The Indian state of Kashmir is popularly described as “heaven on earth”, it is beautiful, but there is in an insurgent war since seven decades.

Those fighting are “freedom fighters” was some, “terrorists” for others.

Now more violence erupted again since July 2016.

  • Kashmir became part of India 70 years ago, but the many inhabitants still want more independence from New Delhi and some even join Islamic Pakistan. 
  • India and Pakistan hold separate parts of it and have fought two wars, in 1947 and 1965. They came close to a third war in 1999.
  • Both countries have nuclear weapons.
  • Now the Indian army even attacked position of the Islamic terrorists in Pakistan, after terrorists killed Indian soldiers there.
  • GLOBALO was told by an Indian 3-star-general, the former commander of the Indian Corps in Kashmir: ” We from the Indian army would like to make peace in Kashmir and start a true reconciliation process, but sometimes wrong Indian nationalistic policies push the people into the hand of the extremists. We need both, security and reconciliation.”
  • Indian security forces have had to dispel protesting civilians with tear gas and pellet guns – which is a non lethal form of bullets but is leaving several people with irreversible eye and body damage. 

What is the cause behind this unrest? Why is the Indian Army pitted against Kashmiri youth?

Here’s what Kashmir looks like, in peaceful times:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/s_agrawal/13620037684/in/photolist-mKyfFW-dpw1kk-2Voxvb-AYryM4-GREQQF-7ijczd-GTxM2F-GU3PWk-7ijd8N-GR41Yu-FY8sxv-FYyqfA-GKLWus-FYvJAE-GKhnio-4XGzHv-62ce5N-62814i-GN6LFP-GU3azv-FYCxFZ-GQwHm5-GU3EFr-GN6Zhv-GU3eBi-GKhgEu-FYxZgN-GtXz1N-FYDvXX-GHnkY1-cwHpUG-GKJDgx-FY6Cak-FWckxJ-GKKEGY-GtuCQL-GKG84y-GtutLy-FWaxvA-FY678M-FYxb41-FY6uij-GKiyUY-GKJkgA-GN5mQK-FYyRXX-FW9SJh-7ijcD9-GsjFPs-FYufBf

The Tsomoriri, Jammu & Kashmir, India. Credit: Saurabh Agarwal/flickr

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kashmir-pictures/8748609098/in/photolist-ek5UFU-57Var7-ehn8nC-9S2Yx2-9hwBpd-cFGxoN-hE5oza-ax222V-8aeoQP-9MBV5x-egztQU-DZZM7-ehWQSq-dW6Q1S-cDWWYS-dsNcnN-fUNNp1-o4pFXx-4jCWpM-52m1Rd-pMoTZd-5ehkYz-6uoHbx-5ehk1T-6YkX4q-e12xwF-d5ghH1-bWAQsS-AYryM4-BCSVHg-BwWjS6-GU4Uye-ooZqpu-5ehmop-5ehksn-8v6H91-5ehkJp-5ehmFc-5ehmbp-6Xr3cD-5ehmSR-4F1bUA-7LGW9v-i3Vhr8-4HVekN-q2CSiw-pF4BZF-4KM8G2-JtkNhf-Hw1qfq

A Beautiful, Green Valley Near Kangan, Kashmir. Credit: Kashmir Pictures/flickr

What has caused the conflict in Kashmir then?

The encounter of Burhan Wani, who was killed by the Indian Army on July 8, 2016. He was the commander of Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, and had a large social media following amongst Kashmiri youth.

He aimed to fight against soldiers of the Indian Army, claiming that they wronged the Kashmiri people.

Ironically, though declared as a terrorist, his funeral was attended by over 200,000 people. This is because, Kashmiri youth joining militancy is a growing problem for India – as the fighters want Kashmir to be freed from India.

Here’s a video which explains the issue of militancy in Kashmir and why youth were fascinated with Burhan Wani, and why a terrorist became their hero.:

(Courtesy: Hindustan Times)

https://youtube.com/watch?v=C_z4-8NqPbQ%2520frameborder%3D0%2520allowfullscreen

It is clear that India has some serious issues to resolve with the youth of Kashmir – and the use of violence by both parties will eventually lead to no result.

However, the issue of Kashmir being freed is indeed a delicate one, as it is what India’s arch rival Pakistan has always wanted since India’s independence from the British in 1947. Letting go of Kashmir would mean handing it over to Pakistan, which is a highly controversial issue.

However, we hope no more young civilians are injured or killed as a result of controlling the Kashmir protests. May peace prevail again in Kashmir. May it become the heaven that it always has been.

A fresh reconciliation policy is needed.

Featured image credit: Saktishree DM/flickr