Killing the Kashmiri Resistence

Killing the Kashmiri Resistance

Violence erupted once again in the Kashmir valley as the Indian forces clashed with protestors after the killing of another popular militant leader, Sabzar Ahmed Bhat. The episode mirrors the killing of Burhan Wani – reportedly a close friend of Bhat – that sparked a wave of unrest that has persisted until now. If past events are any indication, the valley is in for another period of extended unrest.

It seems India has not learned from its mistakes in its occupation of Kashmir. The policy of repression and humiliation of the Kashmiri people is only creating more antagonism. In its efforts to delegitimise the Kashmiri cause by conflating it with terrorism and blaming all unrest on Pakistani interference, the Indian administration has blinded itself to the sentiments of the Kashmiri people.

Burhan Wani and Sabzar Ahmed Bhat were surely armed militants, but they were not the product of the global jihad network nor affiliated with any terror groups as India makes them out to be – they were the product of decades of Indian repression. This is why the individuals like them, who resist against the Indian Army, are so popular among the Kashmiri people. They are not seen as a violent byproduct of Middle Eastern conflicts by the Kashmiri, but an extension of the Kashmiri struggle.

Not understanding this fact, or perhaps willfully refusing to understand it, has led to India’s continued failure in the valley. Its brutal mechanisms for crowd control, continued violations of human rights laws, and the treatment of Kashmiris as lesser citizens, only exacerbates this.

Killing Kashmiri militants and beating back protests will not sweep the Kashmir issue under the rug – it will only escalate the problem as the past months have shown. Only by holding an open discussion on the issue with all stakeholders as equals will the Indian government be able to stop the chants of “go India go”.

The Nation Editorial