For speaking on this subject I would like to put the sacrifices and services in the right perspective keeping in view the ground situation for the last 75 years with the illegal occupation of our land , resources and every aspect of life whether it is economy , social set up & the situation now which relates to what was happening previously .
The basic points in this are
- System of Push back
- Economic losses
- Economic occupation
1 . System of Push back
The conditions in which businessmen had to work starting from 1947 when their businesses were occupied or forced into unholy partnerships by the rulers particularly during the Bakshi regime starting from 1953 which was institutionalised by a system of PUSH BACK where any businessman just like any civil society member ( Famous person who went through this MR Yousuf Buch , Kh. Ghulam Nabi Bazaz ) would be pushed back to AJK if they showed dissent , support Pakistan or resistance to their rule which also included forced partnership .
It happened then and is happening now in different models but amounts to same that they do not want any dissent .
I for example showed dissent and represented one of the premier institutions which has come into being even before 1947 . THE Kashmir Chamber OF Commerce & Industry which is a Non-govt company, incorporated on 26 Apr, 1937 & I was its president from 2006-2009 .
The dates are important as in 2008 the Kashmir chamber became a part of the resistance movement to oppose land transfer to Amarnath shrine board and I as well as the organisation was marked by the Indian govt since then as we continued to resist the different illegal steps govt of india was doing like GST & others which also culminated in the organisation asking publicly for settlement of Kashmir and I was arrested on august 5th 2019 including my colleagues like shakeel qalandhar who was President of the industries federation in 2008 as well as Yasin khan President Traders federation . We were arrested to make examples so that nobody of our organisations or in our position will dare to resist and which is presently happening.
Now at this time who are in kashmir can’t speak out whether from civil society or businesses as they will be incarcerated in jails with no bail under draconian laws . When our journalists the latest case being Fahad Shah of kashmiriwala are not spared we need to imagine civil society or businessmen who will not been even talked about by anybody .
- Economic losses
The economic losses businesses had to incur because of extended curfews and Hartals particularly from 1990’s were more than 3600 days which have been lost ( which roughly means 10 years ) , the magnitude of which the world can understand with LOCKDOWNS done under Covid where strong economies of the world like USA , Canada as well as Europe are reeling
In the latest press report on December 2021 the losses calculated by the Kashmir chamber , Kashmir has suffered a loss of around Rs 50,000 crore since 5 August 2019 which includes around Rs 10,000 crore this year while business in Kashmir is down compared to last year.This is loss calculated for two years and multiply it by at least 5 times if not more giving us a figure of 200000 crore rupees . This is only from 1990 and not to speak from 1947 .
2. ECONOMIC OCCUPATION -Being the ex president of the Kashmir Chamber of commerce from 2006-2009 and also the Ex – President of the Joint Jammu & Kashmir chamber of commerce & industry ( JKJCCI ) from 2012-2014 I feel it is my duty to bring to the notice the occupation of our resources particularly our power generation from our water resources which is under their central govt companies ( NHPC Limited (erstwhile National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) . This company has an asset base of 97 billion dollars with a yearly income of 710 million dollars . One third of its generating capacity is in kashmir and has rightly got the name of “EAST INDIA COMPANY “ in kashmir .We as an organisation fought regarding return of our assets which they built with or without agreement of limited time but never returned to the state although different commissions like RANGARAJAN COMMISSION recommended return of some projects .While our industry and business are reeling under power cuts they are by occupying our most important resource earning and becoming big corporations with profits .
Our people who invested in industries particularly from the 1990’s became sick because of the prevailing situation in kashmir because of frequent curfews and Hartals which were done as a form of resistance to different terrorist actions by the Indian forces wherein it is estimated that about more than 3600 days have been lost in the last thirty years which was further accentuated by the action in august 2019 and subsequently by covid . The world can understand it more with the experience of covid lockdowns as explained previously above . We lost more than 10 years in closure of last 30 years . You can realise that how businesses can survive and lot of them have become bankrupt.
Now by the change of laws after 2019 the big corporates of India will buy these assets at rock bottom prices and occupy our economic places .
I am reminded by a personal episode I got to know in 1993 when I went to buy Brass handicraft items from Moradabad . The items are manufactured by Indian Muslims while the traders are mainly Hindus . This has happened by cyclical religious riots where usually & invariably Muslims suffered and they remained the workers while the main profits were taken by the traders . This is what is going to happen in kashmir .
• In kashmir lot of local assets have been created on leased properties particularly in resort places like Gulmarg and pahalgam whose leases are not being renewed as by change of laws we fear they will be handed over to the big corporates of india and Kashmiris in their own country will become servants and second rate citizens
• The latest law of land use where agriculture land can be used for non agriculture use thereby making a way for land to be taken over by corporates from India
• Already unfortunately our waqf properties are taken over by the state by one of the previous regime of Mufti Syed on the pretext of corruption but we now realise that it was done under a plan to disempower Kashmiri Muslims
This above gives my views about what sacrifices of Kashmiri businessmen towards the struggle for freedom of Kashmir as all the above is happening or happened because businesses have got effected by the ongoing movement and they are continuing to give these sacrifices for sacred cause of freedom of Kashmir based on Right of self determination . It has to be understood that the business community was fully committed to settlement of kashmir as per aspirations of Kashmiris .
Please see the first 20 minutes particularly as I have tried to give the details