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A Voice Caged cannot be overthrown

By | Noor Ul Shahbaz

Er Rasheed (Ex-MLA and President Awami Itihaad Party) from Lach Mawer in Langate constituency of Kupwara district in Kashmir is publicly known since year 2008 when he contested assembly elections from langate and at his first attempt by public support he succeeded in overthrowing one of the strong candidate from National Conference, then he succeeded second time as well. 


He is also much known among a class of people by expression of his healthy, versatile ideas in the daily newspapers “Chattaan” in past and “Greater Kashmir-English” and “Kashmir Uzma- Urdu”. Er Rasheed gained name and fame not only among the majority of people in his constituency but outside langate also. He is considered as voice of people although elected by the people of langate, as he took place in the hearts of people all over districts of J&K. These are the facts which one cannot deny that it is not possible for a common man to remember names of all the assembly members and constituencies which they represent but Er Rasheed is the sole identity in the J&K who is known to common masses of Kashmir with his constituency as well to which he was representing in Assembly and in any other platforms. 

There are certain reasons which I can point out, firstly he is a good writer and continuously drafted his ideas on the political situations in Kashmir linked with New Delhi’s policies and covering at times the role of regional parties and international community as well. Secondly, he remained focal point of J&K Legislative assembly since 2008 by his versatile speeches and criticism of policies of party in power as well as parties who enjoyed power in past. The role of a public representative to put up the aspirations of people at the given platform as per his delegated powers or authority since year 2008 has been hailed by people all around. Thirdly, representation of the spirit of people i-e he spoke out without any fear about the sentiment of kashmiri people as per his intellect and with regard to that he criticized other public representatives and voices as well for not giving a concrete way or road map to the wishes and aspirations of kashmiri people, and he himself accepted the counter criticism as well.

He offered to work on common platforms to represent the voices by one or the other strategies so that we can reach a logical end and establish a prosperous society for kashmiri people. Fourthly, he took a lead and fought against all the atrocities inflicted on innocent kashmiri people of which he himself was a victim and I am sure the spark of revolt against arbitrariness, unlawfulness, absolutism, authoritarianism, tyranny and brutally within him was because of being himself a victim. People are desperately waiting for his release since abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A as he has proven himself to stand by the people of Kashmir at all odds. His struggle, fight against authoritarianism at every nook and corner of the state particularly in Kashmir valley created a space in the hearts of people. People from other districts and constituencies were having their representatives, but what forced them to approach Er Rasheed is a question that needs to be answered. 

The public support to him in parliament elections of year 2019 was out of expectations for his rivals, he took lead in five constituencies from north kashmir and defeated his rivals who has ruled in these constituencies under different governments, that was a fact of his being pro-public. No doubt he did not succeed in scoring the winning numbers but he emerged as a hope of people of kashmir and won hearts. Fifthly, his own way of dealing with the government machinery for his people. He made the public servants more accountable as per his capacities and powers. The government officials and other employees who worked with him cannot deny the fact that their work culture gained momentum during their tenures while working with him. He termed education as backbone of our society and very often while interacting with school going children, young students and parents he stressed on their educational part and supported them financially as well. He is very adamant to make government educational institutions as the primary sources of education for all the students irrespective of their status, family background etc. and the striking example is that his son Abrar Rasheed scored excellent grades in his 12th class exams from Government Higher Secondary Qalamabad mawer and is presently enrolled in Government Degree College Handwara.

Being an MLA he could have got admission for his son at any reputed private educational institution of the country but he did not and this also shows his sincerity, love and affection towards his fellow people. He put stress on the matter that all ministers, MLA’s and other government officials and employees should be bound to admit their wards in government schools and all government teachers must admit their wards as well in government schools so that social and educational justice be achieved. Sixthly, his simple living style has attracted attention of hundreds and thousands of people around him. 

He never maintained standards and proven himself to be up and above, distinct from his fellow people. Some use the term “drama” for his actions while protesting inside and outside assembly, on roads, for his clothing etc and the answer to them from his words was perform the same kind of drama or tell them whom you support to perform the same kind of drama and my opinion is that they have a right to differ but Er Rasheeds answer to them is also up to mark. Living a simple and pro-public life is not a drama but integrity of a person who comes from the same race of his common fellow men. People including me can have their opinions as well with regard to Er Rasheed and differ from my version and they have a right and Er Rasheed always reaffirms this right of critics by saying that, “mujh mai bhi galatiyaa ho sakti hai- to err is in human nature”. There is a lot which can be counted and one can go on…..As soon as the preparations were going on for abrogation of Article 370, 35-A, state division into Union Territories he was summoned by NIA to Delhi, thereafter he was not released and allowed to return back to his home and is now languishing in Tihar Jail_ Ah! A voice caged. He is having his family, kiths and kins, well wishers and most particularly the people who have hopes attached with him. I cannot pray before any authority this time as:”Usi ka Shahr Vahi Muddai Vahi MunsifHamen Yaqeen tha Hamara Qasur Niklega”Last but not the least; voices cannot be caged, suppressed as they are bound to make revolutions if based on the principles of justice and common good.

(MA, LL.M GOLD MEDALIST)Lecturer and former acting Principal at Sopore Law College
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