Insurgency in kashmirKashmir, unlike many disputed areasin our world, did not fall prey to the clutches of bickering due to politicalconflict, socio economic distress, and other problems till recent years, fueledmostly by interests of a particular section of the society, which directlyaffected (and affect) generations of people.
An inquiry into the events thatturned an otherwise peaceful and tolerant valley into an area riddled withterrorism, insurgency, human rights violations, religious fundamentalism,politicization of religious identity and the solutions proposed by the educatedelite as to restore peace and harmony in what is considered widely as the”Switzerland in India”, is thus crucial.Through the course of time, Kashmirhas proved to be a trophy whose contestants are India and its neighbour,Pakistan, the former being the defending champions and the latter, ouropponents, a trophy based on the lines of geographical proximity, religiouscommonness, social and economic status of its population and the likes. Thestrategy adopted by Pakistan in order to win Kashmir is, needless to say,desperate and criticized by the masses. It has proved to be a threat to ournational security, by infuriating the Muslim majority population through itsagenda of politicization of religion, preaching about the vices of Indianoccupation in the erstwhile peaceful and religiously tolerant (secular) Kashmirvalley. This paper would also cover how Pakistan has been accused of being the”Ivy League” of countries sponsoring terrorism via its intelligence agency,known as the Inter-Services Intelligence, apart from how Kashmir has been tornapart due to foreign influences like the defeat of the Soviets in the hands ofthe Afghans, which demonstrated to the Kashmiris that superpowers could bedefeated.Kashmir was once a valley of peace,intellectual advancement comprising of religious and cultural diversity,evident from the blend of faiths like Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism, rangingfrom Jammu to the far off regions like Leh and Ladakh.
The insurgency, whichtook place in 1987, following the alleged rigging of that year’s State Electionwas the death blow to the existence of harmony in that region. It was followedby direct or indirect influence from our neighbor Pakistan, a country which hasalways longed for Kashmir, Afghanistan and the Saudi world. The insurgency hasnot ended till date, with a major uprising in violence and clashes followingthe assassination of a Kashmiri separatist outfit, Hizbul Mujahideen commander,Burhan Wani and the rising tensions between India and Pakistan in theaftermath. The sole instrument thathas kept Kashmir sidelined from Mainland India is the Article 370 of ourConstitution.
Just like Karl Marx in his “Das Kapital” has described the Stateto be a tool for oppression by the capitalists, Article 370 has graduallybecome an instrument by virtue of which powers have become concentrated in thehands of an elite oligarchy and how it is being counterattacked in the form ofthe rise of Islamic Fundamentalism. As of today, political analysts andcritiques have proposed solutions as how to bring back stability in the region,considering the viewpoint of Kashmiris and intellectuals alike.TheInsurgencyContrary to the popular view thatthe insurgents chose to pick up their arms to rise against an undemocraticgovernment, the movement did not show any clear indication towards a fight fordemocracy. In fact, this situation arose much before the election itself.
Thecause was rather religiously and ideologically fueled. The National Conferenceis said to have been widely responsible for the creation of such a volatileatmosphere in the region through a series of propaganda campaigns. Even as farback as the 1984 elections, Farooq Abdullah and the National Conference hadbeen accused of instigating the Kashmiris against India to meet their ownpolitical ends. There was little intervention on the part of India at thattime; and it is widely acclaimed that had it done a bit more to suppress thissituation, the situation that was to follow could have been subsided.RecentYears Kashmir crisis remains anunresolved issue, with the inhabitants dancing on the razor’s edge. Numerousagencies have released reports of polls which have resulted in an overwhelmingmajority of Kashmiris preferring freedom from India.
A movement which startedoff as a political uprising, soon turned into one fuelled by religiousextremism, owing to the selfish interests of a select few. In a 2001 reportentitled “Pakistan’s Role in the Kashmir Insurgency” from theAmerican RAND Corporation, the think tank noted that “the nature of theKashmir conflict has been transformed from what was originally a secular,locally based struggle (conducted via the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front – JKLF)to one that is now largely carried out by foreign militants and rationalized inpan-Islamic religious terms”.Numerous protests have taken placesince the dawn of the 20th century seeking for rights of self-determination butnone matched the intensity of the 2016 Kashmir Unrest, following theassassination of Burhan Wani, a militant commander of the Kashmir based bannedterrorist outfit, the Hizbul Mujahideen in a planned operation by the Jammu andKashmir Police and the Rashtriya Rifles on the 8th of July, 2016.
Kashmirentered into a situation of “amplified instability”, as said byjournalist Fahad Shah.May, 2017 saw the assassination ofLieutenant Umar Faiyaz, a young Kashmiri army officer commissioned into the 2ndBattalion of the Rajputana Rifles. He was abducted on the the night of the 9thof May by terrorists identified to be from the outfit Hizbul Mujahideen fromthe Shopian district of South Kashmir and his bullet ridden body was found thenext day from the Herman area of the district. His death drew varied opinionsfrom the people of Kashmir, with some calling this act cowardly for he was noton duty, and some branding it a retribution for the killing of Burhan Wani’sbrother, Khalid.