Kashmir protests: another tragedy of timing

July 6, 2010

morekashmirAnother three people have been killed in Kashmir in the biggest anti-India demonstrations in two years, bringing the death toll to at least 14 in the last three weeks. You can see some video of the protests in the Kashmiri capital Srinagar here – please watch it and remember that only a few years ago peace had returned to the streets of Srinagar after more than a decade of violence.

While Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram has suggested the violence is being whipped up by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, our correspondent in Srinagar says that many local Kashmiris believe the protests are largely spontaneous.

If that is the case, it is a tragedy of timing. As discussed nearly two years ago on this blog, Kashmir has an entire generation of young people who have grown up knowing only what it is to live in the midst of an insurgency.  Then, after India and Pakistan re-opened a formal peace process in 2004, violence began to drop dramatically (something that has usually gone unacknowledged by Delhi but was obvious to anyone who regularly visited Kashmir).

The sense you picked up was of a shift away from what was at most tacit tolerance for Pakistan-backed militant groups (anyone who questions this should first read Basharat Peer’s Curfewed Night) into a belief in peaceful protests, led by the younger generation. It is that younger generation who are throwing stones today, and seeing their own being killed. That is what makes the latest round of violence in Kashmir so dangerous. If the youth of Kashmir are radicalised anew, as happened when an earlier generation protested against Indian rule in 1989, the cycle of rage begins again.

One of the most telling comments in the latest round of violence in Kashmir came from separatist leader Mirwaiz Omar Farouk, when he said that the protests were not about Muslim Kashmir vs Hindu India. He would not have had to say that before – the Kashmir separatist revolt at the start was always more about nationhood than religion. That he now has to deny the communal undertones highlights how far these have grown.

The latest protests also come as India and Pakistan have begun a tentative attempt at peace-making after a long diplomatic limbo following the November 2008 attack on Mumbai. Their foreign ministers are due to meet on July 15 to take the process forward. Both have an interest in trying to reduce tensions, if nothing else but because the uncertainty over U.S. policy in Afghanistan threatens new instability in the region. Yet neither country will find it politically easy to accommodate each other if Kashmir is going up in flames.

The protests in Kashmir also coincide with some fresh soul-searching in Pakistan over the role of militant groups – some of whom were once nurtured to fight India in Kashmir – following  last weeks suicide bombing of one of the country’s most popular Sufi shrines in Lahore. A perception of “Indian oppression” against fellow Muslims in Kashmir has always fed into popular support for militants fighting for its “liberation” – so in another tragedy of timing, the crackdown in Srinagar is likely to make it harder for those voices within Pakistan who want to win backing against Islamist militant groups.

Anyone who has ever studied the history of India and Pakistan – right back to pre-partition days – will know that their tortuous relationship has been based on misunderstandings and bad timing. And Kashmir has always been caught in the middle. Yet even the most optimistic cannot resist the impression that the regional environment is worsening. 

As one person commented on my last post – albeit in a different context about the relationship between India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan – using language  that perhaps expressed more than a journalist can in thousands of words:

“It is all one bloody mess … isn’t it. Every one is caught in every one else’s web..”

(Reuters photo/Fayaz Kabli)

Comments

@Rex Minor

You still haven’t cleared your position about that “your ancestors” vs “our ancestors” remark. At least you can say “no comments” and we’d know your “official” stance on your roots. So much for integrity and conscience!

BTW, having common sense and applying common sense are two different things. Isn’t that common sense?

Have a good one!

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

@Seth
In my opinion you are a dreamer too much influenced by the books you read. One of my friends once told me that when an Indian has learned to read, he is not selective like a european, he would read anything. This is your inherent problem. I do not wish to rob you of your imaginations and assumoptions about my person or the world as you see it. Please enjoy while you dream and imagine. The reality is not very pleasant anyway.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Rex Minor

You are free to have generalized opinions about specific things, events and people including me. For me (and if I may speak for others) you are a toddler with a crayon in their hand. You can still draw anything anywhere but, lets just say, it will not make any sense. For a “dreamer” like yours truly, you are very much like your friend who was stupid enough to generalize Indians (and Europeans alike) about their reading habits and on top of that you got influenced by an ordinary individual’s views too.

Now the question that you seem hesitant answering:

What is your stance about that “your ancestors” vs “our ancestors” remark? At least you can say “no comments” and we’d know your “official” stance on your roots.

This is what you posted:
“I estimate a period of fifty odd years for the advanncement of Pashtoons out of their bunkers and to spread across the sub continent. The route is know to them and your ancestors in India experienced this and this is not to say that it is unlikely to happen again”

I can assure you that I’ll keep posting same question again and again unless you answer it or try to deviate the discussion by posting any of your gibberish directed at me.

Have a nice day! :)

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

@Seth
Are you so naive about the Indian history. Did the Afghan*s rule did not extend into punjab. Did the Afghan warriors did not rule India.? Have you never come across the name khan in India? Have you never come across the grave yards of Patiala where Pashtoons fought, lived and died. Who were the rulers of India before the Brits came? Who were the warriors who haught with Babar? Are you genuinely that ignorant? Today the Pashtoons are all across Pakistan and not very far from the Indian borders. Is Indian army in a position to stop their infiltration or do they expect Pakistan Army to worry about India’s security. Indian PM calling the infiltrators as terrorists is not going to help him in his military adventure in Kashmir valley. Have I said enough to explain the words “Your ancestors”. If you are not of Indian origin than you were not addressed.
Take it easy and have a nice day. Next time you do not understand a sentence then please say so and not raise questions.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Forget region’s history, talk of your own. My ancestors fought with foreign invaders, fine. Who were your ancestors? Foreign invaders on your fore-fathers’ side and raped and tortured women on your mother’s side?

You Pakistanis are hypocrites.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

RexMinor:

My qn was: Do minorities In China have equal rights?

You said:

“In democracy the minorities usually have equal rights. The chinese have not yet completed the democritization process.”

—100s of Chinese that I met hate the word “democracy”.

Good luck expecting minorties in China having equal rights since China is not aiming for democracy. Then that kills China as nation by ur definition since minorities are not protected.

I am for India/Pak non interference in each others’s domestic policies of other countries.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

@RajeevK
Sorry i did not think you were referring to Chinese on minority rights. Besides the Chinese there are many in the world who do not understand the definition’democracy’. India also has their form of democracy and in europe there is a different form of democracy. Since we are conversing in English language we are using the word democracy which from my memory was born in Greece. Remember, China became a cohesive Nation during communism and to go all out for democracy the Nation would split further. We already have Taiwan and Hongkong! So therefore the approach to china is to discuss human rights first, and then take them slowly and slowly towards democracy. The recent German chancellor’s visit was used to tell the Chinese PM about the extention of human rights to all. Sorry, you are not a believer, but in the three religions of the book it is the God’s commandment to treat others as equals, as you would like to be treated by them, something along the lines. Once you achieve this, one is bound to have equal rights for all citizens. Incidently What is the treatment of minorities in India? China is definitely not going to follow the anglo saxon or the european model of democracies. What matters is the human rights, and that should be the basis for a society and we as the people need to agree on “what the human rights are”. For example in Germany “the right to work is guaranteed in the constitution. Is this the case in the UK or USA? I doubt it. I wish India nd Pakistan could follow the non-interference policy of China as well, but this is not their fault since they inherited it from the colonialists. You tell the USA administration not to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries, this would sound very foreign to them. How could they survive without interference. Why are they called Gringos and hated by all the south american countries. It is a shame for I have found americans in many parts of the USA the most friendly, generous and hospitable people in the world. Just imagine the marshall plan they developed to reconstruct Germany the enemy they destroyed first. Without the marshal plan Germany would have required many more years for recovery.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Mr Minor:

My point was to challenge China as a “nation” under your definition since China does not care about minorities. 90% Han is what matters to China, rest all—10% of chinese population is a lot—are minority. In my experience, I have seen Chinse around me using this term “minority” very frequently. So this shows up at people level–based on my limited interaction with 100s of Chinese. China is not looking for democracy since they have reached here without democracy and want to be without it. Those who want democracy in China are found handing out flyers in the USA for their movement since they are thrown out of China.

If Chinese are not for democracy, it is not a bad thing if that works for them. You can split hair on this and that democracy. Chinese are allergic to the word democracy since communism and now unofficial capitalism is what has made their country great, not democracy.

Going back to the original point, if until Minorities are given equal status and taken care off China should not be called a nation (by ur definition). you say democracy is must for protection of minorities. So let us not call China as a nation until they achieve democracy, Also let us not called Chinese army as Nationalist Army until minorities are take care off. The country under discussion is China—not USA nor India.

But to me China is a nation and they need to sort out problems just like any other country need to do.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

@Rajeevk
I fully agree with the last sentence of your comments. It does not matter about my definition of a Nation, we have to look towards the world wide acceptance of a Nation, bound by its institutions and the constitution, secular or some other form, the cohesiveness must be there without apartheied or straight slavery. Democracy is also not static, it is a process, each country without interference of others should be allowed to sort out their domestic issues. Yes, the problem is that many fail and start commiting atrocities against their own citizens to the extent of ethnic cleansing and this becomes the concern of the world and no longer the country’s internal affair. China was wrong to use their principle in the case of kosovo, regarding Serbia’s sovereignstatus.After all we are all human species and do get involöved and try to protect even a wife from her husband and a child from his own parents if there is a continued violence. Countries become failed states and loose any right to rule them. Such countries had not achieved the status of a NATION. If China is unable to sort out the mess in their muslim province then they have no right to hang on to the province. I am sure Chinese Govt. is conscous of their responsibility.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

RexMinor:
@I fully agree with the last sentence of your comments. ”

The last sentence was:
@But to me China is a nation and they need to sort out problems just like any other country need to do.”

—So like Chinese, who need to take care of minorities, India, Pakistan etc are also nations. How much each nation has succeeded and failed can be left to analysts.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

Looks like some people have too much time to comment on this post than work for a living. It is something similar with the people of Kashmir, they have too many privileges and dont need to think about earning enough through legitimate means to keep their family going, hence all this. India should remove all the privileges that it gives to Kashmiris, give them a taste of the Talibani rule or the Chinese rule that they are so dying for (because if independent, they will either be taken over by China or Pakistan=Taliban).

Posted by kusum79 | Report as abusive
 

@Looks like some people have too much time to comment on this post than work for a living.”
-Posted by kusum79

—Thanks for the introduction and letting us know what you do err don’t.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

Having gone through the article and in it read the Ministry’s version wish speaks exactly like Israel used the certificate of “In Self Defense” Given to them by the ex-President of Us which ultimately landed them to become Genocide committal criminals.

The Indians got the certificate of Pakistan’s Laskar-e-Taiaba issued by the Human Rights Commission to mention to stop the World community’s mouth shut and kill as many as Kashmiri Muslim India need to kill. The Human Rights Commission will never inquire into.

The Fact as in on record never the Human Rights Commission inquired into the killing that went on by India even those politically sponsored. Why was not inquired? Will the Human Right Commission be gracious enough to kindly mind to reply in detail in righting for the kind information of the world forum?

However, there is allegation that all these years India invested huge amount to keep Human Rights commission silent on these killing and not to inquire.

Political Observers opined henceforth all killings of Kashmiri Muslims be inquired by Human Right Commission to find if crime against Humanity was committed by Indian Force. If found positive then appropriate case of genocide were started without, fail.

Posted by KINGFISHER | Report as abusive
 

Having gone through the article and in it read the Ministry’s version wish speaks exactly like Israel used the certificate of “In Self Defense” Given to them by the ex-President of Us which ultimately landed them to become Genocide committal criminals.

The Indians got the certificate of Pakistan’s Laskar-e-Taiaba issued by the Human Rights Commission to mention to stop the World community’s mouth shut and kill as many as Kashmiri Muslim India need to kill. The Human Rights Commission will never inquire into.

The Fact as in on record never the Human Rights Commission inquired into the killing that went on by India even those politically sponsored. Why was not inquired? Will the Human Right Commission be gracious enough to kindly mind to reply in detail in righting for the kind information of the world forum?

However, there is allegation that all these years India invested huge amount to keep Human Rights commission silent on these killing and not to inquire.

Political Observers opined henceforth all killings of Kashmiri Muslims be inquired by Human Right Commission to find if crime against Humanity was committed by Indian Force. If found positive then appropriate case of genocide were started without, fail.

Posted by KINGFISHER | Report as abusive
 

Well, India has ultimately come down to her own original tactics of killing own citizens and blaming the neighboring country.

Is it not a shame for all democratic countries to see their beloved largest democracy killing own citizens like birds. After all is it because they all are Muslims and are not Hindus so it goes along with the governments policy to kill and kill to the entire satisfaction of Indian government.

It is a matter to be thought why, Human Rights commission is silent and has not declared this mass murder of unarmed innocent civilians to over 100 by police firing. What else will it be called birthday party killing for welcoming the government blood bath murder plan of Muslims to silence the demand of the Kashmir people forever with the participation of the Human Rights commission.. .

I think world wide demonstrations against this illegal killing should be staged to demonstrate India is committing Genocide in Kashmir similar to Sudan and it needs to be stopped with and iron hand by UN.

Posted by KINGFISHER | Report as abusive
 

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