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How can Kashmiri Muslims love India?
Kashmir has become an emotional issue and we respond irrationally to any opinion other than the popular view of the problem. Despite this, it is unpatriotic and abdication of responsibility to not express one's opinion if it is in the national interest. Hence, this post.

Unlike us, Kashmiris were not Indians before 1947 and had no reason to feel attachement with India. Their Hindu ruler Hari Singh (who had the right to decide) was not in favour of merging with India and was negotiating terms with Jinnah to merge with Pakistan. But Pakistan was not willing to accept his terms and instigated tribals backed by it to attack Kashmir to capture and annex it.

The Muslims, who constituted the majority, were not in favour of Pakistan and did not support the invaders. It was due to the invasion by Pakistan that Raja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession to India to provide a legal basis for India to go to his rescue with its armed forces.

Kashmir became part of India because the ruler of Kashmir Hari Singh decided to merge with India under duress. In contrast, Sheikh Abdullah and the Muslims of J&K wanted to join India and not Pakistan. Kashmir remained peaceful despite a succession of corrupt Congress governments from 1947 to 1989 and rigged elections. During this period, India and Pakistan fought two wars in 1965 and in 1971, but Kashmiris did not create any problem for India to aid Pakistan.

In 1980s, there was terrorism in Punjab, but Kashmir remained peaceful. Terrorism raised its head in Kashmir in 1989. The first major incident was the abduction of the daughter of late Mufti Saheb (who was the then Home Minister of India) and release of some prisoners in exchange for the release of the Home Minister's daughter.

The people of Kashmir gave us 47 years to endear India to them and make them love India, but our corrupt governments and rigged elections not only alienated them but destroyed their faith in our democratic credentials. When ballot is fraudulently made ineffective as an instrument of change, some people are bound to turn to bullet in hopelessness and desperation. Kashmir is an example.

Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) is an example of how a nation can alienate her own people by dealing with them unfairly. The Punjab dominated West Pakistan refused to allow Mujeeb Rahman to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan even though his party had won a majority of seats in Parliament which led to their war of independence. They won their freedom because India intervened and defeated the Pakistan there.

Pakistan cannot win a war against India and snatch Kashmir from it, but do we want to remain in Kashmir as Pakistan in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)? A democratic and civilized India must follow policies not only in J&K but also in the rest of India to win back the affection of the Kashmiris who have been alienated by our conduct by making them believe that remaining in India is in their best interest.

This objective would not be achieved if they find that in India Muslims are treated as internal enemies and are constantly under suspicion. What is the message we give to them by declaring that by a certain date India would not have a single Muslim or Christian? Or by exhorting Hindu women to produce at least four children to increase Hindu population or raising a false alarm at a slight rise in Muslim population that it poses a threat to the Hindus?

What would a Kashmiri feel at finding that any Muslim expressing a view not liked by the Sangh-BJP is greeted with the howl of being a terrorist, a Pakistani agent or an advice to go to Pakistan? What would be the reaction of Kashmiri Muslims if Muslims are lynched in the country on suspicion of being in possession of beef? Would not they expect them to be punished according to the law instead of being murdered by a mob even if they had beef in their possession?

Would they be enamoured of an India where Muslims are always asked to prove their loyalty to India and prove their love for her? Would they love an India where a Muslim M.L.A. is suspended from the Assembly for taking a principled stand that he would not say Bharat Mata Ki Jai (which is not required under any law) under threat?

We ourselves hated the emergency (and Indira Gandhi, who declared it) for taking away our freedom as citizens but expect the Kashmiris, who are new entrants to India as citizens, to love to live in India as 'suspect citizens'. If we do not want to further alienate the Kashmiris, we must mend our ways and make India attractive and their natural choice.

(This appeal was issued by Prof Prabhakar Sinha on April 22, 2016 through Prof. Sinha is National President of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) - India's largest and oldest Human Rights organisation. Founded in 1976 by Jayaprakash Narayan)

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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