Kashmir Has Been Facing Unrest For 69 Years, Why Do We Still Not Know How To Help?

Posted on April 25, 2016 in Society

By Anuvrat Dutta:

Kashmiri Shiite Muslims shout religious slogans as they take part in a protest against the ongoing conflict in Iraq, at Narbal, north of Srinagar June 20, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Ismail (INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3UTLR
Image credit: Reuters/Danish Ismail.

Every day, while entering the academic block of my college, I see our Preamble framed and hanging on the wall. This preamble claims to give us liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship. But, for the last few months, this freedom seems to have been hijacked by right-wing groups which claim to have a copyright on nationalism. Many incidents have taken place like the Dadri lynching, the HCU issue, the assault on a policeman by some right-wing fringe groups and most recently, the JNU issue.

What happened in JNU has been called as being unfortunate. But, instead of branding the whole University as ‘anti-national’, shouldn’t we try to find out the reason which led to this. The whole nation became outraged without even knowing the whole issue. For a whole month, news channels, newspapers, social networking sites, parliamentary processions, comments from politicians, etc., all had one thing and only one thing to talk about – JNU. After that, it appeared that whoever went on to say anything about the northernmost state of India or raised questions related to the problems faced by its people were depicted in a bad light, as if they were the ones who attacked the Parliament. This situation has raised an important question: Can’t we even discuss the problems faced by the people of our own country?

Kashmir, a place which Jehangir claimed to be heaven on earth, has become the biggest headache of the people living in the country and that includes Kashmiris also. Since 1947, Kashmir has been a place of turmoil and terror.

After Independence, Raja Hari Singh, the then King of Kashmir was given the option of signing the instrument of accession through which he could decide the fate of Kashmir by either joining India or Pakistan, or by being independent. The Raja chose independence for Kashmir and didn’t sign on the instrument of accession at first.

Seeing this, Jinnah, the then head of the newly formed Pakistan, allegedly sent tribals to wreak havoc in the land of Kashmir. The Raja asked for the help of the Indian government, but for the Indian government to intervene, Hari Singh had to sign the instrument of accession and accept the inclusion of Kashmir as a part of India. After getting the signature of the Raja on the letter, the government of India sent its troops to the valley and freed the state from the hands of the invaders. This ended up making Jammu and Kashmir a state within India. Furious, Jinnah refused to accept this and accused the Indian government of taking the valley by treason. To solve this matter both the governments took the matter to the UN which ordered a plebiscite in the valley.

Since then, unrest and bad governance have plagued the state. The state has fallen apart because of the tug of war between India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan have fought three wars and several minor conflicts have taken place since then. The problem in the state has grown day by day and it seems unlikely that it will stop. So, why is raising the question of Kashmir met with hostility?

Why should the people suffer due to the inefficiency and the ego of both the governments and their leaders? Why shouldn’t we come forward and support the cause of Kashmiris? It has been 69 years and still nobody seems to have a clue how to solve the Kashmir issue. Every year, many of our soldiers die just because our governments have not yet decided how to tackle this problem.

The other ‘problem’ is the problem of people in Kashmir. The hostility in the valley for the government and the country appears to have increased a lot and is increasing rapidly. The position of Hurriyat leaders, the separatists, seems to have improved and every now and then the raising of the Pakistani flag is reported. Why is this happening?

Other than the militants, one more issue that needs to be taken care of is the issue of crimes committed by the defence personnel in the valley. According to a report by WikiLeaks, Indian security forces were physically abusing detainees by beatings, electric shocks etc. These detainees weren’t Islamic insurgents or Pakistani-backed insurgents but civilians, in contrast to India’s continual allegations of Pakistani involvement. The detainees were “connected to or believed to have information about the insurgency”. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, 681 of the 1,296 detainees that it interviewed claimed torture. US officials have been quoted reporting, “terrorism investigations and court cases tend to rely upon confessions, many of which are obtained under duress if not beatings, threats, or in some cases torture”.

If the protectors start torturing people under their protection, then one would not be left with any other choice but to retaliate in a hostile manner.

So, what should one do? Should we just sit and wait till the whole country becomes a battleground or should we come out of the shell and discuss the matter in a peaceful way?