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August 28, 2016

Red embers of unrest catch fire in Kashmir


August 28, 2016

Kashmir continues to burn once again. The red embers of unrest have finally caught fire. But as always the Indian fire fighting is extremely lousy and ineffective. The following developments reveal why.

Indian home minister Rajnath Singh recently announced in Srinagar the Indian government will propose an alternative to pellet guns, blamed for blinding scores of Kashmiris. Indian political parties including Congress have also demanded a ban on the gun. According to Indian media reports, an expert panel formed in the wake of widespread criticism of pellet guns, a weapon that has left hundreds of people blinded in the current wave of violence in Kashmir, has suggested alternatives to pellets guns. These include an acoustic device used by the US police, a chilli-based ammunition capable of temporarily immobilizing the target and laser shooter that causes temporary blindness. The chilli–based ammunition is the highly potent PAVA (Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide), an organic compound found in natural chilli pepper. Reports say the Indian armed forces and police have already started using the Pava balls in the Valley. But in the absence of tackling the real cause of the unrest, Pava or no Pava, peace is unlikely to return to the Valley. 

Also, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s obscene remarks on Balochistan in the Indian Independence Day speech are not going to change the ground realities in held Kashmir. The foreign sponsored and funded insurgency in Balochistan is almost over barring some violent incidents. Consider the statement of chief of Southern Command Lt Gen Aamir Riaz last week who reminded the world that India had launched an unconventional war against Pakistan and its agencies were involved in acts of terrorism in the country. He said that some countries, including India, were behind acts of terrorism in Pakistan and were trying to create hurdles for development projects in Balochistan. “Some foreign powers and their local agents are against the development of Balochistan and they are hatching conspiracies to achieve their nefarious designs,” he added.

Referring to the arrest of a RAW agent in Balochistan a few months ago, the general said there were evidences of the Indian agency’s involvement in sabotage activities inside Pakistan. He said the arrested RAW agent had confessed during the course of interrogation that he had been involved in subversion activities in Karachi and Balochistan. He said the purpose of such sabotage activities was to hinder the pace of development in Pakistan, particularly Balochistan, where the government had launched a number of mega development projects. But despite Indian machinations, the CPEC is moving ahead at a brisk pace.

A day after Modi’s speech, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhary invited India to discuss the Kashmir issue. New Delhi accepted the invitation but made it clear that “Pakistan-sponsored terrorism” but not the real issue i.e. Kashmir could be discussed.

Indiscriminate use of violence in the Valley, talking about Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan and refusing to talk to Pakistan on Kashmir are indicators that Modi is under great pressure on the held Kashmir issue. The South Block is feeling the heat but is unable to douse the flames.

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