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Kashmir Killings: India vows more tough action, and aid, to tackle Kashmir conundrum

Wani, who was 22 when he died, grew in popularity through videos posted on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp in which he would appear without a mask

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An Indian policeman pulls concertina wire to lay a barricade on a road during a curfew in Srinagar July 12, 2016. Image source: Reuters/Danish Ismail - RTSHIRO
  • The strategy for the Muslim-majority region contested by nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan has worked in part
  • In Wani’s case, the security crackdown appears to explain his path towards militancy and raises the possibility that other Kashmiri youths may follow
  • At least 34 people were killed – almost all shot by Indian security forces – and more than 1,500 people wounded in the worst violence in Kashmir since 2010

India will go on hunting militants in Kashmir despite widespread protests over the killing of a young separatist commander, officials said, as the government bets that force coupled with development will quell a rebellion in the restive state.

The strategy for the Muslim-majority region contested by nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan has worked in part.

The number of militants crossing into Jammu and Kashmir state from Pakistan to launch attacks against India has dropped in the last few years, and home-grown fighters are estimated to number only around 100, according to one security official.

Last year, in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is closely aligned to the Hindu nationalist right, also pledged 800 billion rupees ($11.9 billion) in investment there.

That has not prevented violent protests and rioting from breaking out when security forces killed Burhan Wani, a separatist militant commander and a Kashmiri, last Friday.

At least 34 people were killed – almost all shot by Indian security forces – and more than 1,500 people wounded in the worst violence in Kashmir since 2010, underlining how the crackdown on militants is not enough to solve a conundrum that has frustrated India since independence in 1947.

The government must also find a way to persuade local people that it is on their side, observers said, something it has failed to do since winning a landslide election in 2014.

Kashmir Valley Violence. Image Source: www.thehindu.com/
Kashmir Valley Violence. Image Source: www.thehindu.com/

“There is no denial in Delhi … that a problem exists,” said retired Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, an Indian army corps commander in the area from 2010 to 2012 who was deployed there seven times during his career.

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“But no one seems to be clear on how to get into engagement with the people on the ground.”

Under Modi, whose BJP is also in a coalition government in Kashmir, the federal government has taken a harder stance on engaging in political dialogue with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a separatist alliance.

While Hurriyat leaders travelling to Delhi and meeting Pakistani officials had been accepted before, Modi’s government has objected to such interactions, saying Pakistan should not interfere in Indian affairs.

“WHY THIS HATRED?”

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of the alliance, said separatist political leaders felt isolated.

“The government of India cannot continue to deal with Kashmir with a clampdown,” he said.

The state’s deputy chief minister, Nirmal Singh of the BJP, said the government was ready to engage with the Hurriyat under a legal framework.

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“They are not ready, but they try to exploit every situation,” Singh said.

A senior BJP mandarin in New Delhi also said the government was open to talking to the Hurriyat but did not appreciate it when they spoke with Pakistan.

He added that the government will continue to go after militants, but with time it hoped the people in Kashmir would “realize that their anger is misdirected.”

“Be it jobs, education, health or any other amenities, the Kashmiri population gets all the same opportunities and benefits as any other Indian,” said the BJP official.

“Why this hatred against the Indian government?”

A senior government official in New Delhi said Wani was a criminal facing 14 separate cases, including the murder of elected politicians and security forces, and that popular support for him was beside the point.

CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

In Wani’s case, the security crackdown appears to explain his path towards militancy, and raises the possibility that other Kashmiri youths may follow.

His father, school headmaster Mohammad Muzaffar Wani, told Reuters in an interview last year, 2015, that Wani’s decision to take up arms was linked to an incident in which he and his brother were beaten by Indian police.

(Representational Pic) Kashmiri villagers attend a funeral procession of Afaq Ahmad Bhat, a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen. Image source:news.xinhuanet.com
(Representational Pic) Kashmiri villagers attend a funeral procession of Afaq Ahmad Bhat, a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen. Image source:news.xinhuanet.com

The brother, not known to be a militant, was killed by Indian security forces last year in circumstances that remain unclear.

Wani, who was 22 when he died, grew in popularity through videos posted on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp in which he would appear without a mask.

Authorities have been accused by some of using excessive force to control the protests that followed his death.

The Doctors’ Association of Kashmir said in a statement that security forces launched tear gas shells into a hospital where victims were being treated, and officers beat hospital staff and damaged ambulances.

Asked whether police and paramilitary forces used excessive force to control crowds after Wani’s killing, BJP’s Singh replied: “It is a matter of concern: this should not have happened. It is a worry as the anti-national forces will try to exploit the situation.”

The inspector general for operations at the Central Reserve Police Force, a paramilitary organization with some 60,000 troops in Kashmir, said his men had been told: “Don’t get into the confrontation with locals, defuse the anger.”

The official, Zulfiqar Hasan, said 300 of his men were injured in four days. (Reuters)

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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

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Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

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Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)

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‘World’s Oldest’ Buddha Statue Unearthed in Pakistan During Excavations

A centuries-old sleeping Buddha statue has been unearthed during excavations near Bhamala Stupa in Haripur district of Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

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Buddha Statue
Buddha Statue is found excavated in Pakistan. Pixabay.

Islamabad, November 17: A centuries-old sleeping Buddha statue has been unearthed during excavations near Bhamala Stupa in Haripur district of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Archaeology And Museums Director Abdul Samad told Dawn News: “The 48-feet-long sleeping Buddha statue dates back to the third century, which makes it the world’s oldest sleeping Buddha statue.”

He said that archaeologists found the statue, with its head intact, during excavations near the Bhamala Stupa.

“We have discovered more than 500 Buddha-related objects during excavations, in addition to the 48-feet long ‘sleeping Buddha’,” he said.

The latest discoveries by the archaeologists have opened new chapters in the history of the ancient Taxila Valley Civilisation.

“This is one of the few sites in the world to have the cruciform Stupa, which was reserved for Buddha himself,” Samad had said. (IANS)