The valley of Kashmir which was once a single state, has now been divided into three parts with different countries owning a part of it. Once a place of peace, it has now turned into a state of violence.
The history of violence in Kashmir since 1947 stems from its demand of a ‘free and independent Kashmir’ – not belonging either to India or Pakistan; this demand still remains the same.The violence used by both the countries of Pakistan and India for making it a part of their respective countries has lead to innumerable deaths. The guerilla attacks by the Pakistani government in collaboration with the local tribes lead to a huge number of deaths, rapes, looting. The Indian government used this situation to sign the Treaty of Accession by sending in troops till the treaty was signed. The signing of this treaty lead to Kashmir becoming a part of India.
Violence has always been a ‘part’ of Kashmir for decades. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was established in Kashmir in 1990. AFSPA grants the army, central police forces, and state police personnel in certain ‘disturbed areas’ certain special powers which includes the rights to shoot to kill, to raid, and to destroy any property that may be used by insurgents even on the merest suspicion.
There’s also the Public Safety Act (PSA), which provides for the arrest and jailing of a person without trial for two years, on the merest suspicion that he/she may disrupt law and order in the state or may act in a manner prejudicial to the security of the state.
India’s governance of Kashmir has always been against the will of the people. There have been deaths of around 47000 people, which does not include people who have disappeared due to the conflict. According to the CNN, some human rights groups and non-governmental organisations put the death toll at twice that amount.The recent death of Burhan Wani, a Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant, saw a huge outcry with around two lakh or more people attending the funeral which ultimately lead to unrest nearly for five months.
Some accounts have stated that police in Indian-administered Kashmir say at least 30 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces following the shooting of Burhan Wani. The use of pellet bullets and tear gas, even though considered to be ‘non-lethal’ weapons by the army personnel, has caused injuries to many – causing physical impairment and leading to partial or full blindness of many people.
The people of Kashmir who have always been dissatisfied with the government has demanded independence because of the atrocities caused by the government by allowing AFSPA to still be imposed upon the state. The formation of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen to protest against the atrocities by the government, and the continued stone-pelting clearly shows an unhappiness among the people. Pakistan’s sending in of terrorists across the border to cause violence and the Indian Government’s unsuccessful way of tackling the situation has caused more harm to the residents of the Kashmir rather than the militants. The burning down of around 27 schools leading to disruption in the education of the children in Kashmir, the month-long strikes, curfews by the army, the blocking of the Internet and the lack of mobility – all these have caused a deep sense of ‘anti-India’ emotion in the state of Kashmir, leading to their continued demand of a ‘separate state’ altogether.
Image Source: Kashmir Global/Flickr