END KASHMIR’S AGONY

                                                                                                                      
Kashmir’s  tryst with peace has proved short lived  yet again , thanks  to the vacuous & barbaric killing  of another young man Hilal Ahmad of Bandipora. Hours before a shepherd was injured  when the forces fired upon him indiscriminately. Still admitted in the Hospital battling for life, it will be a near miracle if he survives.
In the election 2009, Bandipora constituency was the first  to go to polls and it returned around 70% polling. The theory of probability tells us that both the deceased Hilal Ahmad & injured shepherd must have cast their votes and put  the current ruling regime in chair. In return one  has been awarded a  death sentence & the other a crippling injury by the forces acting directly or indirectly under the control of same very chair through unified command. A great tribute indeed!

Kashmiri Muslims have been mauled , cleaved and dehumanised  by a system  in which only the writ of security forces work. They have the unfailing habit of creating reasons for mass disruption at regular intervals  just to remind the natives that they are here and you cannot live in peace unless & until you are fully & truly subjugated. A bereft  political  leadership at the centre and a  state leadership playing  a mercenary role for them  has neither the desire nor  the will  to investigate at the macro level the reasons behind the  recurring episodes of needless killings by the various wings of the police and the military, which by their regularity and timing must certainly be significantly more than the aberrations they are made out to be. The resultant massive disaffection and alienation of the people   against  praetorian India is being further managed  by creating  a police state and buying the loyalties of a  miniscule section of  the populace. The net achievement – Even as Kashmir is becoming more dependent socially & economically on New-Delhi, the two are getting more divided politically.

Great nations never try  to correct the history, but only learn from it. India is doing exactly the opposite in Kashmir. Without learning anything from what Kalhana has said that Kashmiris may be  conquered  by love but cannot be suppressed  by force, it  is trying to re-write and change  the Kashmir history through military pen & ink. Since  2002, it  has procured approximately seven  billion US dollars in weaponry from the Israeli state. Seven billion dollars is a colossal sum for India, where 40 percent of the world’s poor reside. Eight of the poorest states in India are more impoverished than the 26 poorest countries of the African continent. Seven billion dollars, in addition to the other monies and resources invested in the militarization of Kashmir, do not evidence an intent to attempt  a political solution but manage the territory through barrel of the Gun. Compare this with the era  when India’s first Prime Minster Nehru, with his characteristic pride, famously told the U.S. President, Eisenhower that Indians were no international mendicants for weapons.

Human rights violations in Kashmir will not stop without seriously thinking over demilitarization of the State. Let it start by relocating the army strictly on borders & auxillary forces confined to barracks. Let India’s political class  not think  that by committing these doables, its  power over Kashmir will be  ruptured. Let required political steps be taken in right earnest to attempt a just solution. Demonizing Syed Ali shah Geelani, attacking umer Farooq or critcising Yaseen Malik is no option. It has to accept the hard realities and take the proverbial bull by horn. Remember if Kashmir issue  remain unresolved, it will soon become the focus of a new grand game as America and ISAF forces begin to withdraw from Afghanistan. With an assertive China, India is likely to  become  the new Pakistan for America to act as a proxy for the new cold war with China.

Had the state and the central leaderships at the very least made even a pretence at disciplining the forces deployed in Kashmir during and after the last three summers of unrest, Sopore could possibly not have happened.  The chief minister’s simulated anger at the latest custodial killing, and his stern warnings of exemplary punishment, are not likely impress anyone, certainly not the police and the other forces whose leadership and tactics have not even been censured, let alone penalized, for the hundreds of lives lost in avoidable lethal action.  The chief minister may rest assured that Sopore is not the last that has been heard of custodial killings and fake encounters in Kashmir (Poonch, incidentally, happened just 10 days later).  Such incidents will continue until a drastic purge of the police and the military, which may not be forthcoming anytime soon,

Human rights violations in Kashmir will not stop without removing the military. The military cannot be removed without surgically rupturing India’s will to power over Kashmir.