The demand of Kashmiris for azaadi

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

I condemn and have always condemned, atrocities by Indian security forces, on innocent Kashmiris.

But when Kashmiris demand azaadi ( freedom ) do they realise what the implications of azaadi are?

Presently there is a huge handicraft industry in Kashmir, and the market for this are the hundreds of towns of India, in each of which there are shops of Kashmiris who bring their products ( carpets, shawls, pashmina, handicrafts, etc ) from Kashmir for sale in these shops.

In big towns like Delhi, there are dozens of such shops.

Once I went to Kovalam beach near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and found a couple of shops of Kashmiris there too. In Kulti, a small town in West Bengal ( near Asansol ) there is a Kashmiri shop. Similarly, wherever one goes in India—north, west, south or east—one will find shops of Kashmiris selling their wares which they have brought from Kashmir in towns there.

Now if India becomes azaad, what will happen?

Kashmiris then cannot enter into India without a visa, and a visa will be next to impossible to obtain. The market for the products of the Kashmiri handicraft industry will then disappear, and the industry will close down, throwing hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris out of employment, apart from bankrupting the owners. Will this not bring further misery to Kashmiris, who are already suffering from unemployment, etc?

The horticulture industry ( which grows apples, babboogosha, akhrot, baadaam, etc ) will also similarly suffer.

When I mentioned this to some Kashmiri youth they said we will find a market elsewhere. But where?

It is not easy to find a new market. Pakistanis will not like competition, and as for the Chinese, experience shows that having economic ties with them can lead to the bondage of a colonial type.

Kashmiris ( apart from JNU students and others ) do not think of the implications of what they say, but keep parroting ‘azaadi, azaadi’.

You can’t eat freedom. You need food. And to get food you need a job. If freedom results in unemployment ( because the industry will close down if the market disappears ) what use is such freedom?

Katju Uwach: Blind hatred for Muslims in the minds of Kashmiri Pandits,

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