Excesses in Kashmir

AN Indian rights group — the Concerned Citizens Collective — that includes individuals known for taking a position on the most dangerous issues in their country, came up with a strong statement on India-held Kashmir. Coming at the end of a four-day probe, during which group members met some 150 people of various ages and from all walks of life living in the troubled area, the statement read: “The high proportion of injuries on the face and above the waist demonstrate that there is official intention to shower hundreds of pellets on the agitated population, not to disperse but to kill or permanently disable it.” The group has demanded a ban on pellet guns, that have been decried globally but that still continue to be allowed by the Modi government bent on demonstrating its belligerence in defiance of all good sense and against historical evidence. This not only puts the administration in New Delhi among the ranks of the most oppressive governments anywhere, it also gives it some additional points for blatantly wanting to perpetrate its excesses in the most crude of ways.

The images from IHK are heartbreaking. Not a week passes without some part of the valley reporting some grave violation of the rights of the people and of the conventions and traditions that form the basis of interaction among human beings. The pictures, stories and indictments by local and foreign rights activists that escape the captive territory are piling up fast. They are all directed at a BJP set-up that has for several months now been determined to resort to violence to cripple a people and to end a popular movement. Unfortunately, New Delhi’s rage does not allow it to see the writing on the wall. It is clear that its tactics are only adding to the courage and commitment of the Kashmiris who are keen on extending and expanding the latest spell in their struggle for freedom that, at the end of the day, can only hurt the Modi government itself.

 Dawn, December 19th, 2016