With bloom of Tulips fell the blood on soil
Khalid Bin Bashir
A week ago, Kashmir was bustling; Tulip garden was opened for visitors. People in large numbers, both locals and non-locals, were seen at Tulip garden enjoying. For those who do not know, tulip garden is situated at the foot of mighty Zabarwan Hills and one side of it is washed by the famous Dal Lake. Tulips of various colours and sizes mesmerize the visitors.
But on Sunday, 1st April 2018, Kashmir woke up to see a new phase of mayhem and bloodshed. Encounters throughout the night along with protests that followed left 13 militants, 4 civilians and 3 Indian Army Personnel dead. Hundreds were injured; many among them hit by pellets in eyes and may even lose their eyesight.
Eventually, photos of tulips on social media sites were replaced by those of dead bodies, injured, people with eyes pierced by pellets, burning houses (encounter sites) and protests. Meanwhile the studios of New Delhi based news-channels were in a celebratory mode. These channels were doing the job in which they are best—romanticizing state violence.
It is important to note that all 13 militants killed were Kashmiri youth—most in twenties and a few teenagers. While people sitting in Delhi were celebrating their deaths, Kashmir was in the state of mourning and many called the Sunday as a “black day”. There was a time; a few years ago—when people used to run away from encounter sites for their lives. Today, the opposite is happening, people run towards encounter sites—to help militants break the siege without caring for their lives.
Students on thursday reacted to these killings, by boycotting classes and staged protest demonstrations. Indian forces obstructed processions of students at many places which resulted in violent engagements. Protests were reported from Kashmir University and all other major colleges of the valley. Students have taken the front seat in all the recent uprisings against Indian rule. They are eager to change the status-quo.
Government of India (GOI) has consistently followed the policy of using brute force to stifle dissent and caging of political dissidents. This all has failed as there are more youth picking up arms. UN chief called for a “need of investigation in civilian killings”. Half-hearted attempts to initiate dialogue, by appointing a former IB man could not melt the ice. Earlier government had appointed interlocutors to talk with all “stakeholders”. They gave their reports to Indian Government with many recommendations, though nothing has ever materialized.
Kashmir has a long history of the struggle for its freedom. Kashmir has been ruled by Mughals, Afghans and Dogras. It was always a separate nation—culturally, politically and religiously. It amuses people here when people alien to Kashmir and its history: call it “ours”. Surprisingly, people have not cared about ruler being Kashmiri or Non-Kashmiri as long as they proved to be good and just. As Prem Nath Bazaz has written in his book Struggle of Freedom in Kashmir, “For that reason, when capable leaders were not forthcoming in their motherland, the people invited strong and noble-minded men from outside to rule over them and then they owned them as their kings.”
Many think this violence at the cusp of summer may escalate up further and engulf whole tourism season. While “peace” here is called as a period of time “between two deaths”, but for how long will it continue. Last year (2017), according to JKCCS (Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society), there were 451 killings in Kashmir- which include 125 Armed Forces, 217 Militants and 108 Civilians. Human rights can not be subjected to terms and conditions. Question is not whether India can control Kashmir or not, the question is whether it has a sense of propriety about the governed being content with their actions.
While Indian Generals are worried about its inadequate budget — to get ready for two and a half wars, resolution of Kashmir can end probability of one and a half war immediately. However, situation in Kashmir is changing—hopes of any result-oriented dialogue are dimming.
India may continue its militaristic approach but at its own peril.
Author is a blogger, tweets @khalidbinbashir.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.