Remembering the old and vibrant days of student politics in Kashmir University, Noor Ahmed Baba, professor of political science at the Central University of Kashmir, said the growing resentment in Kashmir is the reflection of the absence of any forum for discussion and debate. More than 60 Kashmiri students were injured after they clashed with the police and the paramilitary forces in April 2017.
Last year, Burhan Wani, commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a militant organisation, was shot dead by the security forces. Soon after, there was an uprising of people, as around 50,000 people came to bid farewell to their militant leader in Tral, where ‘anti-India’ slogans were raised alongside people pledging their allegiance to azaadi.
There has been a spurt in the number of Kashmiri youth taking to militancy, from 66 in 2015, to around 88 in 2016, which forces us to ask what has gone wrong in Kashmir. Why have the people refuted the idea of a democracy? With an abysmally low voter turnout of 7.14% in the byelections held in Srinagar. Tareq Hameed Qarra resigned from the People’s Democratic Party in protest against the governing PDP-BJP coalition of curbing the dissent. He later joined the Congress and campaigned for Farooq Abdullah, leader of the National Conference, which is in alliance with Congress. Abdullah won the seat in Srinagar with a margin of more than 10,000 votes.
Tassaduq Mufti, the brother of chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who was to represent PDP from Anantanag Seat, as his sister Mehbooba Mufti to become the CM of state vacate the seat, soon after the reports of 8 people been killed by paramilitary forces during a protest which emerged outside the Budgam poll booth, wrote an letter to Election Commission, to postpone the byelection, as the condition was not apt to conduct elections, to which Election commission at first postponed it to 25th May, but due to increasing protest has to delayed it indefinitely.
As reported by The Wire, around 1200 people were injured last year in the valley, because of the use of Pellet Guns from paramilitary forces. A pellet is a non-spherical projectile designed to be fired from an air gun. Air gun pellets differ from bullets and shot used in firearms because of the pressures encountered. Even the Inspector General of J&K Police has admitted that Pellets doesn’t follow the trajectory. Supreme court, in its recent order has said that Pellets would only be used in extreme cases. But, soon after the Judgement, as reported by Indian Express, Ministry of Home Affairs, have authorized 4,949 pellets to be deployed to the valley for CRPF Rapid Action Team, taking the whole number to 5,589. This number alongside with CRPF Director, K Durga Prasad’s statement of introducing the newly modified pellet guns with an accuracy of 90% in the valley, has created disturbances, as Jammu and Kashmir Pellet Victims Association, a recently formed organization, seeking justice for the death of around 100 people in the valley, has showed its resentment against the decision of Government, for replacing PAVA Shells again with Pellets. Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, usually says that “Kashmir is the war zone and casualty do take place in war zone”, should take lessons from U.N Peace keeping forces which uses Condor rubber bullets, which is less lethal when compare with pellet guns.
Last year, Yashwant Sinha, along with a group of concerned citizens visit the valley, and tabled its report in which he resents the regressive methodologies employed by the central Government to curb the dissent in the valley, and has suggested a “Dialogue” to pacify the Kashmir conflict. This was also suggested by A C Dulat, a former RAW Chief and author of “Kashmir in Vajpayee Times”, in his report “Kashmir issue: Unrest and a pathway for peace”, where he argued that the regressive methodologies used by Armed Forces has disturbed the area further, and Mr Dulat, soon after Demonetization was launched with a rhetoric of curbing the Terrorism, said, “There is a connect between terror and counterfeit currency, but it’s exaggerated. Stopping the growth of indigenous militants is more important than the counterfeit currency issue”, but the current incumbent Government both in Kashmir and central seems not to hear, what the intellectuals, politicians, former intelligence officers are trying to pitchfork.
Recently, as per the World Press Freedom index, India stood at 136th rank out of 180 countries, this index is published by the organization of Reporters without Borders, which cited the growing Hindu Nationalism in the country, being the main reason for India’s lower rank. Last year, we saw that how, soon after post Burhan Wani’s death, when Kashmir Reader, a regional media organization, which was doing an exhaustive ground reporting in the valley, was labelled as “ant-national” and banned for three months. As per the Hoot, a watchdog of Media, around 31 times the internet was shut down in India last year. It clearly shows that how “Constitutional Liberalism”, is been suppressed in this country, which is in straight violation of Article 13(2) of the Indian Constitution.