Newspaper Article 26/07/2016
Cause of Kashmiri people enjoys across the board national support under cutting all sorts of divides. Horrendous episode of martyrdom of innocent Kashmiri brethren at the hands of Indian security forces continues while Kashmiri leaders in IOK remained under detention or arrest. Maqbool Bhat in 1984, Afzal Guru in 2013 and now Burhan Wani has become the rallying point for, decades’ long history of home-grown militancy in IOK goes on. An audio clip is virulent in IOK, reportedly bearing the voice of Burhan’s mother is being circulated in Kashmir in the aftermath of violence has her shouting: “Tum kitne Burhan maaroge?” A crowd responds, “Har ghar se Burhan niklega… Jeeve jeeve Pakistan…” Most of the Facebook sites being used by protestors have also been blocked. While Wani has become an internationally recognized legend, it is shameful that some pseudo intellectuals in Pakistan are adamant in calling him a terrorist.
After the emergency meeting convened by the Indian Prime Minster of India, it was stated that India will go on hunting militants in Kashmir. Indian Security Forces have stepped-up state terrorism in IOK. They are even attacking the ambulances and hospitals.
Inside the capital Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital, doctors told Al Jazeera that they had performed 100 eye surgeries in the past four days; “All of them could lose their eyesight.” One senior doctor told Al Jazeera on the condition of anonymity. The Doctors’ Association of Kashmir said in a statement that security forces launched tear gas shells into a hospital where victims were being treated, and police beat hospital staff and damaged ambulances. “Doctors are working in operating theatres round-the-clock. We’ve operated on 90 [now well over 100] for serious eye injuries, they are going to walk out of the hospital as one-eyed boys,” said a doctor in Hari Singh Hospital.
Indian security forces are using pellet guns to quell the demonstrators. This duck hunting weapon sends, in each single shot, nearly 600 high velocity ball bearings made of lead; the youngest victim was a four-year-old girl. Rights groups say that pellet gun blinds people and must be banned, India insist that it was a non-lethal weapon.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted: “I cannot mourn a man who took up arms against my state”— indeed he played to a hyper-nationalist gallery. When it comes to Kashmir, there is hardly any difference in BJP and Congress, here the secularism of Congress perfectly merges with BJP’s Hindutva. Strategy to quell the unrest is also same: Push in a few thousand more troops into the Valley, shoot more people, declare more curfews, and look the other side when tortures and rapes happen.
Pakistan has taken up the matter with international community; the UN OIC, EU, the P-5 Middle East and African diplomats have been briefed on the gruesome killings of innocent Kashmiris. Advisor to Prime Minister of foreign Affairs has written letters to UNSG, SG of OIC and Chair of UNHRC, highlighting the current happenings in IOK. Our missions abroad are briefing their host governments as well as human rights groups and organization in their areas of accreditation. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has declared that Pakistan will continue to support the cause of Kashmiris. Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has also urged the world to respect desires of Kashmiris.
Intifada of Kashmiris has sent a loud and clear message to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his agenda to shun talks and instead rely solely on suppressive tactics to address the longstanding dispute, would not work. Kashmiris were looking towards peaceful settlement of the dispute but Modi government has pushed them to the wall. Kashmiris are braving all atrocities and expressing resolve not to accept anything less than end of the Indian occupation.
India’s attempt to camouflage its repressive actions by terming the volatile situation as its internal affair has started receiving rebuke from the world community. The US State Department has declared that Kashmir is not an internal matter of India and that the violence should come to an end. Voicing concerns, the US has urged all the sides to make efforts towards finding a peaceful solution. “Obviously, we’re concerned about the violence. We encourage all sides to make efforts towards finding a peaceful solution,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing. While appreciating the statement emanating from the US State department, Pakistan expects that Washington will use its clout on India to stop the killing spree. One should not forget that slogan of right to self-determination runs into the blood of every Kashmiri youth and they will not agree on anything short of this.
In the wake of ongoing violence, UNSG has once again offered Pakistan and India mediation on Kashmir. Pakistan has appreciated the offer. It is the UN’s official responsibility and obligation to address the issue of Kashmir because there are UN Security Council’s resolutions on it. OIC is the second largest inter-Governmental Organization after the United Nations. OIC Secretary General has deplored the use of force by the Indian security forces on innocent Kashmiris in IOK on July 13. OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) has called for an immediate end to the ongoing abrasive human rights violations and deplored extrajudicial killings of Kashmiris in the IOK.
“There is no denial in Delhi … that a problem exists,” said retired Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, an Indian army corps commander in the area from 2010 to 2012 who was deployed there seven times during his career. “But no one seems to be clear on how to get into engagement with the people on the ground.” The IOK’s deputy chief minister, Nirmal Singh of the BJP, said the government was ready to engage with the Hurriyat under a legal framework. Asked whether police and paramilitary forces used excessive force to control crowds after Wani’s killing, BJP’s Singh replied: “It is a matter of concern”.
Just because not as many were being killed since the uprising in the 1990s, India thought Kashmir was “normal”. The wounds of the 1990s were deep; people of IOK were angry, those wounds stayed open, and so the masses stayed angry. A whole new generation has been added to the population which is, even angrier. And life for a young man in the most militarised area in the world is a series of humiliations, some petty, some overwhelming.
Indian mind set is rubbish. Kashmir will not be normal till: its people are allowed to exercise their right of self-determination; as long as it is the most militarised part of the world, with one soldier for every 15 or so residents: and those omnipresent soldiers know they are above the laws that constrain them in rest of India.
Frequent horrific incidents like rapes and murders are the inevitable consequence of any security force being granted legal impunity. Rigged election to installs pliant governments in IOK is an open secret. Politics in Kashmir has always have been cynical; some politicians have always been keen to get into bed with whoever ruled Delhi, be it the Sangh Parivar or Congress with secular facade, that’s why Union governments kept making plans guaranteed to prevent Kashmiris from feeling secure.
Last good thing promised to the people of IOK was the healing touch of Prime Minister Vajpayee through a pledge to treat Kashmir with “insaniyat“, though ever since, this undertaking did got beyond political sloganeering, like Nehru’s commitment to hold fair and free plebiscite under the UN supervision. Blaming Pakistan has neither helped India so far, nor would it help in foreseeable future.
The Nation, July 18, 2016
Views expressed are of the writer and are not reflective of IPRI policy.