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Indian despotism in Kashmir

May 2, 2017
Indian despotism in Kashmir

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Kashmiris have long dreamt of creating an independent nation up there in the bright green valleys of the Himalayas. It’s an earnest desire India has no intention of allowing.

The region has been a flashpoint for more than 60 years now, rebellion against India’s rule over Kashmir is neither new nor surprising – and the brutality of the state’s response is equally familiar.

In the 1990s, India came down hard on a widespread uprising in the Kashmir valley – killing, torturing, disappearing, and imprisoning thousands. Some estimates put the number of people killed since 1989 at 70,000. Some 8,000 non-combatants are thought to have been disappeared, and 6,000 are believed to have been buried in mass graves.

In the quest of rebellious history of Kashmiri Muslims I found that in the 80s and 90s, a few thousand militants were at the vanguard of the independence struggle. There are far fewer now – perhaps 250 or so – but opposition to Indian rule appears to be becoming more widespread.

The region has seen heightened tension and increased unrest since July last year. Last summer was one of the bloodiest in the Muslim-dominated valley in recent years. Following the killing of influential militant Burhan Wani by Indian forces last July, more than 100 civilians lost their lives in clashes during a four-month-long security lockdown in the valley.

Wani, 22, is largely credited with reviving and legitimizing the image of militancy in Muslim-majority Indian-administered Kashmir.

Nearly six years back in 2010, when Indian security forces killed 120 protesters. Wani, who was then 15 years old, is said to have joined a small group of homegrown militants after he and his brother were humiliated and abused by Indian soldiers.

Burhan Wani became a rebel but there are reasons behind it not just one but several reasons, many things involved in it.

Wani was a rebel but he wasn’t the only one, you can find many Burhan’s in the Valley.

This April has brought an extreme degree of violence in the valley of Kashmir, India’s armed forces reached a new low in the long history of alleged human rights abuses in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, when they beat and then tied a 24-year-old shawl weaver named Farooq Ahmad Dar to the front of a jeep on April 9, using him as a human shield against stone-throwing crowds.

The abuse of Mr. Dar occurred the day Kashmiris voted to fill a seat in the local Srinagar assembly. Following a call by separatists to boycott the election, only 7 percent of local Kashmiri voters turned out to vote, a low not seen in 27 years.

In the evening when eight people were killed in violence on Election Day.

As a matter of fact Mr. Dar never supported the separatists, complained: “I voted, and this is what I got in return. Do you think it will help India in Kashmir? No. It will give Kashmiris another reason to hate India.”

High unemployment and complaints of heavy-handed tactics by security forces battling street protesters and fighting insurgents have aggravated the problem.

More than 60% of the men in the valley are under 30, and more than 40% of men in Kashmir are jobless, restless and angry. Kashmir, clearly, appears to be teetering on the brink of an open public revolt against Indian rule.

The anger has spilled out onto the streets and young women are leading the charge, there is no event in recent memory that saw girls coming out in the streets.

Young girls have become the new face of protests in the Kashmir valley wracked by years of violence and brutal retaliation of government forces.

According to one of the students Syed Marissa Muzafar “I have seen blood of our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers running through the streets like that of sheep when butchered. How long do you think one would remain indifferent?”

Life is uncertain, a very thought that “they aren’t safe anywhere, neither at their home nor in the streets”, is killing Kashmiris.

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When you suffer atrocity after atrocity you lose all fear. It seems like Kashmiris aren’t scared of anything now.

Where will it end or it’s never ending power play of Modi government who’s not yet interested to address Kashmir issue on priority level?

India and Pakistan have disputed the territory for nearly 70 years – since independence from Britain.

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India and Pakistan each administer a portion of Kashmir, but both claim the territory in its entirety. Most people in the Indian-controlled portion favor independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Many say the federal government’s near-complete lack of engagement and dialogue with local stakeholders and Pakistan, a complete mistrust of the local government and a lack of development and jobs have left most people jittery and alienated.

Our heart aches for the people of Kashmir, Our heart beats for the people of Kashmir not only because they are Muslims but because they are human beings like us.

Kashmiri people had a long tiring history, they have struggled for decades, and grief is the price one pays for love. People of Kashmir have a hope that one day; the blood of innocents will help us gain our freedom.

At this point the government should begin talking with the stakeholders – Pakistan, the separatists, mainstream parties, the minority Kashmiri Hindus- and start “thinking of not a military solution, but a political way”.

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The Kashmir issue is very complicated but ultimately the people who suffer are the Kashmiri people. Although it is going to be a long and difficult road ahead but India and Pakistan should work together with strong involvement from the U.N to resolve the Kashmir issue.

A restrained, diplomatic response might be its wisest route.

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