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India: Kashmir Is Burning…Again

Protest in Kashmir. Image by Flickr user Kashmiridibber, CC BY-NC-ND

If you thought the the issue of burning the Qur'an would not have repercussions across the world then you may think again. Today's mayhem in Indian administered Kashmir was instigated by violent protests which ensued after the emergence of a report of a Qur'an desecration in Michigan, USA. The Jammu and Kashmir cabinet condemned the reported burning of the Qur'an and asked the people to stay calm. However, according to BBC, thousands of people defied curfews and took to the streets, chanting anti-India and anti-US slogans and burning effigies of US President Barack Obama.

Mobs set fire to several government buildings and a Protestant-run school and the police fired back. At least 18 people have been killed and scores were injured. People are asking how much of these protests bears the anger over the desecration of Qur'an and how much on the anti-Indian feelings and their freedom struggle. Journalist Altaf Hossain said to BBC: “the anger against the US may subside soon, but the killings have ensured that hatred against India has been re-inforced.”

As the street violence in Kashmir increased in recent months, the Indian security forces shifted in the hard-line. A number of protesters were killed and many were detained. Videos have emerged showing repressions and tortures against the detainees by the security forces like Abu Gharib, which have angered more Kashmiris.

Here in this amateur video uploaded by Kashmir Nation, protesters are seen shouting slogans of “Azadi” (freedom) from India:

The popular Indian blogs seem to be mostly silent on the issue but the Twitter users are discussing this in greater numbers. Although most tweets contained misinformed rage and rumors, some communicated voice of reason. Here are some tweets showing reactions on the different aspects of the situation.

The efforts of the Indian government:

@sardesairajdeep: kashmir cant be solved in delhi. need to invest in the people of the valley, in their hearts and minds, however tough that is.

@sardesairajdeep: its taken the pm 3 months to call an all-party meeting on kashmir. should have happened much earlier.

@SachinKalbag: By deferring the AFSPA (note: Armed Forces Special Powers Act) decision, the government has given the separatists further proof of how the Valley remains an open field for anarchy.

Indian army patroling in Indian administered Kashmir. Image by Flickr user Kashmiridibber, CC BY-NC-ND

News and rumors about burning of installations:

@AdityaRajKaul: @samar11 My great grand-father was among founders of Biscoe School which was set ablaze by #Separatist Goons in #Kashmir

@AdityaRajKaul: Confirmed News #Kashmir #Separatist mob this evening set ablaze Shiv Temple @Nayi Basti in Khaanabal, Anantnag. Police post destroyed #Taliban

@pawandurani: Startling revelation. No temple burnt in #Kashmir in absence of Govt confirmation. Govt censoring news … Ashamed of Indian sickulrism

Help and distress calls:

@polgrim: The hospitals in Kashmir are running out of blood. To donate call – Incharge SMHS Blood Bank, 094-19-415373. v @FaizanAli

Reactions:

@polgrim: It is disheartening to report many of the Indian media folks on Twitter have a perverse sense of reality when it comes to Kashmir. Very sad.

@NitishaKaul: Kashmiris asking for Azadi shd be prepared to be painted/spinned as ever more Islamic, pro-Pak, violent, militant. #Kashmir #India

@Deshbhakta: @bdutt what purpose or larger cause did ur channel serve by not telecasting d news of hoisting of pak flag in Indian Srinagar's Lal Chowk?

@Kalkharab Koshur: O #india ,let me tell you,you will get tired of imposing curfews but we wont get tired in our struggle.You have to leave #kashmir

On possible solutions:

@smitaprakash: @ranga_chennai i dont think anybody is quite sure what wl wrk now in Kashmir. Quelling violence is a priority but so is meeting thr demands

Image by Flickr user Kashmiridibber. Used under a CC BY-NC-ND license

Kashmir Blogs writes about the use of religion to set the agenda of the secessionists:

The viscous cycle of violence continued unabated, except some intermittent and brief periods of peace. The armed forces of India and terrorists backed by Pakistan played the cat and mouse game of killings with each other and many innocent kashmiris lost their lives in this deadly game.

The separatist political parties of Kashmir are obviously paid handsomely by the Pakistani agencies to keep the pot of hatred against India boiling. This is the main reason that they are not interested in talks with the Indian central government. So what do the separatists do to ensure that peace never returns to the strife stricken valley? The answer is that they are using the religion to incite the hatred for India without considering the implications of their devious act.

The Kashmir says that Kashmir is not an economic problem as “the state is not at the bottom in terms of development indicators”. However the problem lies elsewhere:

The Valley is imitating Pakistan on two counts. Pakistan begs globally by threatening to self-destruct even while the elites of Pakistan send their children to study abroad and the poor Abduls and Kasabs are made to die for the cause. The same hypocrisy is practiced in the Valley by its leaders.

K.R. Surendran opines that Kashmir needs a holistic approach and questions:

Who brought this part of our nation to such a pass? Who converted it into perennially bleeding State? Pakistan alone… or the State authorities? Central Authorities or all these factors combined?

There are lots of questions to be answered and there is no sign of resolving this conflict.

11 comments

  • Puh… I don’t know what will solve the situation in Kashmir, but I think it is obvious that a fantastic economic growth in India does not sooth the feelings in kashmir.

    Anyway… I think it is clear also that this unrest is not casued primarily by the Qur’an burning – Kashmir was already a very trouble place, and the last year it has caught fire at any spark. I think this is important to remember when we deal with reigious lunatics, like the minister in the US. What makes them dangerous is not their own actions per se, but all the tensions in the world that we are unable to solve, that are only waiting for a spark to catch fire…

  • Manish Zijoo

    Who ever call it a Freedom battle is wrong as it is only religious war created by pakistan to sabortage the peace of the India.

    This is the time when Kashmiri people have to look into the future which is unsafe if the things will remain same

  • From what the Principal of the vandalized school had to say ( http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Kashmir:-principal-of-fire-ravaged-Christian-school-speaks-out-19462.html), it is indeed ironical that the missionary school, targeted by arsonists as protest against the holy Quran burning stunt in the US, was catering to more of the local Muslim students than Christians and it’s library, which was burned down by the arsonists, contained many copies of the holy Quran. So knowingly or unknowingly, the angry mob did exactly what they were protesting against!

  • India replays its own Abu Ghraib and the civilized world looks on…

    A three minute video clip showing some young Kashmiri Muslim boys being paraded naked by the India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Sopore town of North of occupation Jammu and Kashmir has triggered outrage in the valley.

    The clip titled ‘Indian Army repeating Abu Ghraib in Kashmir’ is doing rounds on the popular social networking site, Facebook. The video shot with a mobile phone camera at an unknown location shows several alleged stone pelters being paraded naked by the troops and police through paddy fields.

    “I am daughter of an Indian army officer. I’m embarrassed and shocked,” comments, Avleen Gill, a graduate from Saint Bede’s college. Asrar Nazir, a Kashmiri, writes that Aman Goth, the General in Hitler’s Army was hanged in public for parading Jews naked in a concentration camp in Poland. In India, he says, “democracy exists on papers only.”

    “World sees India as a rising power which can do nothing wrong. It is our duty to keep world updated.”

    Source – http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=52256

    • puneet

      the authenticity of the video clip is not yet proven….and most of the kashmir has been suffering due to threatening strike calls given by seperatist leaders who echo pakistani voices..many of you will be surprised to know that these self-proclaimed kashmiri representatives apply for Indian passport so that their children can study abroad and their families escape to safer havens… after that, they call for bandhs and strikes. Schools are asked to shut down..they urge people to send their kids on streets to stone army and police, burn public property an so on…mob doesn’t need any reason to create mayhen…so they blindly follow wat they are told…no one has the guts to ask those leaders to send their family members to join the public processions…
      Yesterday, when curfew was lifted and schools were open, these leaders opposed it…that should send a clear message to the public of kashmir…those leaders who abuse india and indians at every given opportunity still accept pensions from Indian administration…still they are flown to USA for treatments, and still they accept security provided by Indian govt..How can they represent kashmiri oppression by India…think and decide

  • Gangdhi

    India has no right to be in Kashmir.

    In fact India should be dismantled to its components.

    India was made by the British. British (UK) should help to dismantle the Indian Empire.

  • Jamshaid Khan

    How people linkage Kashmir issue with The holy Quran issue. Yes burning the holy book opens the eyes of moderate muslims who think USA is their fast friend. On the earth, there are two great devils of politics, USA and India. All the roads of devilism lead to these two countries politics. They even don’t spare their own innocent people and use them for their politics.
    Kashmir is an issue and was considered by UNO in 1948 but alas still an issue. India refuses to act on UN Resolution continuously but there is no one on this earth to ask India that why she is making a joke of UN Resolution?
    Is it because of India, a non-muslim state?

    • puneet

      dear friend….recall the kashmiri pandits and sikhs who were driven out of the valley and then only the true fate of kashmir be decided by public..and what about the pakisani refugees who still live in camps in Jammu region… see half knowledge is dangerous…if people of kashmir were not happy, the struggle should have started soon after 1947, why did it start in 1988…Kashmir was a heaven before that. everything was going on smoothly. Was the most sought after tourist destination…evry face in kashmir wore a smile then…how come all of a sudden everything changed…terrorists started pouring in..it was only then that greater part of army was deployed in valley…

  • revathi

    India and pakistan tried for the “hearts and minds of kashmiris” and pakistan won_ no surprise, since relegion is a stronger force than nationalism, secularism or any other ism. However, an independent kashmir will not be distinguishable from pakistan and in the end it makes no sense to have two pakistans side by side where the real control will probably be exercised by the chinese. Vict ory to Mao!

  • […] First published in Global Voices Online. […]

  • […] fifanandrinana nahitana faty olona vao haingana tany amin'ny faritra eo ambany fifehezana Indiana Jammu sy Kashmir, dia nifoha […]

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