The anger generated by the killing of seventeen young Kashmiri’s on 1ST of April in Shopian district of South Kashmir has not subsided yet , another day of bloodshed was witnessed on 11th of April this time in Khudwani area of Kulgam district in South Kashmir. Four young Kashmiri’s were killed in protests by the indiscriminate and illegitimate use of force by the security agencies and more than 100 people were injured, many among them hit by pellets in the eyes.
The killing of young Kashmiri’s whether in encounters or protests has become a new norm in Kashmir. These incidents are repeated every other day in different parts of the valley. There has been increase in the incidents of human rights violations. On one side there are young unarmed and innocent people who are protesting by pelting stones against the atrocities being committed against them, against the human rights violations and for achieving their rights. On the other side there are security forces, fighting with their full might and pumping live bullets and pellets into the chests of these young people and ending their dreams, aspirations and hopes of a better and peaceful life.
Last year Indian army chief General BipinRawat warned the protesters against coming near the encounter sites. He warned them of dire consequences. He was widely backed by the so called nationalist leaders and the communal and paid media of India without trying to know why these young people are protesting. This was followed by increased incidents of civilian killings in the protests. This time ADG CRPF for Jammu and Kashmir zone V S K Kaumudi said that only alternative to pellets is for the youth not to throw stones.
If security agencies consider the militants as rebels or terrorists, then they should realise that they are fighting not only the two or three rebels who are trapped at the encounter sites but they are fighting the crowd of nearly five thousand to ten thousand young people who are protesting at the encounter sites to help these rebels escape. They are also fighting the crowd of nearly fifty thousand to one lakh people who participate in the funeral of these rebels and also many more who offer funeral prayers in absentia. They should also realise that they are fighting all those people who observe shutdown valley wide to mourn the killing of these rebels. This is a big number, a number near about sixty lakhs. Such a big population cannot be called terrorists by any sense.
The bloodshed is affecting Kashmiri’s seriously. It effects their education, economy, tourism and many other sectors of the life. The education sector has been completely devastated by the current situation. The schools and colleges are frequently closed by the government authorities for days together. This affects the academic calendar badly. The undergraduate and postgraduate courses are taking an extra year to completion. Students do not feel safe in the educational institutions as the security agencies raid the colleges and universities frequently to stop the protests which the students indulge only to give expression to their anger and to register their protest against the bloodshed.
A large population obtain their livelihood either directly or indirectly from the tourism sector. The more the tourists will visit Kashmir, the more this industry will flourish, the more the economy will get stabilised and more and more people will get employment. But this sector is directly linked to peace. Increasing number of tourists will visit Kashmir only if there is peace. But from the last couple of years, it has been observed that whenever tourism season starts in Kashmir some untoward incidents are repeated deliberately which ruin the tourism season. The Indian media adds fuel to the fire by spreading a false propaganda against Kashmir. They malign the image of Kashmir and present it as the most dangerous place in the world to the people outside Kashmir.
The economy of Kashmir has almost collapsed by frequent disruptions of peace leading to frequent shutdowns and closure of markets, business establishments and small scale industries which support the Kashmir economy. The businessmen, shopkeepers, transporters and hoteliers are not able to do their business. They have taken heavy loans from the banks for running their business. Doing business apart, they are not able to pay the interest on their loans. The disruption of peace affects other sectors like horticulture, handicrafts and many more.
India took Kashmir issue to the United Nations where many resolutions were passed. These resolutions clearly mentioned that there should be referendum in Kashmir. The people should be given right to decide their future. At that time India accepted these resolutions and promised in the United Nations that when the situation in Kashmir would get normalised, Indian government would give Kashmiri’s right to self determination. After some time India backtracked from her promises. In 1972 there was Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan. It was decided that all issues including Kashmir would be solved bilaterally by India and Pakistan only and not by any third party.
Kashmiri’s were sidelined although it was neither the issue of India nor Pakistan but only of Kashmiri’s.
New Delhi was never serious in solving Kashmir problem, it was only gaining time. Due to the backing of America and other European countries, India has become arrogant. India no more considers Pakistan as a party to Kashmir issue. It says Kashmir issue is its internal affair and no country in the world including United Nations has any right to interfere in its internal affairs. India is aspiring to become a member of United Nations Security Council but shows no respect for the resolutions passed by the same agency.
The Kashmiri’s are caught today in a catch-22 situation from where they are finding no way out. They are dying every day. They wake up in the morning with a hope of a better day. With a hope that the new day would bring peace to their land, will bring cheers to their lives, will give a chance to their children to learn something in the educational institutions so that they can make Kashmir a better place to live. But the day ends with more miseries, more bloodshed, more funerals in different parts of Kashmir, more young children leaving for school only to be returned in coffins, more people losing their eyesight, many young children waiting for their parents to return without knowing that their wait will never end and more people losing their hope to live.
United Nations resolutions are no more acceptable to India. They have become outdated. Pakistan is no more a party to Kashmir issue, so Shimla Agreement automatically becomes invalid, then what the solution left is. Is killing or blinding Kashmiri’s the only solution left?
(A masters in Chemistry from Kashmir University, am presently working as Teacher in Department of School Education.E mail: [email protected])