Tuesday, 23 August 2016
Kashmir Conflict - The New Generation Also Rises, by Gowhar Geelani
This new generation in Kashmir is on a mission to challenge India on all fronts. And, more importantly, seeks to counter the mighty Indian state without seeking Pakistan’s moral, diplomatic, political or financial assistance. It is Kashmir’s indigenous narrative that has basically unnerved India. What we are witnessing is a renewed indigenous rebellion on Kashmir’s streets. Yes, Kashmir’s “romantic rebellion,” where an almost romantic notion of freedom and love for the land is combined with combative resistance. It found its poster-boy in Burhan Wani, who was killed by the government forces recently in mysterious circumstances in south Kashmir’s Kokernag area in Anantnag district, some 70 kms from Srinagar.
In the absence of any political engagement with public representatives like the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a section of the Kashmiri youth believes that it can alter the political status quo by resorting to the gun. Then there are those who believe that they have to fight India with whatever they have at their disposal, even if it be a stone. Every stone hurled at Indian soldiers – “symbols of occupation” – is a political expression of the Kashmiris’ challenge to the Indian state’s authority in Kashmir.
Soon enough, the 15-year-old schoolboy, who was not regular with his prayers would bathe twice a day and apply gel to style his hair, became a poster-boy of Kashmir’s new tide of rebellion.
Moreover, once it formed the government in March 2015 ,under the late Mufti Sayeed’s leadership, it promised reconciliation with Pakistan and talks with the Hurriyat. But there was no progress on these fronts. After Mufti’s demise in January 2016, his daughter,Mehbooba Mufti took over as chief minister in March. A series of controversial decisions were taken by her government, which included proposals like settling migrant Kashmiri Pandits in “composite townships” and constructing “separate colonies” for former soldiers. Kashmiris likened these proposals to Israeli-style settlements. Mehbooba Mufti, who was seen visiting the families of slain militants to offer condolence in her first stint in power, was in charge of an operation to “neutralise” Burhan Wani in a questionable encounter. Now the PDP MLAs are running for cover.