If plebiscite happens, majority of Muslims in Kashmir will opt for India because of their secular nature, says Muzaffar Baig

‘Youth control the streets today, so indirectly the ISI does’

‘Kashmiris today are dying not for Pakistan but for Islam’

Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Muzaffar Hussain Baig during a discussion ‘Kashmir: The Way Forward‘, organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF), has said that the young Kashmiris who are dying today in the valley are not doing it for Pakistan but consider it as their religious duty.

“Now the choice is not between India and Pakistan, but between heaven and hell,” Baig said, and added that for them the struggle has become more religious than a political one.

Replying to a question that many in Kashmir are not comfortable with the Islamic tag, Baig said that even Hurriyat doesn’t accept that and majority of the Muslims in the state believe they are better off with India.

“Majority Muslims of the state do not want Islamization or radicalization in the state. It is the people who get killed, get the ‘publicity and fame’ as thousands come to mourn their death. And mothers take pride on the dead body of their 14-year old child. She waits for the next child to grow and wants him to be martyred like the other one as she believes it is for God.”

“It is the publicity that surrounds… obliterates the real cause in Kashmir, about political issues which can be resolved within the constitution of India. I believe that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the state, and a small minority of Hindus, have diametrically opposed aspirations. Majority of Muslims in state want to reamin with India, this is my belief as plebiscite is a choice between India and Pakistan. There is no option of Independence. And if it comes to the final call, majority of Muslims will opt for India because of their secular nature,” Baig added.

However he pointed out that the voice of that majority is not heard.

“What is heard is the gunshot. What is heard is the slogans raised in favour of the 14-year old boy who gets killed. So it’s the headline I am talking about, the news not the aspirations of the people which are not spoken about.”

While replying to a question that even Hurriyat is scared of losing relevance amid ‘growing islamization’ and losing control of the streets, Baig said, “It is generally assumed that Syed Ali Geelani is the hardline champion of Accession with Pakistan and a devout Muslim in terms of offering prayers but way back in 2010, he made a fervent appleal to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir not to resort to stone pelting,” Baig said adding, “Stone pelting is an old tradition when Mughals came to Kashmir. So like 400 years back Kashmiris have resorted to stone pelting. In 1931, when the first uprising and first killings by the security forces took place, the provocation was stone pelting. So it is an old tradition. When Geelani sahab made that appeal, he was hooted down the same evening,” he said.

When again asked who controls the streets today baig said, “Youth. So indirectly the ISI.”

Regarding the emergence of a third front in Kashmir and the belief that all parties, of all ideologies are created and paid of by Delhi, Baig said, “Is Hamam Mein Sab Nangay Hain. Sheikh Abdullah was the tallest leader of Kashmir. He contradicted himself after every couple of years. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is one the tallest Prime Minister the world has seen. He has been inconsistent too. One of his closest associates had said that his promise of Plebiscite was one of most dishonest promises since day one. So leaders, whether from India or locals, they have changed their positions from time to time,” Baig said.

He further added regarding Delhi’s involvement in Kashmir, “Shiekh Abdullah, when he was released from jail had said that there is no one who can be the chief minister of Kashmir unless he has the backing of New Delhi. And by Delhi he meant the Intelligence Agencies.”


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