- Liberty: Kashmiri people’s inevitable destiny
Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Palestine and Indian-occupied Kashmir are painful reminders of weakness and divisiveness plaguing the entire Muslim world. They reflect leadership ineptness, which greatly facilitates geo-political duelling on their soil, the survival of unresolved colonial-era disputes and imposed imperialist treaties, and expose callous disregard of self-proclaimed western custodian of human rights. The US, India and Israel comprise the Muslim worlds’ triumvirate of torturers nowadays, setting depths of brutality that rival the medieval world, but with the tools of modern technology at their command.
Unfortunately, while Kashmir burns and Srinagar is turned into a valley of death on almost daily basis by raging Indian security forces, using live ammunition and pellet guns to kill, blind and maim innocent civilians, including infants and teens, the world observes a studied or deafening silence. On Saturday, in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, the death toll was seven civilians with dozens injured, as firing was deliberately aimed directly into the crowd instead of warning shots in the air, taking the overall fatal casualty total to well over 500 this year, including 146 civilians, and making 2018 the bloodiest year of the homegrown separatist movement since 2008. In its hubris, the Indian government sticks unashamedly to its convenient but self-deceiving refrain of ‘Pakistan-terrorist-separatist’, ‘Pak-sponsored proxies’ and ‘misleading anti-national forces’, instead of acknowledging the reality of Kashmiri people’s irreversible will and intense yearning for freedom, that simply cannot be killed with a gun but grow stronger from day to day. On Monday, a total strike call and peaceful march on Indian Chinar Corps headquarters in Srinagar made by the Joint Resistance Leadership was met by arrest of its three top leaders, tear-gassing of protestors and suspension of Srinagar’s mobile internet service. But despite Arctic weather conditions, the charged up people still marched. The UN has to step in to halt the daily massacres by itself or intensify Kashmir dispute resolution through intermediaries like Kjell Magne Bondevik, Norway’s former prime minister who was allowed to visit Srinagar in November 2018 and met the Hurriyet leadership. The Pakistan government too has now adopted a more vocal and proactive stance, realising that the present dangerous impasse is untenable and unsustainable.