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UNREST IN KASHMIR

Kashmir has been in extreme dispute and tension for 11 days now, after Burhan Wani, 22, died in a gunfight with the Indian army on Friday. The violence is the worst seen in the region for years.

From the General viewpoint:
The killing of Burhan Wani evoked considerable misplaced sympathy and he was described in the media as a rebel, or even a national leader. Wani’s goal  was to  “unfurl the flag of Islam on Delhi’s Red Fort” and he called for Kashmiris to wage “holy war”. How does the Indian State compromise with this creed and how does any Indian ever think of Wani to be anything other than a terrorist?

Many have overlooked that over the past few years, there has been an intense effort at radicalization in Kashmir. Money has been flowing in for Salafi Madrasas, and there has been no accountability for this. There are only a few analysts who have the moral courage to write about this. Most usually become evasive, go into denial, or level counter-allegations. The Indian State must show consistency in its essential stand. If the Hurriyat (alliance justifying Pakistani claim) is unacceptable as a representative of the people, why is it allowed facilities normally available to loyal Indians? In fact, it gets more worse as it repays by being hostile to the Indian State.

Most of us, in India and in the West, have been unwilling to describe the current threat in unambiguous terms. This threat is from radical, violent and narrowly interpreted Islam by some, which, even moderate Muslims do not support. A solution will work only if the problem is correctly identified. Instead of giving the latter support, the moderates are usually abandoned and left at the mercy of the radicals because other interests prevail. Naturally, they seek compromises for their survival.

In Kashmir at present while 1500 are reported to be injured after the clashes between pro separists protestors and police, there is a recent coverage reporting more than 40 deaths in the region. Mostly aged between 16-28 years.

From the viewpoint of the people of Kashmir:
India has been communicating to Kashmiris through rigged elections, dismissal of elected governments, through encounters and corruption. They also say India has become synonymous with a military bunker or a police vehicle or a ranting panelist on prime time television. Is this the idea of India which can win Kashmiri hearts? Accepting what India and its symbols stand for in the eyes of a Kashmiri is the first step towards untangling this Gordian knot.

As a confluence of Indo-Islamic experience, Kashmir needs a mix of honesty, truth and directness. Communication that divides will only hurt India’s case further. The Indian state is now supposed to communicate with it’s people through accommodation and welfare. Any action otherwise would only lead to further chaos and mis-interpretations.

 

Shreya

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