Kashmir Indifferent To Anna Hazare's Movement17 August 2011
Srinagar: The paradise of protests has so far remained unfazed by Anna Hazare's movement against the corruption. For the last two days there has not been a murmur of protests in the Kashmir valley in favor of Team Anna. Even the usual suspects of RTI movement have gone into a shell not showing any interest in the anti-corruption crusade. “There are so many factors responsible for people not joining the protests against Team Anna. Firstly, Kashmir is predominately Muslim majority state and people are already observing fast on account of holy month of Ramzan. So there is no fun of joining the fast because we are already on fast given our religious commitment”, said Raja Muzaffar, chief convener J&K RTI movement. Other reasons being forwarded for not protesting are that J&K has already its Lokpal in the shape of Accountability Commission. “We already have J&K Accountability commission where in one can even file complaint against the chief minister. Plus if Lokpal is made in India it will not have jurisdiction in J&K because we have a special status in the Indian constitution and separate Constitution”, said Raja. Plus the RTI activists are confused lot whether to join the movement or not. “There are so many controversies engulfing this movement. So once we are sure that it is purely an apolitical movement we will think over joining the movement”, said Raja. RTI activists are now having a rethink and they may hold protest on Thursday evening. 'We are planning to do some protests on Thursday evening. Let us see what it fans out', said Raja. Kashmir has a history of protests and even a rumor could trigger huge protests and even stone pelting. But most of the protests are separatist sponsored which are laced with anti-India overtones. Recently the biggest protests were held in Sopore and other parts over the custodial killing of youth in Sopore. But this time valley based mainstream and separatist leaders too are preferring silence. “It is not that Kashmiris are not concerned about corruption but political issues weigh heavy on their minds. We have seen Kashmiris have remained indifferent to such movements. When reservation movement was sweeping across the country, Kashmir was indifferent at that time also.People see it as an Indianised movement but at the same time they are concerned about corruption”, said Khurshid-ul-Islam, prominent sociologist of Kashmir. Paradoxically, Jammu has taken a lead in supporting the Anna Hazare movement. Main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which draws its strength from Muslim majority Kashmir has preferred to protest in Jammu rather than the valley. “Why government is playing with the sentiments of people and not creating a strong Lokpal Bill which helps to stop corruption and betterment of country. Government has no right to kill the demands of people as it tantamount to death of democracy and we will tolerate at all”, said Sachin Sharma, PDP leader in Jammu. Bhim Singh, president of National Panthers Party which has three MLAs in 89 member Legislative Assembly, said that there are millions in this country who may not share Anna’s views to include the apex court and the PM in his Lokpal agenda yet there is not a single peace loving citizen who would support the outrageous act of Delhi. “Arrest of a senior social activist in defiance of his fundamental rights of expression and speech is highly condemnable It is for him to fast or not to fast. The Union home ministry has breached the freedom guaranteed in Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India”, he said.