This is the first of a couple of posts on Kashmir. My own thoughts on the Kashmir problem, the solutions, Yasin Malik, Geelani, all follow – but that is not what this particular post is about. This post is probably about the most dangerous (as the pen is mightier than the sword) separatist of them all – Basharat Peer ! I dont know him, I had not heard of him till until recently (but that is more so my ignorance perhaps). But what was appalling to me is how an individual who openly disputes his nationality as an Indian was appointed the editor of the New York Times Blog on India – India Ink ! Why is it that as a country we have to deal with these unfortunate situations. Would a Tibetan or Uyghur separatist ever be appointed as editor of the New York Times China blog – would New York Times even dare to do so ? How can this gaffe even happen on the part of New York Times. Would New York Times ever hire a Taliban sympathizer as an editor for one of their own columns - never !!
Am I being too nasty here by calling Basharat Peer a separatist. I dont think so – his interview is there for all to read. He states
“Kashmiris living under Indian rule needed to tell their story like the Palestinians, Bosnians, Kurds and other people in conflict zones around the world”
“crossing the Line of Control to train in Pakistan for azaadi [freedom]“
“I still have an Indian passport as that is the only travel document available to anyone from the Indian-controlled-part of Kashmir. The question of my nationality continues to be a matter of dispute.“
Of course, he also claims further :
“Militancy was a political response to the erosion of Kashmir’s autonomy and democratic political space by the Indian government and hence the demand for azaadi. ”
“The Kashmiris are saying no to being ruled by India, no to an inclusion into the Indian union.”
Can there be any doubt ? Please take a closer look at the photograph of Basharat Peer above, taken at Lal Chowk with the damaged clock tower in the background – which is the very symbol of separatism in Srinagar – it is the place where all rallies are organized / incepted and where a few years ago pakistani flags were also unfurled on Pakistan’s independence day – and it is this damaged clock tower that he chooses to be photographed in front of – as a statement perhaps ? (admittedly this is a guess on my part)
Basharat – you can explain away the pictures, but can you deny your own interviews ?
For more of his separatist views – take a look at this video (of course he talks about human right violations, independence, and the non-sensical list goes on and on). How cleverly he speaks poorly of India and civil rights in India. How he glorifies stone-pelters and his other fellow separatists. How he justifies the uprising related to the Amarnath Yatra ! There should be little doubt about his motivations. See how he romanticizes stone pelting – calling it an intifada , an uprising – pushing his own agenda of separatism.
What is farsical is that Basharat Peer himself had a strong hand in getting the Kashmir Literary Festival cancelled ! The reason – a literary fest would convey normalcy. So much for a believer in free speech – of course it only applies to what he has to say and in conformance with his political views – this is the new editor at New York Times India Blog! – one who himself does not believe in Freedom of Speech
His tweets are no less , one after the other negative things to saw about India and Kashmir
Mehboob Jeelani’s brilliant reconstruction of the latest Kashmir killings http://t.co/Dqy5nQ6epC
— Basharat Peer (@basharat_peer) July 19, 2013
Meenakshi Ganguly on extrajudicial killings http://t.co/EuWYTXcMpi
— Basharat Peer (@basharat_peer) July 15, 2013
And New York Times – Here’s a question for you – what games are you playing ? I know you sympathize with Edward Snowden, but would you appoint him as Editor ? This is shameless posturing (for reasons unknown) and irresponsible behavior against the largest democracy in the world.
Netanyahu called Rouhani ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ – Basharat Peer is far worse !