The ordeal of Kashmir

Farooq Dar was tied up on a spare tyre at the front of an armoured jeep and driven through villages of Srinagar, after a severe beating. Indian soldiers claimed he had been pelting stones at their patrol and the ordeal of him, tied on a tyre, would scare off others from doing the same.

On 22 May, the Indian army announced an award for the officer who tied Dar to the jeep for ‘sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations.’ An Indian television even called the officer a hero for using Dar as a ‘human shield.’
Now in a recent surge of events, the Indian authorities imposed a curfew across most part of the valley and suspended mobile and telephone services ito suppress widespread protests after gunning down Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat – the successor of Burhan Wani – and his 16-year-old associate.

The recent unrest in Kashmir has been of a different kind from the insurgency of 1990s and 2000s. India has made the problem quite complex by refusing to differentiate between the new type of demonstrator and the usual guerrillas. It has responded to protests with extreme violence. Last year security forces dispersed wild crowds by firing shotguns at them, blinding or killing several people. Recently, they have abstained from using such weapons, but they have revived aggressive searches of a kind not seen since the height of the Kashmir insurgency, 15 years ago.

Those who throw stones at soldiers, often in response to aggression by the army, are routinely described as ‘militants’. Indian media report, with weak evidence, that Pakistan pays protesters 500 rupees per projectile hurled.

Since when calls for independence is synonymous to violence?

With more than 500,000 security personnel deployed across Kashmir it is highly likely that the current turmoil will now prevail, for quite some time. A lot is being lost, in the paradise on earth.

But mostly, emotionally, it seems, little remains to be saved!

0530 hours
Monday 29 May 2017