Name of the book: K File: The Conspiracy of Silence
Author: Bashir Assad
Publisher: Vitasta Publishing Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi
Bashir Assad is ruthlessly bold. But he is soft on the Abdullahs for which he attracts criticism. He himself falls to the extremist Jamaat-e-Islami ideology and lives the ideology of Maududi Islam for about three years. He realises that he has lost several very valuable years of his young life. He survives five attacks on his life. He is kidnapped four times at the behest of Jamaatis. He is also given third degree torture for 35 days in an investigation cell. He is labelled anti movement and an infidel.
Bashir Assad unfolds the hypocrisy of separatist leaders. Geelani asks him with which agency is he? Bashir responds to him by telling that there are only two agencies proactive in Kashmir, ISI, IB. Geelani is representing ISI, and Naseem, his son, represents IB. Yasin Malik, during his militancy, killed scores of innocent people. Today he is the champion and saviour of human rights in Kashmir. On one side, the narrative is intelligently constructed by so-called separatist leaders in Kashmir about the mainstream political spectrum including a section of intelligentsia that they are stooges of New Delhi but on the other, the same persons are going to the civil secretariat for their personal interests. The money is collected in the name of the ‘Kashmir cause’ but is used to enjoy in the nightclubs. JKLF Chief, Yasin Malik, tells the senior journalist from mainland India that there is no space now for journalist from mainland India. The scope for reconciliation is steadily losing ground. There is romanticising of the death of the militants. Assad says that his elder son, intelligent and sharp, was in last semester in engineering at NIT Srinagar. He watches a video of foreign Islamic scholar giving sermons. His son completes his last semester. He is content with the namaz and reciting the Quran. His neighbour Moulvi Sahab tells that he will serve Islam and will earn jannat for his father too. But his neighbour has three daughters and a son. His two daughters have government jobs. The third is doing PhD.
Admitting the mishandling and the unjustified violation of the rights of the Kashmiri subjects by the state of India like the erosion of Artcle 370, which now stands abrogated, and the rigging in 1987 elections, the author, however, confirms that Islamists, who have transformed Kashmir into a deadly narrative, drive the present phase of violence in Kashmir. Holding Mullahs, Mosques, and Madrasas responsible for Kashmir destruction and the alarming transformation of Kashmir society Assad questions if most of the countries of the world have similar grievances against the country’s regime then why such type of revulsion in Kashmir? Bashir Assad appreciates Kashmiri Pandits for their focus on education despite immense sufferings. Giving example of Burhan Wani who was beaten by BSF man and taking up the arms, he asks why there is different approach by Kashmiri Muslims. Stating that the Salafia or Wahabi sect in Kashmir has strong ideological similarities with Saudi Wahabism. Assad holds Syed Ali Shah Geelani and his likeminded responsible for indoctrinating the younger generation to a point where barbarism can be celebrated and not condemned. Commenting on co-existence the author says the traditional belief system of Sufis, Kashmiri Muslims, Pandits was inclined to spiritual emancipation and inclusivity but in 1980s Jamaat was allowed by the Indian state to establish itself.
Criticising Geelani’s strike-calendar Assad gives an example of a labourer who shows samovar in his bag, which he was going to sell as his mother, was a cancer patient. There was nothing left in his house to buy medicines. Alleging that the bureaucracy in J & K particularly the Kashmir section has been rarely pro-people he says that the corruption has damaged the state and it has majorly contributed to the alienation of Kashmiri youth. Kashmir is now bigger than just being a contentious issue. It is conveniently used locally and internationally by both India and Pakistan for their strategic gains. Assad writes that Kashmiri Pandits and also the Hindu Maha Sabha leaders were against the state’s accession with the union of India. The land abolition law disturbed the KPs and also the Kashmiri Mullahs. Sheikh had isolated the Mullahs by empowering the common Kashmiris. Both KPs and Mullahs in Delhi again projected Sheikh’s recognition of the ground situation as conspiracy. Assad also alleges that handful of KPs active on the Track 11 front are there for monetary and other benefits
Commenting on the war of 1971 lost by Pakistan Assad unfolds that the ruling party at that time in India overtly promoted the Jamaat serving Mufti Syed’s purpose and also of Pakistan to erode the legitimacy of National Conference. Mufti Syed and his daughter were close to secessionist camps in Kashmir with the assistance of Jamaat. The twin factors, the dismembering of Pakistan and Jamaat-e-islami’s alliance with the congress, resulted in the 1975 accord famously called Indira-Sheikh Accord or Beg-Parthasarthy accord. Sheikh’s popularity suffered a huge blow after 1975 accord. Mufti, who had brought Jamaat into election mode in 1972, is the reason he supported Muslim United Front. Revealing that advocate Mohammad Sultan Bhat, the Jamaat local leader was killed by government forces led by president’s rule in 1996, Assad says his killing was a turning point in Mufti’s game plan. His daughter Mehbooba won the elections due to Jamaat. Even Bhat’s family that was still in grief went to cast their votes in Mehbooba’s favour. The author was stunned to see Amin Baba , dreaded Hizbul militant, in Mehbooba’s kitchen.
For establishing Islamic caliphate in Kashmir, the text of Islamic studies has changed drastically since 2004. Earlier the thrust was on personal purification. Now the focus is on exhibitionist Islam. Jamaat was engaged in secret talks with New Delhi from 1999 to 2002 with two broad objectives. One was to secure safety of its cadres from the onslaught of Indian security forces agencies and the Kashmir renegades. The other was to establish their legitimacy in all quarters where the Kashmir dispute was discussed. The Jamaat achieved both its objectives. Assad also says that the fast growing Hindutva mindset has further helped the Islamists in consolidating this narrative. The author opines If the Kashmiris realise who has turned their heaven into hell, a company of J and K armed police will have to guard Geelai’s grave. The fact is that Kashmiris had no idea of the fallout of a violent militancy. The youth took to it, as if undertaking an adventure.
Describing the visit of Mufti Mohammad to the affected areas after the destruction of temples in south Kashmir at Vakoora, Assad unfolds that an advocate, Pran Nath accompanying Mufti to the site slapped him. Mufti in irresponsible manner had said:
‘koi nahin, ek aur pathar rakh lo wahaan par’.
According to the author, BJP won the 2019 elections with a thumping majority only on Kashmir and Pakistan. Kashmir’s separatist leadership is devoid of any strategy for the valley, and no out of box thinking. They cannot think beyond giving frequent calls for hartals or strikes. Nor can think imaginatively about the participation in the Electoral process. The writer blames India equally for the present mess where the moderates are no longer moderate. Government of India never allowed moderate constituency in Kashmir to grow and strengthen. They call it ‘use and throw policy’. Giving some solutions, Assad advocates for the return of Kashmiri Pandits linking it to restoration of the plural character of Kashmir society.
Lt Gen DS Hooda, Rajdeep Sardesai, and Shoba De have penned down adorning words for Assad on the 237 page book priced at Rs 495. The author starts the book with the poem Pity The Nation and dedicates the book to his mother. Lt Gen DS Hooda has written the foreword. The brief introductory paper written by Aditi Bhaduri, a journalist and political analyst, is also included.