There is an old saying attributed to Andy Warhol – ‘Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art’. This would seem pretty darn beneficial, if that business weren’t used for terrorist programs and vile propagandas to create a problem for the nation.
The concern we are referring to is the news article where a Srinagar businessman was linked to ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency and PoK ministers. Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, a prominent Srinagar-based businessman, is believed to be at the center of a widespread network of subversive Kashmiri elements. The sect which is alleged to have contacts with Pakistan-based persons of Indian origin has been in regular touch with serving and retired personnel of Pakistan Army and ISI.
This security threat was also brought into the limelight when media-houses reported a lack of funds in the separatist offers due to demonetization efforts. That said the efforts of the government would be in vain if the nation’s businesses and citizens propagate anti-national elements to grow in the country.
Watali, on the other hand is not a stranger to controversy. He was first arrested in August 1990 for harboring militants in Kashmir. After his release in May 1991, he was apprehended yet again in August 1994 for connections with financing of militant outfit Al Burq by Pakistan’s ISI. In 2005, there were indications that Watali had been acting as conduit for the clandestine flow of large amounts of money from ISI to various separatists bodies in J&K and for the rebuilding of Charari Sharief mosque.
Disturbingly this trend where the citizens of the nation create strife and fuel riots and protests through money earned in the country should be a major concern for the state and central governments. Rather the concern seems to shift to religion & caste-based politics and petty fights in the parliament – the usual clichés around seat grabbing and power pitches.
This definitely signals the inefficacy of the nation to deal with anti-national elements as well point at a widespread resentment in the masses. Now that resentment is being stoked by elements looking to damage the nation’s integrity. And as we are quite aware of, wherever religion is touched or social systems impacted, riots follow very quickly. The otherwise quiet masses are easily agitated on issues concerning their faith.
With all that said, there is a concurrent need to bring people in Kashmir into the national fold. That would mean a careful inclusion of the state’s culture and its people where we address the malevolent elements of our neighboring nation as well as remove any religious and regional differences. If anything, these steps could help limit any foreign influences and also reduce the stone-pelting incidents which are quite so often in the news.
As these tenets are touched, the changes brought on will also bring “professional troublemakers” ready to do carnage on the streets. It is not that hard to hire a few dozen unemployed people to get drunk and throw stones & set things on fire. But the reformation of the country’s stance on Kashmiri people must not succumb to fear based propaganda and any other primal urges. The only way the nation’s billion people are held are through social systems and cross-religious bonds – preserving that essence can help India counter its most corrosive elements and challenge the current status quo.