Supreme Court and a core member of Tem Anna in his court chamber.

The attackers assaulted Mr Bhushan because of his controversial statement in which he came up with the suggestion of a plebiscite in order to determine the fate of Kashmir. Even after being caught the attackers showed no signs of remorse and sounded unapologetic. The organization to which they belonged glorified them in the name of nationalism and patriotism. Shiv Sena, a highly regional, divisive and jingoist political party seized the moment and started using it to its political advantage. They hit out at Mr Bhushan for his comments which they referred to as ‘anti-nation’ outcry and further urged Anna Hazare to remove such anti-national elements from his team.

The Congress too with the help of this incident got an opportunity to settle scores with Team Anna. It stated that Kashmir is, was and will always be an integral part of India and there can be no rethinking or re-posturing of India’s stand on this issue. The spokespersons of the Congress lashed out at Mr Bhushan and he had to face severe opprobrium. Realizing that they were on the back-foot because of the remarks of Mr Bhushan, Team Anna distanced itself from his statement in order to ensure that they don’t lose popular support. This whole fiasco has generated an intriguing question within me. What is the reason for India’s hypersensitivity towards Kashmir? For years India along with Pakistan has been trying to find a landmark settlement in relation to Kashmir but they have always failed to arrive at a consensus.

We need to realize that talks haven’t yielded the kind of results which we thought they could. In such a situation like this the only feasible solution to this impasse is an election where the people of Kashmir get to decide their fate. They have every right to choose the country to which they intend to be associated with and this was the idea which was given by Prashant Bhushan. Logically I don’t find any fault in this suggestion. It’s the most pragmatic solution possible. We’ve got to accept the fact that if we want to settle the issue of Kashmir then we need to take a chance. The settlement can lead to conceding large chunks of the land of Kashmir to Pakistan but that in any case would be far better than the present scenario ie the impending logjam which has resulted into commotion and violence in the valley. I feel that for once democracy should be given a chance to speak. We’ve taken ‘n’ number of initiatives in the past, right from the deployment of forces in the valley for peacekeeping to enacting the AFSPA to counter terrorists. We’ve also taken up this issue with different countries and at various international summits but they have all failed. We haven’t got a result and the most feasible way of getting a result is a plebiscite.