Ramjas, Umar Khalid & “Free Speech”

Ramjas College proposed a seminar “Culture of Protest.”

It invited Umar Khalid who had, in 2016, intended to hold a programme on Afzal Guru in JNU. Guru was Kashmiri separatist who was convicted for the 2001 attack on the Parliament of India. Umar Khalid later the same year praised Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander who was killed by Indian security forces saying, “Burhan wasn’t scared of death, he was scared of a life lived in subjugation. He detested it. He lived a free man, died a free man …..”.

Khalid was to speak on the people of Chattisgarh whom he described as “the most oppressed people in the country”.

Chattisgarh, part of the Red Corridor, is affected by Naxalite-Maoist insurgency and has been described as the epicentre of the conflict. Khalid’s interest in it is therefore not surprising. In April 2010 the Maoists killed 76 CRPF policemen in one of the most vicious attacks on Indian security forces in Dantewada district of the state. In May 2013 they attacked a convoy of the leaders of the Congress in the Sukma district of Chattisgarh killing 27 people including a former central minister, a state minister and the Chattisgarh Congress chief. The problem festers it being said that the long term goal is to establish a Marxist state in India. And Pakistan’s ISI is allying with the Maoists to destabilise India from within.

Notice the convergence of the Khalid’s comments on Burhan with his empathy for the “oppressed people” of Chattisgarh.

One Debraj Mookerjee writing in the Indian Express admitted that Khalid may not have talked about Bastar alone though that was the subject of his Phd work. Mookerjee said there was a possibility of Khalid making “politically contentious” points while speaking of Bastar but Khalid has the right to his views. And “protest” being nothing but the expression of disapproval or dissent is sanctified by the right to free speech.

The unstated major text of this view, however, is that terrorists can be rhapsodised, insurgents  can be glorified, and carnage in and subversion of the country can be celebrated under the honorific title “Culture of Protest” with the aid of “free speech”. In other words the protagonists of this view, like the teachers of Ramjas, believe that it is indeed a laudable exercise for students to “think critically” whether India should remain undivided or should there be a secession at the bidding of separatists or division at the instance of guerrilla armies because the integrity of India is not an incontestable fact and such differences of opinions need to be protected.

If this is the real agenda why then hide insidiously behind seemingly innocent topics of discussion like “Culture of Protest”? Is honesty in discourse less important a value than freedom? Or is speech to be seen only in its contest with violence? The motivation behind claims to free speech must be transparent if the contest of ideas has to be real.

Protest is first induced surreptitiously and then a direct attack is launched at the protest itself on the ground that the protest is unjustified! The chaos which was actually intended is then presented as a misbegotten reaction to something which could not reasonably be anticipated. And with guileful disingenuity the provocateur is eventually presented as the victim.

Let us not fetishise free speech. The unquestioned reverence to speech can only be conceded when it is justified in the context of its critique. Truth may not be fixed but the integrity of India is. And that will not be subject to inquest, review or scrutiny.

OMAR ABDULLAH- THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL OF KASHMIR

Omar Abdullah is the Scarlet Pimpernel of Kashmir. His real identity is secret. He assumes the role of Omar during the day but keeps the experience of his secret identity muffled as he addresses the people during the day. His harebrained, imbecilic and witless comments are but a disguise. He remains the ultimate Indian.

Omar, as Scarlet Pimpernel, knows former President of Pakistan Musharraf who admitted that Pakistan trained Lashkar-e-Taiba and other organizations to carry out terrorist attacks in Kashmir was in fact an Indian Agent. This is the reason why he is condemning the Indian Government.

Hafiz Syed who wants war against India “until liberation of Kashmir” is actually mole of the Indian Government. He may be ranting to frenzied crowd repeatedly shouting “Jihad” near Minar-e-Pakistan but India Gate is where his heart is. The Scarlet Pimpernel knows it and is dropping hints but Indians are too silly to take the hint.

Nagrota, Uri, Chursoon and Udhampur attacks were staged by the Indian Army! They are tired of fighting the Pakistanis all the time and are inventing new war-games to keep themselves occupied. How does the Indian Government condemn or warn Pakistan. One has to believe Scarlet Pimpernel.

Terrorists exchanged for hostages in the IC 814 hijacking and included Masood Ashar. Scarlet Omar knows Ashar was never released. The man who in a speech at Karachi vowed to liberate Kashmir from “Indian rule”and identified generally as Masood Ashar was not him but a body double created by RAW.

Pakistan has no interest in Kashmir. Its 22 Special Envoys only wanted a pleasurable excursion out of the country – sponsored by India. And Nawaz Sharif’s interest in Burhan Wani who sought Hafis Syed’s blessings for Jihad against India aside from the repeated references to the UN Resolutions on Kashmir was so acting because the Indian Intelligence had changed the script of the speech otherwise Indian envoys would have had nothing to respond to and their presence at the UN would have been seen as waste of public money.

And the exodus of Pandits from Kashmir is a lie only to defame the Kashmir. Jagmohan did it. He was the agent of the Central Government.

Omar Pimpernel knows Indians have got their heroes and villains mixed up. So he acts like a villain but he is actually the real hero. He has realised that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. And Omar has no intention of being a scoundrel!