Mobile Phone Controversy

Hum kya chahtay -mobile phone; prepaid service- kayam karo; jis mobile ko khoon se sencha -woh mobile hamara hai; recharge hamar- paydaishi  haq hai , these slogans will  echo within the valley if exploitation of Mobile phone drama continues unabated.

Starting with so much of passion for complete azadi, our flock disintegrated into many groups, some sticking to the conviction of complete independence, others seeking accession with Pakistan and many so-called main-stream groups looking for strengthening the existing arrangement with India. Then there are half backed conceptions of achievable nationhood, autonomy and self rule. We flooded the streets to agitate against land grab issue, even challenged Indian authorities by proceeding towards line of actual control (LOC). We were all fire against human rights violation and atrocities and in particular Shopian incident became flashpoint for unending turbulence and violence for months. This tragic drama of aspiration, suppression, plunders, atrocities, deaths, rapes and much more can not be summed up in few lines but volumes of history pages will accommodate this unending story of sorrow and desperation.

These above lines are just to remind emotional people of this bleeding valley, its leaders and politicians why they are making so much of noise for a petty electronic gadget, with out which, only half a decade earlier, we Kashmiries could live with peace and contentment. I am not opposing a nice facility and no one can deny the importance of communication in modern life. Craving for some thing by directly or indirectly compromising with aspirations of justice, will prove detrimental for progress and development of a civilized and emancipated society. Agitation and slogans are the sentiments and mirror image of budding aspirations within a society and any transition of these sentiments (slogans) from a genuine cause to materialistic objective will provide a vital tool in the hands of oppressors. So any changeover from   hum kya chahtay – azadi to hum kya chahtay -mobile phone will be shocking.

During last assembly elections, held immediately after massive land grab agitation many analysts within and out side the country laugh at us for turning to vote in large numbers, some people branded us as a race of turncoats, but still we were handy with a logic, that of electing a local government to address the day to day issues, and not for negotiating the fate of Kashmiries. What will be our answer now? Parliamentarians, legislatures, ministers, opposition leaders and politicians instead of solving people’s genuine demands of Roti, Kapda aur Makaan are luring Kashmiri people to cheap political gimmickry; instigating common man to wander on streets and resort to cheap slogan shouting for a petty demand. This is a great plot connived by political establishment (eak panth doo kaj) to divert the attention of people from genuine aspirations and demands and to cover up their own failures.

Wah re wah mobile phone! Earlier it was Sheri Kashmir, who inspired us, and then we shifted to Bakshi sahib, Sadiq sahib and many more sahibs ending at Farooq sahib; we embraced Bandook (gun) sahib, snuffed Barood sahib and landed in the un-ending confusion torn web of Hurriyat sahib. But ultimately you Mobile sahib, which was instrumental in fleecing our poor pockets for last many years, is now about to change the course of our political aspirations and destiny. This was Mobile phone at its best in deviating people of Kashmir from their long cherished objectives.

Routine interactions with one of my well wishers struck the right cord within this mobile phone controversy. During course of discussion he came up with a logic, saying, ‘where were the much pampered intelligence and security net work, when this tiny device had gone haywire and endangered security of the nation as a whole’.  This is an interesting point to ponder upon. Isn’t it? When government of India (GOI) at the turn of this century decided to empower people of Jammu and Kashmir State with cellular phone system they were hesitant and much concerned about national security. Ultimately they yielded before the pressure of mobile phone service providing companies and other invisible pressures but with a condition that as and when authorities will require, service providers must provided unrestricted access to the whole telephony system so that vital national interests are secured. Can any one dare to ask the honorable home minister of India to bother and explain why his ministry was not alert while monitoring the Mobile phone system of this sensitive border state? What went wrong with the monitoring apparatus and cellular system became a liability after touching all time high target of subscribers? For long six years the whole of home ministry and defense apparatus of this vast nation was napping. More than four million instruments of threat with so much of cutting edge technology to create devastation (if cellular phone is looked at with myopic vision) are in circulation in the state and an enormous surveillance machinery created with hard-earned money of Indian taxpayer at a huge cost was in slumber. This is ridiculous.

Instead of blaming Mobile phone system in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and subjecting people to suspicion, central government should call an explanation from its surveillance and vigilance system. This is not a small issue but a grave lapse on part of these agencies. India is a frontrunner among the developing nations and has tremendous potential to grow and develop at a much faster pace. If security of the nation is dealt with such a casual approach then the whole process of making sky-high leaps on developmental, scientific and economical front will always remain susceptible to encroachments and infringements. If apprehensions of union home minister are even a fragment closer to reality of mobile phones as security risk, then government of India should review its whole internal security system not only in Jammu And Kashmir State but within other border states as well.

There is a third angle to this whole crisis (Drama). If news paper reports are to be believed, shifting of azad Mobile phones (pre-paid) to occupied Mobile phones (Post paid) will make Mobile service providers richer by more than two hundred crore. Any thing can be possible to harvest huge potential of cellular phone market in Kashmir, which grew exponentially for last many years.   As I said central government gave green signal for starting cellular telephone system in Jammu And Kashmir State after much of its reluctance but under the pressure of prospective telephone service providers, who explored the market potential within the state by making camouflaged market surveys and collection of relevant data. Who knows, that the lobby of service providers may have influenced some quarters within the administration to exploit the security angle and pave way for cheating over enthusiastic people of this wonder land and grab more of their hard-earned income?

People should come to terms with facts, review the whole controversy on merits and decide weather they should use their much precious energy to agitate for this non issue or vigorously and resolutely strive for their real agenda.

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