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Himanshu on Kashmir

Himanshu on Kashmir

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Published by Himanshu Kumar
Home Delivery of Democracy
Home Delivery of Democracy

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Published by: Himanshu Kumar on Nov 27, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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This is Akshay Azad, Correspondent Kashmir Times Jammu and Kashmir. I met you on 1stof November in the Gadar Party Annual Fair at Jalandhar. I had conducted your interviewfor Kashmir Times which was published on the OP-ED page of Kashmir Times of 27th ofNovember. I am sending you the Interview which has been published in Kashmir Times.
I am highly thankful to you for giving me your precious time and replied my questions.
If there will be any mistake in interview I will be felt sorry for that.
Akshay Azad
Correspondent "Kashmir Times"Jammu,Email : akshayazad23@gmail.com
****************A man with a mission: Himanshu Kumar 
‘Democracy doesn’t come from barrel of gun’
 Exclusive Interview : Himanshu KumarInterviewed By : Akshay Azad
 For the last 18 years, Gandhian, Himanshu Kumar has been trudging through the jungles of ruralChhattisgarh, empowering tribals, teaching them how to vote and bringing them access to foodand healthcare through his Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA). Despite living in this Maoist-dominated conflict zone for nearly two decades, despite its many intimidations, Kumar has neverfelt the urge to flee. Until now that is when the might of the State is upon him.Trouble first began to escalate in 2005 when the infamous Salwa Judum was launched. The VCAfiled at least 600 complaints against human rights violations by the State and fake encounters by
the police. Himanshu Kumar was transformed in the State’s eyes from tr 
usted aide to adversary.In May 2009, his ashram was brutally demolished by the police. Now he is visiting the villages,colleges, universities all over the country for the implementation of real democracy in India.Kashmir Times correspondent Akshay Azad met Himanshu and spoke to him about his strugglesand his take on Kashmir. Excerpts from the interview.AA: Is Kashmir struggle genuine or not?HK: In a democratic country all the demands of people are genuine and should be addressedpeacefully.AA: Consi
dering that Kashmir’s struggle legitimate, are you advocating for disintegration of 
country?HK: It is the Indian government which is disintegrating the country. Instead of resolving the issuesdemocratically it has been resolving all issues militarily. There are many other ways to redressthe voices of dissent instead of using guns to hush up the voices for demanding their democraticrights.Using gun to suppress the voices of resentment should be condemned at all level and from allquarters. By using gun over the peaceful protesters the image of Indian forces and Indiagovernment is worsening with each passing day in Kashmir so it should be stopped. But it istoday reality of democratic India that all the voices of dissent are being suppressed by forces, beit the tribals voice in Chattisgarh, Bastar, in Kashmir or in north eastern states.For a true Gandhian it is not primary whether Kashmiris want freedom or disintegration of countrybut main question is how Indian government has been behaving with Kashmiris in last twentyyears which was totally undemocratic.AA: What will be the outcome of suppressing the voices of dissent?HK: If the voices of dissent will not be addressed in democratic manner then the prevailingsystem will be totally crippled. People opined that there is Pakistan interference in Kashmir so theissue cannot be solved until Pakistan assistance will be stopped, but my question is why theissues of Dalits, Tribals, farmers and the poor, besides other sections in entire India other thanJammu and Kashmir, are not addressed peacefully?. The outcome will be disastrous which was
also witnessed in history when masses had overthrown the feudalism. Same will be the fate ofprevailing undemocratic system of India if it would not change itself.AA: What will be the peaceful resolution of Kashmir?HK: Dialogue with all shades of opinion of people of entire Jammu and Kashmir is imperative butIndian government always sidelined from this process. Government of India should apologize forthe atrocities being committed by their security forces in Kashmir for the last around twenty yearsand should initiate comprehensive talks with the people of Kashmir to cool down their anger.Government of India should assure Kashmiris to remain united with India but not forcibly.Disintegration of any country on the basis of religion should not be considered right by anyGandhian. If only the Muslims of Kashmir seeks freedom then it is the duty of other communitiesof state to initiate talks with them and assure them to remain united.
AA: Are you endorsing Arundhati Roy’s views on Kashmir?
 HK: It could be that Arundati Roy is watching one side of the coin and has made her opinion aftervisiting the valley. It might be that she would visit Jammu and express her views with them andpeople here should also use the same platform to project their issues to entire country. Civil rightactivists should be invited by the right activists in Jammu.AA: Civil right activists never talked about Jammu and Ladakh. What is your take?HK: Jammu people have the right to come to Delhi and on other platforms to express theirdifferent shades of opinion. Unfortunately rest of the population of the country remains unawareabout the actual situation of Jammu and the things which come fore the people is projected byonly through Bhartiya Janta Party representatives who have their own interests for projecting the
demands. But along with BJP it’s the responsibility of masses of Jammu to raise their voice for 
their issues and also made aware entire country about their real issues.AA: Do you think Kashmir struggle is religious, and Jammu and Ladakh is being discriminatedsince long?HK: Only after visiting J&K, interacting with masses of all three regions and after going throughthe history of events of Jammu and Kashmir I would give my comments.AA: What is your opinion about AFSPA?
HK: It’s a very draconian law. The licence is being given to security forces to kill someone on the
basis of mere doubt can never be justified in a democratic country. Nor the militants nor thesecurity forces should have the right to kill someone merely on doubt. I am not in favour of armedstruggle by anyone group whether it by Naxalites or by militant organizations in Kashmir valleybut at the same time I am also against the atrocities being committed by forces all over thecountry. By using military might the dissent voices against the ruling forces will only escalate.
AA: What about your opinion about Indian democracy? Is it following Gandhi ji’s footsteps?
 HK: Indian democracy is in a big danger and is not following the footprints of Gandhiji. We were inDantewada and worked for tribals to resettle them in their native villages but we were forciblythrown out from Dantewada, our Ashram was dismantled by government. We are fully restrictedto visit same villages of Dantewada where we had spent two decades. 2 of our activists besidesdozens of villagers are in jail for rehabilitation works being executed by us. Around 60 villagershave been disappeared or killed by security forces. All these atrocities are being committed bysecurity forces on the orders of successive governments under the aegis of biggest democracy ofcountry. When on the name of democracy, undemocratic decisions are implemented it was verydisastrous. Such type of democracy which is undemocratic in real sense will not be givenpermission to run more.AA: Kashmiri Muslims are treated anti-national in the entire country. Why is it so?HK: I will clarify this stance. Some people have a perception that people in Delhi doubt Muslims, Iwas also treated in the same manner despite showing all the authentic proofs indicating an Indiannational as I was from Dantewada. When I tried to take house on rent in Delhi, I was refused byall on the doubt of being Naxalite. After facing lot of hurdles I got success on the documentalproof of my wife. Such type of discrimination was done with poor people by comfortable class andgovernment. It is the comfortable class and government which termed all the people whichlingering for democratic rights as anti national.There was a time when there was question of filling the gap between rich and the poor but nowthe battle lines have been drawn between rich and the poor. Now elite class is snatching thewater, forest and land of poor, against that exploitation poor are struggling.
AA: What will be the solution of Jammu and Kashmir problem according to Gandhianphilosophy?HK: Fair plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir will be the real solution. Government of India shouldacknowledge the demand of self determination of masses of Kashmir. If Sikkim could be includedin Indian Union in 1974 then if any state wanted to leave the Union that state should be given thesame.AA: Can India become super power in 2020?HK: It is a big lie propagated by comfortable class, rich politicians, bureaucrats and industrialistsbut on the other hand around 80 percent masses have been facing scarcity of food. How acountry will become world power when its majority of people having serious grievances which arestill undressed. Mere procuring or accumulating deadly weapons and having nuclear power cannot lead a country towards development and moreover the idea becoming India a super power isonly being propagated by the corporate influenced media.AA: Gandhi was also the leader of the same Congress Party and you are criticizing the policies ofsame congress?HK: this is not the same congress which was founded by Gandhi. After independence MahatmaGandhi had contemplated to change the Congress to an NGO. Gandhi ji was killed by Nathu RamGodse otherwise same Jawahar Lal Nehru would put him inside gallows. Gandhiji was also antiestablishment and had the opinion that government must had to help poor and rich will establishthemselves but Nehru did contrary to the philosophy of Gandhi and opined that governmentshould help rich and help would ultimately reach to the poor. Nehru had an apprehension of thehurdles being created by the Gandhi during his prime-ministerial tenure. In a very shockingrevelation that the 25 percent of Indian wealth is in hands of 25 families but 50 percent populationis reeling under acute hunger but same congress is fulfilling and appeasing the rich massesignoring the poor section of the country.AA: Is there any ray of hope?HK: Youth of country should raise voice and come into the streets against the undemocraticdecisions of government. But this is not happening which would prove drastic results in future.AA: How do you take it when you are asked to be the Naxal sympathizer?HK: Anyone who has the gun in his hand has the power and how children and women will be
treated by them I don’t favour them. If government will show concern about the problems of 
people of tribal areas then democracy will be strengthened but instead of addressing thegrievances of masses government is suppressing tribals voice and they are taking weapons intheir hands due to their compulsion. Naxalism is erupted against the suppression of goverment.Government is blinded with the power which will automatically compel them to join Naxalsmovement. Indian state is following the example of Mao-Tse-Tung, according to him State comesfrom the barrel of gun and in the same way Indian Democracy is coming through the barrel of gunagainst which the Naxilism is being erupted.AA: Is Gandhian ideology still relevant in the present time?HK: Gandhi ji had said that you can silence someone with gun but you can never convince
someone’s with the assistance of weapons. Peaceful struggle of Gandhi ji had won over theweapons of Britishers. So Gandhiji’s ideology is far ahead of militant struggles of entire world.
 AA: But peaceful protests conducted in entire India are being suppressed forcefully then how farGandhian philosophy is relevant?HK: Due to such suppressive policies adopted by Indian state, people in compulsion are joiningthe Naxalism. Due to operation green hunt number of Naxalite cadre has increased to doubletheir number.AA: What is the alternative?HK: Indian democracy is in a very tough situation an
d it’s the duty of youth to come on the roads
for the implementation and execution of democratic decisions. Otherwise Indian system will betotally collapsed.AA: Are you organizing any movement?HK: We are trying for organize such movement and would not allow such anarchist system toprevail more.I have already conducted a cycle tour from Bombay to Pune. I have also contemplating foranother cycle journey from Jammu and Kashmir.

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