October 1, 2010

     Every Indian wishes that Kashmir should always be the valley of beauty rather than the valley of violence. The present turmoil and the non-stop curfew and protests valley has witnessed since last month has showed the inability of both state and central Government to maintain peace in the state.
The congress led People’s party governing the state failed to seek the support of the Kashmir under young but inexperienced CM Omar Abdullah. Even though for the past few months the State saw a steady decrease in number of militant infiltration across the border from neighbouring Pakistan …more than 55 people have died in recent protests and clashes. When the state government tried to establish itself for its efficient governing against terrorism, the Indian army has claimed its efficient border guarding policies to be the winner. May be it’s the fate of the Kashmir valley always to be violent and bath in blood even after steady decrease in infiltration and militant attacks.
It’s not the violence and protest in streets of the valley but …the youth have taken up the protest to Facebook, twitter and YouTube messages that showed up. When we look at global protests, in modern protests against governments internet and web played an important role– be it in USA, China, Pakistan or Myanmar. When curfew was imposed streets...Protests started to flood through social networking sites. The Kashmiri youngsters found a new solace in social websites….as they were isolated from rest of India …they faced restrictions like ban to prepaid Sims…ban to text messages and ban to form students group. But what really hurts them is the ASPFA act which denied them freedom and imposed restricted life. The social media helped the Kashmiris to reach out the world and gain global exposure to their problems. This not only gained global exposure to their problems ….but entire India learnt the plight of poor Kashmiris and the need to address their problems.
So what does this protests signify … what are these protests for?
The protesters on streets shouted out the slogans "GO INDIA GO, QUIT KASHMIR"...and does that mean they need independence from India. To some extent it does mean that Kashmiris are shouting out for a free Kashmir. But the fact is that India does not want to leave Kashmir…but Kashmir always remained a shadow of developing India in the midst of extremism and India- Pak wars. Kashmir has not changed much from what it was in past. Kashmir has always been a sensitive issue for India….be it with terrorism or Pakistan’s claim to attain the state. The Indian Government even feels that the present up rise of protests is a game played by Pak ISI and Lashkar-e-Taiba a Pakistan based militant group. But real problem that Kashmiris are protesting for is violation of human rights under ASPFA act. But a study conducted by Chatham House shows that more than 70% people support independence from both Pakistan & India.
So when did the new protests start?
Protests are not new in the valley but the new series of protests started on June 11.A 17-year-old student died when he was hit by a tear gas shell fired by security personnel. After that more than 100 people were killed by during protests…resulting in more anger spreading the valley. The AFSP Act gives the security forces a power to shoot and arrest common people in ground of mere suspicion and without any warrant.
What did Indian Government do?
The Indian government came forward for peace talks with separatists only after more than 100 Kashmiris lost their life in protests. The Indian Government earlier pointed the fingers on Pakistan and Pakistan based extremists for sparking these protests.
But later the Indian Government had to step down for peace talks with Separatists as protests continued to surface...and Omar Abdullah, Kashmir's chief minister pressurised the central government to resolve the matter.
India Government formed and sends an All-party delegation to Kashmir to study the protests and for talks with Separatists. The separatists have put forward some demands for peace …but Indian Government seems not in mood to listen all these demands. The demands include revoking un-rightful laws like AFSP Act and accepting Kashmir as a global dispute a step to form an independent Kashmir.
What Next…?
Indian Government has decided to release all protesters arrested and withdraw curfew in certain regions. To find the real consensus of Kashmiris a group of intellectuals will be formed and implied to sustain peace in Kashmir. In past too during different ruling parties have formed groups to retain peace in the valley but nothing happened only increasing tension in common people. But the scenario is different here...the protests saw more exposure this time whole India listened to the plight of Kashmiris. Let’s hope Kashmir will find Peace …in the following .
What do you feel …what can the government do further to retain peace in the valley……Is Kashmir an international dispute..? send your comments.