Kashmir: After 2016 Uprising
Terms like Kashmir Conflict, Kashmir Issue are not new but exist right from the day when Instrument Of Accession was signed. Since then there have been series of changes in political scenario however, the dimensions and contours of this issue have not gone through any transformation.
After India succeeded in containing strife and restoring normalcy after 1990 turbulence through military might, it was beyond their imagination that Kashmir would again erupt and will shake not only India but entire world and behind this would be a 22 year old rebel Burhan Muzaffar Wani. The young face of Kashmir Struggle whose name echoed in highest international forum’s General Assembly and who animated people of Kashmir to rise again for their rights promised to them i.e., Right to Self-determination, provided impetus to armed struggle that was believed to have died down. World witnessed the development that took place in Kashmir after his death .Uprising that emanated from his death vanished the memories of horrendous 1990 rebellion and provided new life and direction to the movement. Kashmir was put under siege for months,more than hundred were killed and thousands detained, protestors were fired with pellets which maimed and blinded hundreds of youth, with aim to vanish their spirit for freedom and attempt to muzzle every voice of dissent. But year passed by, there has not been any good news for India that could have evolved from Kashmir after use of such brute force,rather Kashmir movement adopted new shape seeming more powerful than previous uprisings. Anti-India protests have become norm with youth showing interest in armed struggle again , have started taking to guns and there has been quite rise in militancy since departure of Burhan Wani and most importantly students started taking part in resistance movement. From April 2017 the schools ,colleges were closed for most period of time .There has been 8 working days in month of may in these institutions ,not because resistance leaders had called for boycott of schools but because of fear of student protests and Government’s incapability to tackle these protests .
Moreover, after Burhan Wani’s death, Kashmiris have acquired guts to face Indian intellectuals and think tanks more bravely than past. Negating integral part theory was considered blasphemy and was believed to cost life imprisonment or death sentence however there has been complete change in narrative. Boldness and articulation of state intellectuals and politicians have been overwhelming contrarily to past when Kashmiri panelists used to hide the facts on appearing on TV screen . If credit for this shift would be given to Burhan Wani, it is justifiable.
One more change in mindset of Kashmiris and biggest challenge for India that it has posed are violent protests at encounter sites. Yes, nerves of fear have got desensitized to such an extent whenever encounter takes place between militants and army, people storm encounter sites to protect militants fearlessly out of their love for militants. Despite Army Chief openly intimidated “That anyone interfering in encounter would be treated OGW and punished like militants’ but unexpectedly it had almost no impact, conversely there has been escalation in protests on encounter sites. Almost in every encounter, civilians are either killed or rendered wounded before facing militants and this has completely punctured the balloon of Indian idea that Kashmiri militants are terrorists .Yes, for them they may be but for masses they are no less than heroes, fitting the saying : Someone’s terrorist is another one’s Hero.
Furthermore after killing of Hizb Commander, influence of separatist leadership also seems to be fading with every passing day; people no more wait for strike calls and calendars ,they observe shut down, come to streets to mark protest on their own. Recently Separatists were raided and alleged of scams but common masses were unmoved, there was no break in expression of resentment. This is indication that the movement has been become purely people’s movement and not of trio as was it treated. This is considered as major shift in movement of Kashmir.
In nutshell, it is evident from Kashmir Struggle that has entered into fourth generation that the Kashmir Issue can neither be brushed off nor it can be put to backburner .Neither people of Kashmir can be repressed nor subjugated from now for longer time. Moreover, bloodshed, killing of Burhan Wani and his ilk is not treatment to this pestering soar. Had it been solution, Kashmir would not have erupted more violently and bravely than past after witnessing blood of its people flowing down the roads, chastity of its women being assaulted and its men and women losing their sons and daughters. Had imposition of black laws, use of lethal weapons and coercive arm its solution, presently it would not have been issue at all and may have eliminated years back but nothing like that happened. India must understand the fact that once a problem can always prove problem if not addressed on time .Time and again, Kashmir demands India to shun ego and grant it opportunity to decide its fate, that is the only solution to this seven decade long issue .