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Sanity must prevail
With each passing day, human rights violations committed by Indian forces in Kashmir are increasing. And, there are no signs of abatement in the near future, mainly because the world powers are mere silent spectators. Use of ruthless power by Indian forces is giving rise to incidents of killings, abductions, forced disappearances and blinding and damaging of eyes with pellet guns. Torturing the Kashmiri youths and raping the women has become almost a new normal for the brutish forces but no world power seems concerned about the crying and wailing humanity. Only a couple of months ago Indian army personnel shot pellet gun fires that split the retina of little Hiba, an 18-month girl, in a village of Shopian district of Kashmir. After a two-hour surgery, an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) told that “the retina and lens in her right eye have been severely damaged.” But, despite all these cruelties, the world community seems indifferent as its cordiality in relations with India has not declined rather it is on an upward trajectory. No one feels the pains of the poor Kashmiris. Aren’t they human beings? Had such incidents happened in Europe or somewhere else against some other community, the whole world would have been decrying it in the name of human rights. Even the most horrific videos and graphics of Indian forces’ inhuman acts against the youngsters cannot create any vibes in the world’s conscience. Why can’t the world just ‘request’ India to find some peaceful solution to this dispute?
Many thinkers from inside India have been warning that the use of force will never settle the issue; rather the situation will deteriorate. They are vociferously advocating for, and stressing on, using peaceful means to resolve the issue. When the United States, a mighty military power is making peace overtures to the Taliban in order to find a political solution to the longstanding Afghan issue after fighting a 17-year-long war, why can’t India make peace with the Kashmiris? It is noteworthy for Indians that the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan is likely to bring about a paradigm shift in the strategic and security dynamics of the region. The post-US-Nato geopolitical realities of South Asia will no more be in favour of India. So, this is the most opportune time for India to revisit its flawed policy of use of force as it has only caused death and destruction. Victor Hugo stated it best: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” In the anticipated changed environment, military option will be a non-starter at all. And that’s the reality of today’s world. Modern security, strategy theories postulate that military myopia will one day result in India’s collapse from inside.
Furthermore, India must also discern the current ground realities of the freedom struggle against its occupation. The highly educated lot of the Kashmiri youth has taken up arms as the last resort for their freedom. They are offering sacrifices willingly. When political space is extremely shrunken to the youngsters, and there remains no space for dissent, what response should one expect from them? Especially, during the past few years, the elite educated class, college and university students and graduates have been witnessed as vanguards of the freedom struggle. This elevated level of inclination altogether altered the dynamics of the Kashmir freedom movement. Youth’s leading role in efforts to bog down the Indian occupational forces has become what Hindustan Times called ‘Kashmir’s Disturbing New Reality’ mainly because this generation of the Kashmiris has probably reached to the conclusion that India takes the Kashmir problem serious only when there is resistance, unrest and confrontation; otherwise, authorities would see the occupation just a cake walk.
Tepid and lukewarm response of the world community towards the dispute has also disappointed the youngsters to bank on any of the world power’s future role for peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue. Therefore, they were left with no option but to come forward and fight for their rights. This tendency came to the fore again when a PhD-scholar-turned-freedom fighter Manan Wani (Shaheed) wrote a letter expressing what made him join the freedom movement and why he wasn’t left with any other option. However, seeing that the situation is getting out of their control, the Indian forces multiplied their violations of human rights, and launched rigorous campaigns to exterminate the Kashmiri youth. Indian forces, as noted in a UN report as well, unprecedentedly hiked their murderous drives in post-Burhan Wani era with the principal target of these operations being the youth. During the recent months, many have been murdered, scores of them disappeared, and a large number of them blinded by pellet guns.
Read More: Some Possible Solutions to KASHMIR ISSUE
Kashmiris have nothing more to lose in this war, but India has everything to lose. From its repute to economic growth and from its security to its regional and global political clout; everything is going to be at serious risk in the near future. Modi government should act wise for the sake of India’s future generations. As George Bernard Shaw once said, “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” The call of sagacity today is peace. But, Indian leadership, which is extremely lacking in foresightedness, supposes everyone calling for peace or raising voice for the Kashmiris, as its enemy. India has completely lost tolerance towards diversity of opinion on the issue of Kashmir and Pakistan despite that Mahatma Gandhi, India’s founding father, once advised, “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.”
Pakistan’s new government probably has taken all power centres in the country on board to practically move forward towards normalization of relations with India. PM Imran Khan’s body language and expressive aspirations in this regard were the depiction of his seriousness for breaking the stalemate. Pakistanis are clamoring more than before for peaceful settlement of all outstanding issues including the major one – Kashmir. But the ‘K’ word for India is more infuriating even than the red rag. India is now a greater regional power and with power comes more responsibility. Immature, impulsive and intransigent attitude really mismatches with its current position. Particularly, in today’s world of complex interdependence, a nation without enjoying at least working ties with its neighbours, cannot dream of achieving its goals. As far as Pakistan is concerned, it has seemingly realized this reality that we need to move forward, but India, unfortunately, still seems obdurate.
Peace comes with a cost which both India and Pakistan must pay now for their future generations. John F. Kennedy once said, “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” We urgently need to change our perceptions about each other, erode old barriers between us and reduce the level of mistrust so as to move forward towards a sustainable peace.