- India needs to realise that violence isn’t working
A story about pacific Kashmiris reflects how timid they had been. A Kashmiri youth joined army but never fired a shot. Asked by a Punjabi Sikh (assumed to be scion of a martial race) what he would do with his rifle, he replied he would put in the sun and “tapsi tey t-hus karsi.” (when it heats, it will automatically fire).
Humiliation of Kashmiris motivates them to become human missiles. The first car bomb exploded at Army Corps headquarters at Badami Bagh Gate in 2000, the second car bomb exploded the same year at the state assembly, the third in 2004 on a bus of the Army in Pattan, Kashmir.
The Pulwama Fedayeen, a schoolboy, was forced to rub his nose on ground by a soldier. Roads were blocked to prevent mourners from attending his funeral. Even dead bodies of stone-throwers are mutilated, paraded unzipped in body-packs, and photographed by way of memorabilia. Renowned writer Barkha Dutt reminisced about a sensible local police officer’s directive: `Bodies of those killed in encounters were to be properly zipped in covers and not paraded. At post-mortems of killed terrorists, no photographs were to be taken or distributed.’
‘Credit’ goes to reign of terror by the 780,000 Indian forces for punishing Kashmiri stone pelters with live bullets or pellets that blinded them William Lukens, Bluemont (USA) clarified in The Washington Post “To most Americans, a pellet gun is an air-powered pistol or rifle firing a single pellet. It is rarely able to kill or even wound a person hit with the pellet.
As used by Indian police, “pellet gun” is a 12-gauge shotgun using shells that contain dozens of pellets propelled by gunpowder. There is a huge difference. When Americans read “pellet gun,” they think of “you’ll shoot your eye out.”
Even girls and babies in laps are not spared. Most of the pellets, fired from a high-velocity pump-action guns (outlawed by Amnesty International) hit above chest, usually face. India’s chief of defence staff (ex-COAS), Gen Bipen Rawat, himself a general’s son, has so far displayed a fight-or-flight response to insurgency rooted in Kashmiris’ multifaceted deprivation.
Just recall he awarded a commendation certificate to Major Leetul Gogoi who drove his jeep with a Kashmiri protester, tied to its bonnet. Gogoi was later caught red handed with an 18-year-old girl in a Srinagar hotel. General Rawat let the offender off the hook by charging him with the mild charge of ‘fraternization with a woman’. He is a misogynist who publicly declared women unfit for military service.
Let India realise it can’t stifle Kashmiris’ dissent. To stifle the Kashmiri’s fighting spirit, the Dogra (1846-1947) forbade even slingshots. Now the struggle for freedom goes on despite Indian forces’ reign of terror (abductions, custodial deaths, rapes, arson, and pellet shelling)
A Kashmiri newspaper reported that army mercilessly beats even peaceful Kashmiris ‘for not hoisting Indian flag on their cars, bikes and even bicycles’, `even for selling or buying a pencil battery for a radio or wall clock’ .The presumption is that `these batteries will be used in the wireless sets or bombs’.
Kashmir students and traders are attacked and looted in schools and colleges, at bus stops and in railway compartments throughout India. About 700 students, including girls, fled to the Valley. Even holders of PM Modi’s merit-based competitive scholarships had to rush back to the Valley for safety.
Some retired generals and RAW’s former chief A.S. Daulat cautioned Modi against the brutal use of force. While India blames Pakistan for her Kashmir troubles, it is pertinent to recall what India’s former defence minister George Fernandes said about Kashmir.
“I do not believe that any foreign hand engineered the Kashmir problem. The problem was created by us, and if others decided to take advantage of it, I do not believe that one should make that an issue; given the nature of the politics of our subcontinent, such a development was inevitable.’
India stayed united while Pakistan broke apart for lack of resilience and political myopia. At the time of partition, India was embroiled in many virulent insurgencies: Dravidian South Movement, seven angry sisters of North East, Khalistan movement. India overcame the insurgencies through talks with Laldenga, Master Tara Singh, Dr. Phizo and others. It accepted demand for creation of new states. Gradually the incendiary states merged into Indian Union. But India stands alienated in Kashmir.
Lest India breaks up into `a congeries of states’ (Sir John Winthrop Hackett, The Third World War), it should free Kashmiris before next war with Pakistan.
Let India realise it can’t stifle Kashmiris’ dissent. To stifle the Kashmiri’s fighting spirit, the Dogra (1846-1947) punished even Kashmiri children who played with slingshots and stones. The struggle for freedom goes on despite Indian forces’ reign of terror (abductions, custodial deaths, rapes, arson, and pellet shelling). `The Security Council should make clear that it opposes Modi’s brutal tightening of India’s control on Kashmir.
An immutable lesson of history is that Kashmiris never reconciled with foreign rule. If they could no longer fight an invader with arms, they pelted stones on invaders (Moghal). The stone throwers were called dilawars, and the Moghal, were addressed as shikas mogle. This Kashmiri-language expression, akin to French C’est dommage (it’s too bad), is spoken when something is lost. The Moghal were Muslim. Yet, the Kashmiris hated them. Shikas mogle affords a peek into the Kashmiri heart and mind. They cursed foreigners, be they be Muslim.
Kashmiris hate cheating and consider Akbar `the Great’ an epitome of treachery. Akbar invited Kashmir ruler Yusuf Chak (1579–1586) for talks. But, he treacherously imprisoned and killed him in Bihar state. Be it noted that Akbar had failed to subjugate Kashmir in his earlier two expeditions. After take-over, the Moghal lived in a walled nagri (city), later called Srinagar. The helpless Kashmir used to throw stones at the walled city to express their anguish. The general feeling of hatred, kashmiriat, was akin to what Ibn-e-Khuldoon calls asabiya (national cohesion). It ran across all sects (Shia-Sunni), religions, castes and creed.
Let India realise it can’t stifle Kashmiris’ dissent. To stifle the Kashmiri’s fighting spirit, the Dogra (1846-1947) forbade even slingshots. Now the struggle for freedom goes on despite Indian forces’ reign of terror (abductions, custodial deaths, rapes, arson, and pellet shelling). `The Security Council should make clear that it opposes Mr. Modi’s brutal tightening of India’s control on Kashmir. While Mr. Modi may think he can control this volatile conflict on his own, he almost certainly cannot’ (The New York Times, 2 October 2019). It is unfortunate that Indian courts fail to deliver justice to Kashmiri victims of state sponsored injustice.