Sajjad Flays Separatists For “Tried, Tested And Failed” Strategy21 April 2010
Srinagar: Defiantly unrepentant at having contested elections, prominent Kashmiri separatist and chairman of one faction of the People’s Conference, Sajjad Ghani Lone, on Wednesday lashed out at the forces “for whom an unresolved Kashmir is a means political survival and economic windfalls.” Sajjad, who at one time had preferred to be called a “rationalist,” defended his contesting for the parliament, saying that the house was a strong platform to air the aspirations of Kashmiris in the “limited options” they have, and flayed his detractors for advocating “tried, tested and failed” strategies. Without naming names, he lashed out at most of the separatist camp for “pouncing on ready-made unsuspecting Friday congregations,” and banking on hartals, and launched a scathing attack on the chief minister for locating the central university in his home constituency of Gandarbal when it would have made eminent sense to select the backward North Kashmir areas which have no such institution. “I wish I had given myself more time and been able to convince the people about the motives behind the change in strategy (of contesting elections),” Sajjad told a heavily attended gathering in Kupwara. “The problem is the disinformation and slander campaign that is started by people for whom an unresolved Kashmir issue is pivotal for their political survival and economic windfalls.” “They impede dynamism in strategy and ensure that Kashmiris are stuck in a “tried, tested and failed” strategy,” he said. “The Indian parliament in the given circumstances and limited options that we have offers a strong platform to voice the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. “Or else they need to either create or discover newer platforms which have the legitimacy and a reach beyond Kashmir.” “Lecturing and sermonizing the people of Kashmir will not help. We have been doing it for the last twenty years and they don’t need lecturing on the Kashmir issue,” he said. “They have sacrificed a lot, much more than the leadership. The role of the leadership is to win friends outside Kashmir and mount pressure on both India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue, which they have failed to,” he said. “And the yardstick of leadership seems to be a race to make to the front pages of the local dailies, which are read by Kashmiris alone. It is sad that twenty years down the line we are still stuck into hartals and pouncing on the ready-made unsuspecting Friday prayer crowds,” he said. “We seem to be keen on being seen as championing the Kashmiri cause rather than actually championing it,” he said. “Kashmir stands at crossroads. We have a struggle which seems to be going nowhere, despite exemplary sacrifices. And we have by our follies outsourced the nation building responsibilities to the mainstream parties,” he said. “There is a ruling party which despite the upheaval of 1989 has learnt nothing and is as intolerant as it was in the pre 1989 era. It views administrative relief, poverty alleviation schemes, institution building strictly through party prisms. Merit is a function of party affiliation. And we have an opposition which is noisy and desperate to address Delhi, about its capability of better management of the Kashmiri people,” he said. “The employees strike bared open once gain the blatant arrogance of the state government. A fattened public sector is the legacy of Congress and NC. They have been ruling this state since 1947. They overstaffed the public services foe cheap politics and votes. Now it is payback period. Let them pay up,” he said. “A central University is planned for Kashmir and in complete disregard for academic viability and prudent sharing of resources across Kashmir, it is to be located within 14 kilometres from the current University. There is a University in Central Kashmir, a university in south Kashmir and none in North Kashmir. The entire North Kashmir is hilly, poverty ridden and as per official statistics hosts one of the most backward districts in India. Why can’t the Central University be located in North Kashmir.? What is so academic about Ganderbal that makes it an ideal location? What is the logic of locating the Central university right next to the existing Kashmir University?,” he said. “Electoral victory of an individual in the next elections seems to be the sole the yardstick for selecting the location of such a prestigious institution. University is a long term investment into the next generation, which could spur education in the impoverished, educationally backward areas of North Kashmir and the spill over could be across the social sectors. Why should the future generations and an entire belt pay to get an individual re-elected from a particular constituency in the next election? Let the individual instead deliver,” he said. “We will try to evolve a consensus across the party lines in North Kashmir and exhaust all legal measures to ensure that there is no bias reflected against a particular region. We will move the supreme court if need arises,” he said.