When Will The Kashmir Killings Stop?!
03 August 2016
By Khaled Almaeena
Once again Kashmir is in the headlines. The killing of over 50 protestors, the
blinding of youngsters and arrests en masse have occurred. The usually
volatile Indian media has been silent except for those who occupy television
networks howling and barking in a comical way about ISIS or Daesh, Taliban and
They parrot the same mumbo-jumbo and some tweets in fact have asked for more
killings of these teenagers who are protesting gang rapes, extrajudicial
killings and disappearances, which are facts that have been attested to by
even the National Human Rights Commission of India. The media is pandering to
state propaganda and clouding the real situation in the region. Few
journalists have taken it upon themselves to write about the situation. In her
NDTV program, Barkha Dutt focused on the issue. It was indeed heartwarming to
watch an intelligent debate on the current situation.
Others like Arundhati Roy have also written about the Kashmiris who want to
live in peace and dignity – free from army men groping and molesting their
women, free from waking up in the morning and hearing that a family member has
either been killed or has disappeared as was the case of an aspiring young
cricketer who was killed in Hanwara by the army.
Accounts by ordinary people about tortured confessions are increasing. Bilal
Dar said he was tortured and forced into giving false statements incriminating
others. With a large section of the media operating hand in glove with the
security agencies, the fabrication of news has been taken to a high level. The
use of lethal weapons and indiscriminate force described as self-defense has
also reached alarming proportions.
However, the communal nature of present-day Indian politics is stoking the
flames. Kashmir is not about religion. Sheikh Abdullah years ago said: ''It is
not necessary that our state should become an appendage of either India or
Pakistan.'' Present-day Kashmiris also believe that. I have not met one
Kashmiri here or anywhere in the world who has said that we want to go with
In fact, a Kashmiri doctor in London told me it is like ''jumping from the
frying pan into the fire.'' And this India should realize. RSS, Shiv Sena and
other organizations, wannabe politicians and fame-seeking media people should
note that inflaming the nation will bring tragic results.
Across the border, rabble-rousers, like Hafiz Saeed, who claim that they stoke
rebellion should be arrested. Vote-seeking, power-hungry Pakistani politicians
should be gagged. Do not use the Kashmiri people's quest for justice as a
vehicle to reach your dream office!
Both countries are in dire economic straits. India should instead focus on
so-called economic smart cities that are flooded with toxic waste, stop the
rising number of farmers committing suicide, fight corruption and waste and
respect human life. Across the border, the same problems occur, beginning with
load shedding, kidnapping and corruption. Killers roam the streets of Karachi
gunning down people at will and holding the entire city hostage.
Both countries should resolve these issues rather than go to war over a people
who distrust them equally. The struggle for the equality and dignity of the
Kashmiri people is a just one. They never talk of recession. They want an end
to subjugation and killings. They want economic equality. A 40 percent
unemployment rate is not a palatable figure!
Kashmir is often described as the ''Switzerland of the East'' and its people
want it to be that way. They want to, for once, wake up and breathe the free
and fresh air and smell the fragrance of the beautiful flowers and blossoms of
trees without hearing the sound of army boots and gunfire.
And that is not asking for too much.
— The writer is Editor-at-Large. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena