The surge in unrest in Indian Occupied Kashmir is embedded in decades of violence, suppression and discrimination against the Kashmiri people. Insurgency in Kashmir, which once was ascribed to connections across the border has changed into a homegrown movement for liberation, at the frontline of which are the new generation of Kashmiri youth; educated and enlightened. These young liberators are challenging the military might of the Indian establishment and their struggle is gathering popular support from within, which has had a demoralizing impact on the Indian security forces, who despite awesome presence in the region have not been able to weaken the will of the Kashmiris for freedom. According to the UN, the ‘excessive use of force, unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, sexual violence, detention of families and children, as well as enforced disappearances’ is tantamount to a gross and consistent violation of human rights. For many years now, India’s increasingly strong-arm, brutal tactics in IOK have alienated the local population who has had no need of outside help to vent their anger and frustration. After Pulwama attack even before the forensic evaluation of the scene of the crime was completed, the Indian Government embarked on a diplomatic and economic offensive against Pakistan. Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi was summoned to the Indian Foreign Office and the ambassadors of foreign countries were briefed on the attack and on Pakistan’s alleged role by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. New Delhi also revoked Pakistan’s MFN status and pledged to launch an all-out effort to isolate Pakistan, an effort that has already been initiated by the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, who on February 16, 2019, declared that custom duties on all imports from Pakistan would be raised to 200 percent. All evidence suggests that by resorting to hardline policies in Kashmir, India has failed to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Kashmiri people. Against such a backdrop, pointing a finger at Pakistan for bloodshed and violence in Kashmir is both despicable and ridiculous. Although Pakistan has vowed political, moral and diplomatic support for the Kashmiris, successive governments have at least attempted to reach out to India several times to engage in talks, but there has been no reciprocal gesture from Delhi, which has more often than not jumped to its own conclusions. The fact remains that until Delhi backs down from its militarized approach to the Kashmir issue, the violence will continue. Brutality will only beget more violence. It is only through the path of negotiations involving Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris that the stand-off can be resolved. But for that India will have to shed its rigidity and recognize that Kashmir is indeed a disputed territory, a reality the international community affirms.
India will have to shed its rigidity and recognize that Kashmir is indeed a disputed territory, a reality the international community affirms.