Expessing disappointment over the remarks of the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, CPI (M) leader and MLA Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami today said that at a time when efforts are needed for reaching out to people, such statements are bound to widen the gulf between people of valley and the rest of the country.
Q1. What do you have to say about Army chief’s warning to protesting Kashmiris?
Such harsh statements could compound the already hostile situation in Kashmir and prove counterproductive. This was the time for taking confidence building measures (CBMs) as there is huge trust deficit. The present situation is outcome of trust deficit and reflection of accumulated anger over the decades. Situation won’t improve unless the governments both at the Centre and in the State respond to disillusionment and hopelessness in Kashmir.
“They (stone pelters) want to be heard but nobody is listening. The response to stones with guns is highly unfortunate and unacceptable.”
Q2. What are your views on article 370 amidst calls to drop it?
Article 370 came into existence after the leadership in the state at that time negotiated with the union of India. A lot of struggle has happened in the past like Quit Kashmir movement, etc . The Maharaja acceded to India through some specific conditions. India wanted a relation with Jammu and Kashmir. This was an unique situation. The uniqueness of the situation ensured a constitutional guarantee in the form of article 370. It was decided that Jammu and Kashmir would have its own constituent assembly which could define conditions for future existence. This gave us separate constitution, separate flag and separate nomenclatures. So 370 stands as a link between Jammu Kashmir and India.
Q3. What is the history of communist party in Kashmir?
Long back when there was no official wing of communist party in Kashmir, there were people and leaders who supported the ideology of communism but existed in National Conference like former Chief Minister Ghulam Mohamed Sadiq. Anti Maharaja movements took place. Land to the Tiller slogan became a dominant slogan. Communists influence was present in the state for a long time since the setting up of a party wing here. One of the reasons hindering the growth of communism in Jammu Kashmir is the existence of a conflict zone atmosphere. We have lost a good number of cadre here. The major concern here is to ensure peace. Communist party is trying to contribute to long term growth and we are doing our bit.
Q4. Future of Communism.
You need to understand what communism is. We have seen how Soviet Union fell. During that time there was a big noise everywhere that it was a historical error which got corrected. But what do we see after 2008 when it was predicted there would be a boon in economy,developmental advancement, social progess and cultural development. On the contrary, crisis of capitalism is deepening. Even in advanced countries like America, there is a question on how much job guarantees are provided. You need jobs. The capacity of capitalism to create jobs is decreasing in today’s world. Take for example our own Prime Minister who swept into power in 2014 promised ‘Ache Din’.There was a mood amongst youth that a new chapter in Indian history is going to be written. But where are the Ache Din?
Q5. Comments on Modi Government?
What is the track record of this government? How many jobs have they created? I don’t need to comment. Just go to the information bureau’s and check facts. It is not promising at all.
In poverty alleviation, there is nothing concrete except noises. The Leadership had promised business investment in large scale. It has not happened as promised. Exports have come down. Modi campaigns so vigorously abroad but what do Indians get? The ground reality is different. There is a big gap between the promises and execution. My question is that the governments keep on changing, but what have we got through capitalism. Capitalism is not providing hope irrespective of Congress or BJP. So in 21st century there is need for an alternative. Now which type of communism, I don’t know but there should be a new alternative. Socialism to me, seems practical. It addresses unemployment. Maybe Soviet Union form of governance had flaws but they addressed this issue.
Q6. Do you believe Communists believe in God?
Believing or not believing whom. I don’t think not believing in god is a primary criteria to be a communist. That is not a barrier.
Q7. What percentage of Kashmiri youth, according to you is unhappy?
As of now, the people are hugely alienated from the Indian mainstream. But it has not always been like this. I believe there should be some political attempts. Offcourse we need military to defend LOC and border but the army should not be used to control people. Something on the ground needs to be done.
There is a serious belief in Kashmir that promises made by successive governments from Delhi have not been fulfilled. It is a strong feeling. What is due to the people here have been denied.
More importantly, the denial of democracy.
Q8. Are you hinting at rigging of elections?
Not in 2008 and 2014, but earlier times, Yes, elections were rigged. This is what the people perceive. This is the major cause of emergence of violence though we don’t ignore encouragement from Pakistan and fundamental groups.
INTERVIEW BY- Debdeep Mukherjee