In cold blood


Indian military’s barbarity against Kashmiris


History in all ages is unfortunately replete with instances of national leaders deliberately opting for extreme decisions that resulted in horrific consequences for their countries and societies, while disregarding sensible and realistic alternatives which were also available. The Indian leadership elected after general elections starting next month would stand at exactly such a crucial crossroads, especially with regard to ties with Pakistan and the bleeding Kashmir dispute, with the latter turning into a potential nuclear flashpoint, in the worst (or is it first?)-case scenario. The chauvinistic ruling BJP has built its vote-gathering narrative specifically on Pakistan-hatred, but sadder still is the growing plight of Muslims, both within India, and especially in occupied Kashmir, where ruthless measures are employed against Kashmiris demanding their UN-pledged right of self-determination. A reign of terror has been let loose on the helpless, insecure inhabitants of that region. Rampaging Indian forces, secure in their monstrous practices under the umbrella of draconian laws, have burst all bulwarks of inhumanity, but the big world powers see and hear no evil, as evidenced by their deafening silence on well-documented crimes committed daily against ordinary Kashmiris, irrespective of age or gender, under ‘security’ and ‘separatist’ labels

Though thousands of innocents have been slaughtered since the indigenous uprising against Indian rule began in the 1980s (six since Wednesday alone), some tragic incidents prick the normally dormant conscience and drive previously peaceful individuals to the path of militancy. The killing of the 21-year-old Burhan Wani in July 2016 struck such a chord, pitching educated persons such as sociology professor Mohammad Rafi Bhat (also later killed in an armed encounter in 2017) with otherwise bright career prospects into the freedom struggle; and the 29-year-old school principal Rizwan Asad’s death by brutal torture in police custody this week has triggered a similar widespread wave of anger and anguish in the valley. Deadly cordon and search operations, banning political parties and charging leaders with terrorism, attaching of their properties by the Enforcement Directorate and other desperate shenanigans, will not succeed when decades of ever-increasing Indian state terrorism failed to crush the Kashmiris’ iron resolve. It is time for the sole remaining remedy, trilateral talks, taking the Kashmiri people’s wishes into account.