In taking positions inimical to the return of Pandits to the Valley, Syed Ali Shah Geelani is not unlike the Zionists whom he berates

Shortly after his meeting with the Pakistani Foreign Secretary, Jalil Abbas Jilani, the other day, Syed Ali Shah Geelani made a rather intriguing statement in a media interaction.

He voiced the apprehension that the Indian state was conspiring to induct Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Mossad agents in the shape of Kashmiri Pandits into select and sequestered areas of the valley.

It is anybody’s guess whether the statement was either prompted or inspired by his more than cordial one on one with the Foreign Secretary, who, it may be recalled was declared persona non grata by the Indian government in 2003 for having been found to be funding elements of the Kashmiri Hurriyat.

There has never been any doubt in this writer’s mind that the Mossad is a pretty nasty clandestine organisation which subserves the hegemonic interests of Zionism, transgressing both national and international laws, and often in brutal ways. Indeed, one very disquieting feature of recent events has been the discovery of links between Mossad and Hindutva organisations in the facilitation of terrorist activity; equally, that segments among Kashmiri Pandits, especially after their forced eviction from the Valley, and Hindu urban middle classes generally look upto both Zionism and Mossad as worthy of emulation.

Having said that, one would like to know from Geelani Sahib why he may think the linkages of some local operatives with militant organisations across the Line of Control (LoC) as peculiarly benign in contrast to the workings of the RSS and the Mossad. After all, one has hardly ever heard Geelani sahib express any comparable apprehensions with respect to the workings of the Hizbul Mujahideen within the Valley. If it is argued that the violent exertions of the Hizbul and those others who seek constantly to infiltrate on the strength of arms and communal ideology are to be excused as driven by laudable objectives of achieving a severance from the Union of India, why may not the shenanigans of the RSS and its affiliates be likewise understood as their “nationalistic” endeavour to save the Union? As to the Pandits, it would behove Geelani sahib to make clear whether he regards all of them as undesirable fifth columnists who deserve to be denied their right of return to their homeland. If the suspicion that he indeed does think so has any substance, then Geelani sahib’s position is fraught with a cruel irony that seems to have bypassed his consciousness. Such a position — inimical to the return of the Pandits — aligns him closely with the very Zionists whom he berates.

After all, just as Geelani sahib seems sceptical about the desirability of the return of the Pandits — since it is his worry that they may come to constitute a dangerous Falange of Hindutva Mossadists, making the completion of an Islamist project difficult — the Zionists refuse the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the homeland from which they were likewise ejected. Not for nothing has it often been remarked that extreme positions are mirror images indistinguishable one from the other.

These unhappy developments recall what used to be the singular historical contribution of Jammu and Kashmir to a healthy, non-sectarian humanism, justly lauded the world over. That was a time when Hindutva had no hold whatsoever among Kashmiri Pandits, and Islamism no hold among Kashmiri Muslims. We believe that a silent majority among both communities still remains true to that inheritance.

(Prof. Badri Raina is a Delhi-based writer.)

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