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18 August 2011

FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION: No takers for Anna’s movement in Kashmir

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By Bashir Assad

Srinagar: The Anna Hazare crusade against corruption that swept the entire country Tuesday, failed to cross into Kashmir where not a single protest rally or demonstration was held in support of Anna who was detained during the early hours of the morning along with several top civil society activists. Interestingly there were not many takers to Anna’s fight against corruption despite the fact that Jammu and Kashmir, according to a latest survey is the corrupt state No.1 in the country. Does it mean that people in Kashmir are not conscious about their duties and responsibilities towards the society or does it simply mean that geo-political interests of the people in Kashmir are in conflict with the rest of the country and thus Kashmiris always dissociate themselves from the happenings in their neighbourhood. Political experts offer varying explanations to this phenomenon.

Renowned political scientist Professor Noor Ahmad Baba says, “Our aspirations are different and we have not always shared the mainstream concerns. When asked to elaborate his point Baba said, Kashmir always behaves differently from the mainland India that is why it is a recognized political problem. It is all expected as has always happened.” To yet another question Baba said that our concerns don’t get response from them and vice-e-versa. “This is what had happened in 1977 when the Janata Party wave failed to cross over to Kashmir,” added Baba.

Baba further added that corruption is no doubt a big problem in Kashmir but we will have to have a separate movement, we need our own Anna Hazare.

Interestingly people, though debate the Anna movement but don’t get swayed by the wave. Of course Kashmir has been bearing the brunt of corruption and mismanagement yet it remains unmoved from mainland.

Senior journalist Zafer Meraj says that corruption, of course, is an issue in Kashmir but the way the voices of people are being silenced by force, people here don’t dare to raise their voice. “Our basic issue is the freedom of expression, when we are not allowed to express our legitimate concerns, why should we join mainstream” Zafer opined. Secondly, the senior journalist said, people in Kashmir have been witnessing traumatic experiences during the last 21 years which have left no strength in them to join hands with Anna who has vowed to root out corruption from the country.

[Bashir Assad is a senior Journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He is now Bureau Chief (J&K) of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at bashirassad@rediffmail.com]

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