A little soul-searching

February 19,2019

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The recent attacks in the region and their aftermath have gravely disturbed those who wish for peace across the region. Such events also have a tendency to allow other global powers to intervene in the region.

In such a situation, no one will be the winner. In fact, millions of masses whose lives have been plagued by extreme poverty and haunting starvation will be the losers in this.

These incidents seem to have dampened the hopes of peace created by the talks between the Afghan Taliban and the US. The talks seemed to have been moving in the right direction but any tension between the three big stakeholders in the region – Pakistan, India and Iran – would adversely affect any prospect of peace and stability.

Such attacks should be condemned; no excuse can be offered to justify the spilling of blood, but any sort of over-reaction to such attacks too may trigger more bloodshed and carnage. Affected states need to respond to such terrorist incidents in a rational way, discouraging hate-mongering. If such kind of hate talk helped, Afghanistan would have been stabilised years ago, Iraq would not have lost more than two million souls, Syria would not have plunged into chaos and Libya would have been a stable state.

Apart from other factors, it would be a gross mistake to overlook the internal causes behind such attacks. The current turmoil in Kashmir has been caused by the sledgehammer tactics that the Indian state has employed in crushing the peaceful struggle of the Kashmiri people for their right of self-determination.

The ruthless use of pellet guns, killing of over 200 Kashmiris and wounding of thousands of innocent civilians have all prompted the youth of the valley to revolt against the coercive apparatus of the Indian state. The humiliating treatment meted out to the youth, the elderly and women has filled the hearts of these youths with feelings of revenge and vengeance.

Social media has been flooded with videos and images that have then likely also been used by militant groups to fuel anger. Instead of putting an end to this humiliating treatment, New Delhi has resorted to even more repressive measures; all this no doubt has further ignited tensions. Indian soldiers have picked innocent Kashmiri youths, even schoolboys, forcing them to hurl abuses at Pakistan and chant slogans for India. Such an attitude has led to a sense of indignation that is fomenting more hatred against the oppressive rule of the Indian state in the valley. The lack of democratic dispensation in the valley and colonial type of governor rule is further complicating the situation.

It is important that New Delhi delve into the internal factors of extremism and militancy instead of putting all blame on external factors. The current atmosphere in the valley has more to do with Indian repressive policies than any external factors. And the manner in which mobs of extremist Hindus are threatening Kashmiri people living in different parts of the largest democracy will further fuel hate against the Indian state. Spontaneous attacks on Kashmiri people in parts of India seem to indicate that the Indian state has given unbridled freedom to fanatics who are roaming about the country hurling threats at innocent Kashmiri people.

Conscientious Indians need to come forward to slam the burning of Kashmiris’ houses and attacks on Kashmiri students and traders all over India. This mob frenzy will do no good to India. It might help the right-wing BJP secure a few millions votes but it has potential to tear the social fabric of Indian society.

States must put their own houses in order, instead of blaming everything on external factors. Other than that, non-state actors should also not be able to use any country’s soil for their own myopic agenda. It is important that collective efforts are made to stamp out the extremism that has pushed countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya into the abyss of darkness. If such collective efforts are not made, they could push the region towards a conflagration that could incinerate all.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

Email: egalitarianism444gmail.com


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