Millennium Post

More turmoil in Kashmir

Subsequent clashes that broke out between police and protesters in Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag, and Kulgam districts of Kashmir. Protesters set police post on fire in Achan village in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. In response, police opened fired on the mob in Shopian in which two people were injured. The injured were shifted for treatment to Srinagar.

 As a consequence of the violence that broke out, Internet services have been suspended for the fourth consecutive day in Valley. The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has also been closed due to violence. Shortage of essentials and food items is also being felt in Valley. 

There is a feeling among ordinary Kashmiris and political commentators that India hasn’t shown enough seriousness in resolving the Kashmir issue politically, except on two occasions. The first was in the 1990s. As violence flared with the rise of an armed insurgency, the government of India sent an all-party delegation led by George Fernandes. 

The second was the arrival of a parliamentary committee in 2010 led by then home minister P. Chidambaram. But very little came of those two engagements. Instead, Kashmir is often described merely as a “law and order” problem. A brief lull in violence is portrayed as “normalcy.”

According to news website Quartz, “Fearing that the armed struggle in Kashmir may be linked to the global militant networks, the pro-freedom leaders portrayed the Kashmir struggle as an indigenous peoples’ movement,” explained a political analyst, requesting anonymity.

 It is argued by some quarters that unemployment pushed the Kashmiri youth towards militancy, but those who have joined the militancy in the recent past have come from economically sound families. Some had engineering and post-graduate degrees. 

A few chose to even abandon government jobs to join the new breed of militants. This is largely because “When you muzzle the popular sentiment with brute force then there are consequences as we are witnessing today,” said Ali Mohammad Sagar to Quartz, a senior leader of Kashmir’s oldest mainstream pro-India party, National Conference, which is now in opposition.

The continued apathy of the Centre is incontestably responsible for the worsening situation in the valley. The killing of Burhan Wani is essentially the unleashed anger brewing inside the common Kashmiri. What precipitated this situation is a combination of various episodes that have been happening recently. 

The PDP, which currently holds power in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party, is said to have also rubbed ordinary Kashmiris the wrong way. To make matters worse, the recent suggestions to create colonies for ex-servicemen, implementation of a controversial industrial policy, and the establishment of separate townships for displaced Kashmiri Pandits have been viewed with suspicion.

From the other side, Nawaz Sharif’s office said in the statement, “the Prime Minister of Pakistan has expressed his deep shock at the killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and many other civilians by the Indian military and paramilitary forces”.

 In response to this, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “Pakistan is advised to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of its neighbours.”It has been a common practice for people of Kashmir to protest and participate in funeral processions of militants for years—the largest has been the funeral procession of Burhan Wani after that of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front commander, Ashfaq Majeed Wani, in 1990.

As stated time and again, Kashmir is an integral part of India, and incidents such as the current one are matters internal to India. But the question that remains is: how has India been handling its integral part for decades?
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