Justice Markandey Katju is known for not mincing words. His incisive comments on many issues, often controversial, have been praised by the intelligentsia. As Kashmir continues to burn from the cycle of violence set in motion following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, the topic of ‘azadi’ is back on the debate table.
Being a Kashmiri and a highly respected figure, Justice Katju is perhaps one of the most appropriate voices to speak on what Azadi means. He did that in a Facebook post on July 11.
In his post, Justice Katju takes a dig at those in the left-wing intelligentsia who side with terrorists in Kashmir based on the questionable concept of ‘azadi’. He begins by expressing his grief for those who died in the violence following Wani’s killing.
He states that he’ll himself support the ‘azadi’ call of the Kashmiris if they are able to demonstrate that the freedom they seek will raise their standard of living.
He points out that Kashmiris never talk about how they can uplift their lives in azad Kashmir.
And then he underlines the pro-Pakistan feelings that run in Kashmir.
He posits some thought-provoking questions:
If azadi is achieved in Kashmir, will the outdated feudal Sharia Law be imposed there? And if azadi means azadi from India but joining Pakistan, will the jackboots of the Pakistani army not fall on the necks of Kashmiris, replacing one jackboot by another?
Justice Katju also pointed out what Burhan Wani didn’t do.
Real azadi is azadi from poverty, malnourishment, unemployment, hunger, lack of health care etc. Did Burhan Wani and his comrades ever think of this, and how it will be achieved in an azad Kashmir?
Read his brilliantly worded post here: