Killing of civilians fuels Kashmir anger

June 17, 2010

Supporters of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq shout slogans while being detained by police during a protest in Srinagar June 17, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz KabliJust days ago, scenic Kashmir, torn by two decades of war, was near normal.

Thousands of tourists were flocking to the region and honeymooners were once again gliding in shikaras, small Kashmiri boats, across the mirror-calm Dal Lake.

The disputed Himalayan region has seen a significant drop in violence between Muslim rebels and security forces.

But now the Valley is again under siege in the backdrop of rising public anger.

A curfew has been imposed in the summer capital, Srinagar, to prevent violent anti-India demonstrations following the death of a teenager blamed on government forces.

Police and soldiers armed with assault rifles have blocked off lanes with razor wire and iron barricades to prevent protests after scores were hurt in pitched street battles.

Earlier, the killing of three villagers in an alleged fake gun battle by soldiers sparked off fresh anger in Kashmir prompting a pledge by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to improve human rights in Kashmir.

Last week Singh said troops have been strictly instructed to respect human rights in Kashmir.

“Sometimes innocent civilians suffer, but whenever such incidents happen it becomes necessary to act against those responsible. I’m aware of some complaints related to human rights,” Singh said during his visit to Kashmir.

But days later, another teenager Tufail Ahmad Matoo was killed allegedly by police.

Angered over the fresh killing, senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that India will not be able to suppress Kashmir’s “liberation struggle” by resorting to brute force.

“Indian troops and agencies are killing innocent Kashmiri people with impunity,” he added.

Human Rights Watch also urged New Delhi to prosecute soldiers accused of killing three men during an alleged fake gunbattle.

Authorities in the past have denied systematic human rights violations in Kashmir and say they probe all such reports and punish the guilty.

Soldiers are patrolling deserted Kashmir streets while businesses, schools and government office are closed.

Many tourists are leaving over violence fears. Hotels and houseboats are reporting cancellations also.

The killings have again put Kashmir on boil and could trigger widespread protests across the Muslim-majority region where rebel violence is waning but anti-Indian sentiment still runs deep.

Will this fuel Kashmir anger and lead the disputed region to a fresh uprising?

27 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

They desperately need to let Kashmiris manage their own internal security. Leaving the Army responsible for security is a recipe for unnecessary conflict and further continuation of the insurgency.

They should push the Army to the borders and let the Kashmiris deal with their own interests. Attitudes on the ‘freedom fighters’ will change quickly when those fighting and getting killed are Kashmiris.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

dear writer, lets have a look at the number of civilians killed only since the beginning of 2010, its not less than 15, and every time a civilian is killed we see fresh uprising, kashmir continues to be in a termoil even without locals taking up to arms. people are still killed ruthlessly and asusual we see different ways of coverups by authorities.
when it comes to Indian Primos Promise it means an eyewash not a firm action to snatch powers from army, official sources say only 500 militants active in the region, to combat them Indian Primo has turned kashmir into an Army baracade where not less than seven hundred thousand troops are based.
more important is to have a look at the amount of capital india spends on this huge palatoon of military every year, i suppose if india stops spending on its military in kashmir and concentrate on the crises of poverty the country is facing i am sure india may emerge in real sense:
Dear writer keep it up , and keep us posted on latest:

Posted by littlemiss | Report as abusive

Another Shameful Act of Indian Non Security Forces.How long they are going to supress the People.Long live Indian DEMONcracy.

Posted by shahdegreat | Report as abusive

Kashmir the biggest example of State sponsored terrorism, is once again burning, and reminding the world that they are still under siege.

Posted by SZaman88 | Report as abusive

Bro,
keep it up…keep it boiling…thw whole idea to kick up dust is so that you can indulge in propaganda…

Let’s look at a hypothesis, let’s say the following 2 things happen in 2010:

1) Srinagar is renamed Islamabad-2, and the Indian army marches past out of Kashmir, handing over entire Kashmir and all the Indus tributaries to Pakistan army on a platter.

(or) Islamic Republic of Kashmir is declared with Srinagar getting renamed to Islamabad-2

2) USA, NATO forces, India are all out of Afghanistan, and there is a UN resolution stipulating the entire Afghan population (non-pashtun included) are slaves of Pakistan to be ruled from Islamabad-1. ….ISI chief will be the viceroy of Afghanistan.

Once the above things happen, immediately afterwards you can expect the following to happen:

Monasteries in Pakistan and Kashmir will immediately go back to chanting, promoting peace and love everywhere. …..Pakistan Institute of Technologies will start humming along inventing green technologies and making other technological innovations aimed at betterment of humanity. Pakistan will be famous world over for love and brotherhood.

Hatred and violence based on religious identity…If someone misbehaved amongst the security forces, they should be punished thoroughly…

but bro, your propaganda takes you nowhere…

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive

Kashmir problem will not exist if Pakistan’s military and the ISI withdraw all their militants and end their training to wage proxy wars. In 1989, Pakistan’s army general Aslam Beg and ISI chief Hamid Gul decided to turn on the tested and trained Afghan war veterans into Kashmir and the place has never been the same. So the solution lies in Pakistan closing its Jihad factories first.

Kashmir is a very strategic location from a geo-politics stand point. It is close to Pakistan and China, two nations who have been hostile towards India and have co-operated jointly against Indian interests. India has a huge military presence in Kashmir because of this geo-political situation.

Letting Kashmir go at this time will be tantamount to suicide for India. Pakistan and China will not stop at this. Encouraged by the secession of Kashmir, they would be tempted to create more divisions within India. Pakistan has no other agenda. They have not done anything for their own nation for the past 60 years, which is ample proof that they specialize in creating conflicts, getting in the middle of conflicts and live off conflicts. When we have an immature nation like this, it would be foolish on the part of India to allow any hopes for secession.

What India needs to do at this time is to change its law that provides complete immunity to the actions of the security forces. Indian police and military are known for brutality. Not only India, but also the security men and women across most of Asia, Africa use brutality as a means to dominate. There are also cases where innocent people are killed by militants from Pakistan and the public anger is diverted at the Indian securitymen.

I will not support forming another nation for religion. It has been tried and tested and it has been a total failure. The creation of Pakistan, the separation of Bangladesh, the growth of Pakistan as a rogue nation etc are testimony to the fact that religion does not provide any unity. Kyrghztan riots against ethnic Uzbeks is another point to prove in this regard. Afghans pride themselves not for their religion, but for their ethnic identity. Pakistan is already a mistake. Now Kashmir will be a repeat of that mistake.

Kashmir is not being held brutally for religious reasons. The grip is tight because of the pull from the Pakistani side. This tug of war is choking the people. So it is important for Pakistan to give up terrorism and proxy wars and focus on nation building. Everything will fall in place if they did that.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Despite innumerable laws the crime still exist world over. The evil in human being has not died down completely. It is time and again visible in individual and such individuals may be the part of common citizenry, social activists, local governments or armed forces meant to protect all. The crimes are taking place every where. Yes, when they are committed by the protectors of law the civil society should wake up and protest with more vigor and also make government accountable for such heinous acts. May it be in any India State including J&K or in any other country?
Such acts also fuel the voices of sectarians which is more evident in J&K due to its past history and harmful for its own social order. The democracy and freedom of speech in India makes such atrocious acts well heard world over, forcing local and central government to take remedial actions. It is a fact that three youths died unnatural death. The incidence required to be probed and culprits should be brought to books. The media and fueling anger of citizens have also done its job. What is now required is investigative journalism by the media for an impartial enquiry by the local government in J&K. The guilty should be punished.
Remember the famous Sopian rape case and accusation on Armed forces at that time? Please be enlightened and understand that few vested interests in J&K take advantage of the lack of education, lack of employment opportunities and lack enlightenment of youth on such issues. The separatist voices on such moments are out and spreading paranoia, suspicion, mistrust and religious bigotry. There livelihood depends on it. How they can leave it? Every Indian is with families who have lost their young once. The justice should not only be done but required to be seen as done. The duty of elected government of J&K and at Centre is to investigate the matter thoroughly and culprits should be brought to books.
Remember, famous Priyadarshni Motoo & Nitish Katara murder cases? My submission is that injustices, if any, also happens in other parts of the country and culprits can be brought to justice only by sustain efforts of the masses and investigative journalism. The truth can not be judged by indulging in hooliganism on streets or becoming fodder for separatist voices who are influencing the mind of others on religious or ethnic bigotry for their own ‘Raj neeti’

Posted by SatishChadha | Report as abusive

Unless the government of india will not remove the draconian laws from the valley these incidents will continue.Targetting innocent students is the worst form of human rights voilations.

Posted by Adilmsw | Report as abusive

I am sure by killing innocents in fake gunbattles, Indian forces are helping Kashmir’s freedom struggle. It is only today in past when Kashmiris were trying to get closer to Indian mainstream, security forces stepped up human rights violations in the valley.
These forces do not want to leave Kashmir because of rampant corruption and political ambittions. A major of army is like a ruler of the particular area, how will never allow to imropve kashmir situation.
I am sure one day Kashmir will get freedom from INdia but not with the help of militants but by the opression of the security forces, becoz these men in khaki are keeping anti-India sentiment alive.

Posted by drshugufta | Report as abusive

@seekeroftruth…Sir you dont deserve this screen name…this story is not propaganda , ask home ministry in new delhi how many gunabttles were staged by security forces in kashmir for rewards and promotions.
open your eyes and seek knowledge….

Posted by drshugufta | Report as abusive

people are again mistaken,looking kashmir only through narrow prism of religion.dear friend when india and pakistan were not on the world map kashmir had its distinct identity,culture,etuos and independence,,,this resistence movement is basically manifestation of our lost glorious past which we want to regain and rest from india….so equating it with a criminal act or law and order problem elsewhere in india is foolish and childish.

Posted by waleekamil | Report as abusive

kashmir story will not change till one million Indian troops don not go to barracks. as long as they stay in streets, villages, and towns they will carry on killing people in fake encounters to justify their stay.

Posted by freepress | Report as abusive

@seekeroftruth…please see the writting on the wall. this is not propaganda, your prime minister even regrets the fake encounters. they army has launched a probe and a major has been arrested.

Posted by freepress | Report as abusive

All nations that repress the genuine aspirations of their populations do it through Machiavellian means. In India’s case, a reference to Arthashastra would be more appropriate. Since the armed uprising in Kashmir for a legitimate demand, which India has managed to avoid acceding to since independence, thousands of families have suffered brutalities at the hands of Indian security forces, particularly the Indian Army, which is not averse to using extra-judicial means to curb opposition. While officials may find it expedient to turn a blind eye to excesses of the state arm in Indian-held Kashmir, human rights organisations of India and the local Kashmiri leadership have constantly urged the government for an inquiry into the alleged misuse of delegated authorities by the Indian Army and police.

Although Kashmiris and their international supporters have been raising a voice against Indian repression, increasingly there are voices within India that are now joining the chorus. According to Delhi-based rights organisation People’s Union of Democratic Rights (PUDR), the government should probe into the forced disappearance of the 8,000 Kashmiris who have been missing for many years. It not only questioned the claim of the Indian Army of killing 36 militants along the LoC, it also hinted at the likelihood of those being innocent civilians killed for the sake of rewards and medals. If these allegations are indeed correct, it is enough reason for India to be ashamed and initiate an impartial inquiry into the incidents. The identification of 2,373 graves containing 2,943 bodies in 55 villages of three districts by the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPT) in its report in December 2009 did not ruffle the feathers of the Indian government. “Had the authorities taken the report seriously and investigated the matter, occurrence of such crime could have been prevented,” PUDR said. In the presence of repressive state policies, there can be no hope for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue.

Such repressive measures only serve to deepen the resentments of Kashmiris against the Indian state, which, despite specific constitutional guarantees, has failed to protect the human rights of Kashmiris. It is not, then, surprising that the recent visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Kashmir was met with a complete strike. If New Delhi is sincere in reconciling with the alienated Kashmiris, it would be well advised to conduct an impartial probe into the excesses of its security forces. Here the call of PUDR to democratic minds in India to break their silence and express solidarity with the families of the missing persons is not out of place. The silence of the common Indian citizen towards the state’s atrocities against Kashmiris drives them further away from mainstream Indian society. This also has a direct negative bearing on India’s efforts to normalise relations with Pakistan.

Now that tensions between India and Pakistan are considerably reduced and much of the homework has been done on a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir issue, India will have to put its house in order. Pakistan has always extended Kashmiris moral support for their just cause. India must understand that a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue will lead to bringing back normalcy in the subcontinent. Good relations between the two nuclear South Asian neighbours would bode well for the whole region. Kashmir is a political issue and should be resolved politically.

Posted by waleekamil | Report as abusive

Of course this is fueling anger against India in Kashmir. But the responsibility lies on Indian security forces.
@K P Singh, pls for the god’s sake stop blaming pakistan for current trouble in Kashmir. The violence is Kashmir has declined to its lowest. But violence by Indian security has gone up all time high. Think before commenting. It is time to think about armed forces, who are killing kashmiris for money and promotions.
I am sure Kashmir will secede from India in future but save your army from politicizing.

Posted by rebel22 | Report as abusive

killing of civlians was a shameful act and it will definitely fuel anger in Kashmir. I feel sorry for the visitors who have come to enjoy kashmir but witness protests and cufew. I hope santy will prevail on security forces and police and they stop killing innocents.

Posted by Imititaz | Report as abusive

Indian security excesses may be true. This does not deny the role of Pakistan in exporting terrorism across the border. Those who say Pakistan morally supports are lying or are ignorant.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

it seems like there are no human rights for kashmiris. human rights dont hold any meaning in the dictionary of indian security agencies operating in kashmir valley

Posted by true112 | Report as abusive

to me it seems like a centrally sponsored scheme to divert the attention of people from the investigations into fake encounter. same has happened. centrally sponsored schemes are efficiently implemented by state government.

Posted by emm99 | Report as abusive

stones are answered with bullets. it seems that no far is the day when another wave of armed uprising will engulf the valley. the government is pushing people back to the point where no option but only AK-47 is left to people of kashmir

Posted by ahtishaan11 | Report as abusive

its really sad. what i have noticed that the frequency of such incidents increase during summer seasons of valley. does it hold any co-relation?

Posted by ushiee | Report as abusive

more killings means more alienation, kashmir is really under siege and we are mourning the deaths. When will India forces understand this. Prime minister talks of zero tolerance and security forces keep on killing people. I wonder if this is by design.

Posted by kashur123 | Report as abusive

but i hope Indian tourists who are flocking to Kashmir will understand this and educate fellow citizens about the current situation in Kashmir, and prevail upon Indian authorities to stop human rights violations in Kashmir

Posted by kashur123 | Report as abusive

When it comes to solving Kashmir, we should never think that there are only three primary parties to the dispute- Kashmir, Pakistan and India. But another powerful party is Indian army who number around 700,000 and officially is fighting 225 militants inside valley plus 300-500 waiting to enter from Pakistan Administered Kashmir.
With such a huge militarization and no other alternative offered to civilians to express dissent, human rights violations and killings are bound to occur. Not only this, just recently we saw how a 70-year-old Kashmiri was killed and labeled as Pakistani infiltrator for promotions and medals triggering fears that more than 10,000 youths who disappeared during past 22 years of dispute might have met the same fate and are sleeping under six feet up in the mountains in mass graves.
Adding to the insult are ministers and bureaucrats who are either enjoying holidays at picnic spots or are participating in music programmes on the lake-side when the rest of city and major towns (10 districts) were curfewed this week. These things could only push youth to the wall who are seeking justice but are fired at on heads, abdomens, and torsos. Remember in 2008, almost 1200 youth had received injuries above waist, meaning that Hindu armed forces are directly trying to aim at bodies instead of thinning demonstrators, which a top cop , who was sacked after a youth died, also acknowledged to media as well. He said protests should have been allowed.
The real fear is that if armed forces try to corner cat (Kashmiri youth) it will try to pounce upon them. It is exactly what we have been seeing. The peaceful protests of 2008 were forced to become violent which led to killings of 65 youth and injury to more than 2500 youngsters.
In city and elsewhere armed forces have continued this trend and in the mountains where media hardly reach and villagers choose to remain silent, fake encounters continue happening which makes Kashmir a fitting case of UN intervention in forcing India to repeal draconian laws that protects its soldiers and push for a plebiscite to decide the fate of more than 10 million Kashmiris.

Posted by KashmirViews | Report as abusive

the killings continue, two inncocent people were shot dead on friday evening…more tha killings more anger…so put a stopt to it.

Posted by zargar | Report as abusive

Dear Waleekamil, DRShugufta, Adilmsw, I am not sure whether you represent the voices of Kashmiri in India, of separatists or just harping on false propaganda from across the border? Wherever you are, you are absolutely unaware of the ground realities of J&K. You talk of ‘right to self-determination’ – will you kindly enlighten us about the list of rights at present are not available in J&K and which you want for them in the name of self-determination? While talking of self-determination, kindly list out fundamental rights for self determination even you have wherever you live. Thereafter, compare them with other societies, states and nations in this world.

To my opinion in every social set up we sacrifice some of our personal rights for social order. These sacrifices are at all levels i.e. from individual to family, from family to neighborhood, from neighborhood to community, from community to states, from states to nations and nations to orders governing this beautiful World. Self determination of all rights to my opinion may lead to Jungle Raj. Even as a follower of a particular religion or its teachings we all sacrifice certain rights. Atleast list the practices prohibited by your own religion, whatever it is, to understand rights of self determination you lose by adopting a particular religion.

In India to my opinion, ‘social order’ can be best served by giving people right to vent their feelings in democratic way as long as it does not affect the life and liberty of fellow citizens. This beauty of Indian Constitution has allowed India surviving in a democratic way since its independence and year by year progressing ahead. The entire world recognizes it. Don’t try to fool citizenry of this country or J&K anymore. The silent democratic majority in J&K is well aware of such scandalous behavior and wants peace.
Need in J&K of Army, the laws you describe as draconian is to protect the silent democratic majority from hooligans on streets, from people who indulge in bandhs and disturbing social life in J&K, from people hiding behind the religion and advising others not to look through narrow prism of religion and also from leaders who shout Hurriayat at the pitch of their voice and never represented their credentials in any elections. Few people are denigrating the beautiful teachings of tolerance in Islam and I am ashamed that this is also being done by them in the name of Islam. Heads off to such teachings and preaching to GOI by the people who have never served for democratic values in last over 60 years and brought even the beautiful neighboring country on the brink of collapse in the name of beautiful religion ….. !!!

Posted by SatishChadha | Report as abusive