‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ was observed in Pakistan and other parts of the world to highlight the Kashmiris’ struggle for freedom. With time India has become more tyrannical and unleashed a reign of terror in Occupied Kashmir.
Hundreds of Kashmiri men, women and children confronting the might of Indian army, paramilitaries, and police have been killed in recent months. Many have been blinded by the use of pellet guns, and countless others arrested and subjected to extreme torture. Since the present phase of the uprising against Indian rule erupted in 1989, an estimated one hundred thousand Kashmiris have lost their lives. International as well as India’s own human rights organizations have been expressing deep concern over custodial killings, use of rape as a weapon of war, discovery of mass graves, and house demolitions.
India blames Pakistan for Kashmir trouble, but it is an open fact that the Kashmiri uprising is as an essentially indigenous movement. Pakistan only extends political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmir. A new generation of Kashmiris has now taken over the independence struggle. The present wave of protests was triggered by the July 2016 killing at the hands of Indian security forces of a young resistance leader, Burhan Wani. Those killed are replaced by new fighters immediately. Among other things, the Sinha report called for starting “at the earliest” multi-dimensional talks, that should include the Hurriyat, also urging improvement in the human rights situation. Former BJP prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had also started a process of three-way talks, ie, between Kashmiris and New Delhi, Pakistan and India, and Kashmiri leaders on either side of the LoC, leading to significant progress. Unfortunately, the process did not come to a conclusion due to many complicating factors. At present, even pro-India leaders in the Occupied Kashmir, including the current chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and the previous two CMs, Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, have been calling for a dialogue with Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
But the Indian government remains adamant. The Modi government has proved to be more intransigent than previous Delhi administrations. A few months ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed a single-member commission to see what could be done to deal with the situation. The ‘commission’ did not bother to meet with any of the Hurriyat leaders, or to come up with its report, which if it exists is known only to Modi. Needless to say, bloody repression may succeed for some time, but ultimately freedom will be won. The Kashmiri people have made it amply plain that they are not going to give up their fight for freedom. Whatever India may do, the Kashmir freedom movement will not die down. There is still time for New Delhi to see reason and open talks with Pakistan under UN auspices for an honorable settlement of the long festering dispute.