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August 19, 2016

Unabated violence in held Kashmir


August 19, 2016

As can be judged from media reports, Indians are extremely upset over the escalating turmoil in held Kashmir and have no idea how to tackle it. Mentioning Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan by Prime Minister Modi will not end the violence. More than 70 people have been killed, several thousand injured and a large population remains under curfew in the Valley.

In the latest development, the Indian Police in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have charged Amnesty International India with sedition for organising a panel discussion where some were heard shouting slogans about independence for Kashmir. Reports say a few Kashmiri students and activists got into heated arguments with those who supported the federal rule and Indian military in the troubled state. The discussion by Amnesty India was organised as part of a campaign to seek justice for "victims of Human rights violations" in Jammu and Kashmir. Over the past month, the north Indian-occupied state has been in the grip of violence and trouble.

There is no denying that Pakistan’s relations with India have been held hostage by the smoldering issue of Kashmir. The recent incidents in the valley have once again proved that without resolving the Kashmir issue, the relations between the two countries, which have gone to war thrice over the issue, cannot be normalised.

At this moment in time, the human rights situation in the valley seems to be further deteriorating and that of course will have a serious impact on bilateral ties between Pakistan and India. The Indian Express recently admitted: “With five more deaths, the death toll of people killed in the clashes between security personnel and youth during ongoing unrest triggered by killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani to 66. Over 8,000 people including over 4,500 civilians have been injured in the clashes with more than 1,000 youth receiving pellet injuries. Most of the pellet-hit injured have suffered injuries in eyes and the authorities had to call doctors from outside State to perform eye surgeries of pellet-victims. Many youth hit by pellets in eyes have lost eye sight.”

The fact is that the unrest in the valley is far from over as had been projected in some Indian circles. At the same time, the unrest is indigenous and not being exported across the LoC as the South Block maintains. The world now no longer believes the Indian version of events, especially that militants from Pakistan are fomenting trouble in the held valley. No Kashmiri politician, who claims to have public support, can openly uphold the presence of Indian occupation forces in the valley.

Meanwhile, the Indian armed forces continue to hide behind the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to suppress the local population. The relevance of the issue has survived no matter how hard the Indian government has tried.

In today’s globalised world, it is not possible to push the major events under the carpet. Likewise, it is not viable for the Indian authorities to hide the everyday events and the continuing violence and crackdown that are taking place in the valley.

To be sure, the globalised world is increasing the Indian headaches as the people become more receptive and aware of human rights violations in Kashmir. All together, the Kashmiris have to have full spectrum participation in deciding their destiny.



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