Will of Kashmiri people no longer a consideration: Bapsi Sidhwa

2017-01-06 01:24:00 |
Will of Kashmiri people no longer a consideration: Bapsi Sidhwa
Will of Kashmiri people no longer a consideration: Bapsi Sidhwa

 

When India and Pakistan gained their independence in 1947, the state of Kashmir, which was expected to go to Pakistan because of its Muslim majority, went instead to India. To calm Kashmiri unrest, India agreed to abide by a United Nations resolution to hold a referendum in Kashmir. India now maintains that the passage of time has voided the Security Council resolution. This is a dangerous argument; it renders the United Nations irrelevant.

Pakistan is not blameless. The resistance by the Kashmiri people to separate from India escalated about eleven years after the Partition and Pakistan's support for the Kashmiri insurgents became militaristic. Pakistan's tolerance of the attacks by the Afghan and Arab jihadis (holy warriors) in turn invited the brutal Indian armed presence. In hijacking the Kashmiri peoples' cause, the Kashmiri struggle for independence was transformed into a mere territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan and India have been on the brink of war several times over the unresolved issue of Kashmir. Trapped between India and Pakistan, Kashmiris are fighting for autonomy. At present the beautiful valley is heavily guarded by the Indian military and protestors and political activists have so far failed to achieve their goal of an independent Kashmir. "This is the most beautiful prison in the world," a militant told Farhana Qazi who is the author of the excellent Secrets of the Kashmir Valley.

By and large the world seems to have forgotten a conflict that has taken the lives of thousands of Kashmiris. The last crisis has been brought on by the death of political activist and leader Burhan Wani. His death, blamed on the Indian army, has only served to heighten the Kashmir conflict.

Kashmiris don't want to belong either to India or to Pakistan. Human rights groups have reported innumerable cases of rape, torture and destruction of homes — everything in fact that transpires when an occupying army rules a civilian population. There were already over half a million Indian soldiers in Kashmir, and given the recent build-up of troops and artillery, the Indian military's presence is formidable; it is said there is one Indian soldier for every three Kashmiri citizens.

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Tags: #Kashmir-Muslims #

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