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The Kashmir Question

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The unrest in the Kashmir Valley had calmed down after years of strife, but like hot air reigniting the embers of a smouldering fire, the casual, caustic and thoughtless remarks of leaders and public alike have reignited a new round of violence in the valley.

Fourteen were killed in Srinagar after thousands flouted the curfew and torched a missionary school, as a result of  anger in response to the desecration of a Koran.

The news, ‘thirteen people killed in a single day’ fails to raise the eyebrow as it once did. Has the continuous airing of news related to violence, war and death really hardened us to the point where we fail to feel grief at the loss of young lives?

While  leaders and  agencies around the world turn their backs after expressing their dismay at the violence, the unrest remains a fact. The fourteen dead become another statistic to the world, but the seeds of anger are sown with their deaths.

The political balance is about to tip and the Kashmir Question may become an albatross around this government’s neck, as it has been in the past. In the sixty years of Independence, the government has handled the Valley like a delicate vase – too much pressure would break it and too little will let it slip from their hands. Instead of pouring in military and money, we need to pour in opportunities, education and optimism, channeling them to the empowerment of the people.

The unrest is pushing the government to try different methods to handle the situation, looking for alternatives to just opening the doors for the soldiers. The Indian Army plays an important role in Kashmir, but over the years, it has become the only major group operating there other than the government. The unrest took a toll on education and progress, substantially setting back the growth of tourism, a blooming business of the valley.

It all boils down to the politics of the region.  With Minister Omar Abdulah pushing for lifting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Indian Military against it, New Delhi has presently reached a stalemate, taking no action.

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About Pooja Wanpal

  • Asif

    Well Dear Friends.., you people are discussing about kashmir.., that is fine.., u should discuss. But listen from the people who matter the most.., that is we kashmiri\’s..,
    Talking about Kashmir while sitting in Delhi, mumbai etc is easy..,
    Easy said but done..,
    Is kashmir a part of India??? No it is not.., India has forefully occupied our land.., by promising us that Pelibesite will be done 50 yrs have passed still india has not fulfilled its promise.., India is rulling us by force of a gun. I sweare by Almighty Allah. I am yet to see a kashmiri who is an Indian..(leaving politicains aside)
    India coule not win our hearts and minds in the last 60 yrs. they have tried everything they can.
    a) giving us crores of rupees —- to no avail
    b) having 7 lac troops in vally — to no avail
    c) Killing 1 lac people —- to no avail
    d) Raping our mothers and sisters – to no avail
    e) Enforced disappearences of thousands of youths — to no avail. i can go on and on….

    India is talking peace and is waging war.

    If india thinks we are their own people then God\’s Sake why does not it hold Pelebesite in kashmir.., let u tell the worls that they are our own people are want to remain with india..
    You and your govt. knows that we are not indians.., BEST OF LUCK TO INDIA

  • Pooja

    I’m sorry, Sir, but I don’t agree with your opinion entirely. I fully support you that people should consider what Kashmiri people themselves have to say about it and look at Kashmir as more than a land plagued by strife.
    I’ve met people who are work in Kashmir, working towards betterment of the people. In the same course, I met a couple of people from Kashmir who were not as the same opinion as you.
    If we hold the blame on to a single country, it fails logic. Kashmir is essentially an international issue and until all the parties concerned with the issue agree to step in and discuss it rationally, it will be hard.

  • Ruvy

    I’m very glad to see articles about Kashmir and other disputed territories being raised here. The Americans (who are the majority of the readers here) need to hear the voice of native Kashmiris. Pooja, could you please fill in your reading public overseas as to why the Indian government has not settled large groups of people there and simply annexed the territory? I know there are reasons grounded in law but I have forgotten them.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Pooja –

    Could you please fill in your reading public overseas as to why the Indian government has not settled large groups of people there and simply annexed the territory?

    I’d like to hear the answer too, because this is what China is continuing to do in Tibet (which they call ‘Xizang province’) and in the once-Uighur-majority Xinjiang province.

  • I’ll be happy to clarify the point.

    Jammu Kashmir state is supposed to be founded in 1846 when India was under British Rule.

    In 1947, when India obtained Independence, majority of the princely states were dissolved into the sovereign republic. Kashmir had not been dissolved in either Pakistan or India, but when the Pakistan army infiltrated the princely state, it was decided the India offer assistance and the state be dissolved into India and a plebiscite was to be conducted with the assitance of UN. As relations between India and Pakistan soured, the plebiscite never really took place due to the land occupied by the two countries.

    Due to the turbulent times regarding the freedom of the state, it was decided that an interim government take place of the Maharajah, a constitution and constitution assembly be formed for the state. In accordance to the article 370 of the Indian Constitution,special status was granted to Jammu and Kashmir.

    Kashmir is hypothetically divided into the area under Indian territory, Azad Kashmir or Pakistan occupied Kashmir, and now China occupied Kashmir.

    The violence escalated in the valley and so did the migration, especially during the 1990s. Many Hindu, Muslim and Sikh families migrated to Jammu from the valley. Most Kashmiri Pandits relocated due to targeted violence by Terrorism.