Held Kashmir: the agony goes on


By Bassam Javed

Ten weeks into Jammu & Kashmir’s surge of violence, the use of force against un-armed civilians continues unabated. This time the struggle for their rights through street protests has cost the peaceful movement over 60 dead, mainly Kashmiri youth in their teens and twenties, and hundreds of innocent injured.

The surge of violence in the Kashmiri movement with protesters chanting ‘Go India Go’ slogans commenced after teenager Tufail Mattoo’s brutal death at the hands of Indian security forces on June 11 this year. The movement through street protests just keeps picking up in intensity with each passing day and has been so fierce at times that security forces were forced to retreat.

Whatever the protestors are demanding in the streets today is nothing new and is absolutely the same agenda what their elders have been fighting to achieve through their life times. There is no deviation in the basic agenda of seeking their right of self determination.

The ferocity in the current uprising is amazing despite the fact that their leadership is confined to their residences by force and is not allowed to move around. They have not even been allowed to meet and sympathise with the families whose beloved ones have been killed by the Indian security forces. But India remains in a denial mode.

Initially, India had tried to give a turn to the current spate of violence by terming it as terrorism perpetrated from across the border, a popular outlet they find in Pakistan to cover their inabilities to either recognise the gravity of issues that plague their security or their failure to control the fallouts of these issues.

The anger on the streets of Indian held Kashmir today is a clear manifestation of decades of deprivation of their statehood and identity. From official counts till 4th of August, 872 stone throwing incidents caused injuries to 1,456 security men. Elsewhere nine police stations, police posts, a camp of services special operations group, two houses of political activists,

round 10 government vehicles, a train coach besides a railway station itself and 13 government office buildings have been destroyed as revenge for killing over 60 Kashmiris, mostly teenagers by security forces deployed in Kashmir. A police officer was quoted as having said: “They are taking over the country and we are to face their wrath. It is not a simple law and order problem.”

The fact that the Indian leadership always viewed the core issue of Kashmir as a security issue rather than a political one has made the people of Jammu and Kashmir robust in their demands. During the past 20 years, it has been recognized by India and Pakistan as the core issue that mars the security of the region.

Many a times the echoes of ‘out of the box’ solution gathered optimism but as always have been in the India-Pakistan context, that remain a far cry. Meanwhile, the Kashmir’s current wave of struggle driven by the valiant youth continues to claim innocent lives at the hands of Indian security forces.

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