Bloodbath in Kashmir

We know that Kashmir has been brutalised through curfews and bullets for the last twenty days. Though this brutalisation and oppression has been continuing since Kashmir was divided and occupied by India and Pakistan in 1947, it has taken a pernicious form. The whole Kashmir is treated like a Nazi camp and the prisoners of the camp are branded as terrorists. They are governed by draconian laws like AFSPA and PSA which violate the very definition of human rights. This heinous juridical order encourages the military forces to shoot any Kashmiri and rape any Kashmiri women. In the last twenty days, 15 people have been killed mostly young boys, as young as 9,14, 15 and 17 years. These young boys were selectively targeted and shot from among lakhs of protesters who demand the demilitarization of Kashmir and political solution to the problem. The reason for the selective targeting of these young boys is that the Indian State tries to politicise their dead bodies and, thus, demonises the genuine voice of Kashmir. It is argued by the Indian state that these young boys are brainwashed and misused. Even the Home Minister of India, Mr. Chidambaram, without any regard to justice and truth, argued that Lashkar-e-Toiba is behind these protests. This rhetoric and dangerous discourse to link the democratic concerns of Kashmir to the global terrorism, is used to distort the whole history and culture of tolerance in Kashmir. The truth is that these young boys are not the only protesters on the streets. The whole Kashmir is protesting with stones and chanting the slogans of freedom and justice. A nine-year-old boy is killed not because he is misguided but because his parents and entire Kashmir is protesting. Otherwise the nine-year-old boy would not be allowed by the parents to go outside if they are not determined to protest. In a traditional society like Kashmir, traditional institutions like family are the major agents of social control.

These recent protests, where stones are answered by bullets and young boys are massacred, shall not be seen in isolation from the larger past and more importantly from the recent past. Kashmir had protested against the Dogra rule and has been protesting against the re-colonisation through division and deceit for the last sixty years. The United Nations resolutions and other legal and academic works clearly highlight the suppression of the genuine voice of Kashmir. But the recent past starting from Amarnath Land protest has purified and mystified the aspirations of Kashmir. More than sixty people were killed in that protest and hundreds injured. That protest was perhaps the longest in the world where people protested for more than a hundred days and the only reason was the hope that the Indian state will address our political grievances and aspirations. In response, the Indian state used brute force to suppress the protest. Then Shopian Rape Case emerged where Asiya and Neelofar were raped. Shopian protested for 67 days. At last, Indian Judiciary blamed the victims and the drowning theory was put forward. Every person on this earth knows that in ankle deep water no one gets drowned. This fact is known to the people of Shopian and Kashmir too. After months, bodies of Neelofar and Asiya were exhumed and it was said, ‘their hymen is intact. No rape’’. This brutal attack on the collective sensibility of Kashmir alienated Kashmir more. Violations of human rights continued in many cases like Wamik was shot while he was on his way to school and another was stoned and made to drown. Not to mention the cases of fake encounters which have continued to somehow reveal themselves from time to time. This deep anger and suffering is expressed by the people of Kashmir through protests and stones. The Indian state addresses it through bullets, teargases, and curfews. Such techniques used to massacre and imprison the whole population of Kashmir is a simple denial of the basic right of a human being to exist. Yesterday (8 July) a young lady among the four killed was said to be a victim of ‘’stray bullet’’. They don’t have the courage even to condemn such barbaric acts. The attitude of Indian state and civil society is best depicted in the lines of Agha Shahid Ali, a Kashmiri poet: ‘’They make a desolation and call it peace’’. It is our sincere attempt and an honest desire to request Indian civil society to protest against these human rights violations. It is high time for Indian state to demilitarize Kashmir and discard the draconian laws like AFSPA and engage the people of Kashmir in a political dialogue and address their political aspirations. (Kashmiri Students JNU - Javaid Rashid