The Battle between Gun and Book

The Battle between Gun and Book

Kashmiri youth are finding themselves at an intersection where not only does any destination seem too far away, but their very lives appear so meaningless that they are joining the ranks of gunmen, preferring death.
That is why in the last few years the highly educated youth of Kashmir have been taking up arms against the rule of India, despite knowing that without training and weapons they are incapable of facing the Indian Army and their death is inevitable.
In Kashmir, the Indian Army has recently admitted to killing three innocent youths from Rajouri in an “encounter” in Shopian. Kashmiri civilians are constantly suffering from search and siege operations. The international community should play its role in ending the state of siege in Kashmir and take notice of the killing of innocent Kashmiri youth by the Indian Army. The extremist Indian government with its RSS ideology is not just a threat to peace in Kashmir but in the entire world. Every region of the country is now in a state of increasing conflict.
The Hindutva policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Hindu extremist state, which has been playing bloody games with Kashmiri insurgents and unarmed youths, have brought the entire J&K and Ladakh region closer to nuclear war. Instead of giving the right to self-determination to Kashmiris, the Modi government has destroyed the region’s special constitutional status and intends to turn Muslims into a minority in their own land. The government’s plan to create Jewish-style settlements in Kashmir is no secret. The world is currently going through a process of lockdown due to the coronavirus, so it must be realising how it feels when free human beings are imprisoned in their homes. But it is still impossible for the world to imagine what it is to live in Kashmir, where people are not even allowed any means of communication and to observe their religious obligations.
The legal and constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir has been changed under a well-thought out plan. In August last year began one of the longest lockdowns faced by the people of Kashmir. It was as if they had been banned from even breathing freely. Twice in the UN Security Council, member states have met on the dire situation in Kashmir, but due to trade and sectarian interests, they are reluctant to put any sanctions on India.
Educated youth have given up their books and taken up arms for their freedom. Observers say that efforts by the Indian government to make Kashmiris second-class citizens and to settle Hindus here in the Israeli style not only instil fear in the people but also a sense of compulsion to fight for survival. These are the concerns that are attracting the youth in Kashmir to armed resistance. This freedom movement includes also Kashmiri girls, old men and women, children, and even those crippled by acts of Indian aggression. The Modi government did not consider it a disgrace to use more oppressive and vicious tactics to suppress the independence movement, but the more oppression was inflicted, the more the spirit of struggle grew among the freedom fighters. Educated youth, despite their higher education, decided to become the voice of their nation when they saw that the attitude of Hindu extremists in Kashmir was getting tougher and tougher. The youth, without caring for their lives, lit the candle of freedom with their blood. These metaphors of freedom emerged as metaphors of resistance not only for the Muslims of Kashmir, but for the repressed people all over the world.
Due to the current situation in Kashmir, normal life as well as education, health, and even the security of the people is in danger. School and college students have stones in their hands instead of books and now girls are also joining the street protests. These children know very well that they can be shot by the security forces any time.
Violence has escalated in Kashmir since 2016. As soon as people in a village hear the news that armed soldiers have arrived in the area to kill militants, they rush to rescue them. Some young people are now turning from stone throwers to gunmen. Why did this situation arise? The reason for this anger is the unfulfilled political aspiration of the people and the unending conflict in the region. All this is escalated because of military action, persistent human rights violations, and efforts to prevent peaceful demonstrations.
Violent incidents continue to plague Kashmir and the youth who are often victims of atrocities are the first to be afflicted by it. This disease can only be cured if the root causes are addressed. But the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government is hoping to crush all opposition by military action. The central government is not trying to win the trust of people so that the issue can be resolved through dialogue with them. The current situation is bubbling with despair and all alternatives seem to be vanishing.
Many educated Kashmiri youth are protesting through writing, paintings, and professional work, not with the gun. The people of Kashmir should understand how the Kashmiri youth got here and public opinion should be formed so that pressure can be put on the government to move away from its military agenda. Until that happens, violence and conflict will continue in Kashmir.
—The writer is a research scholar. darfarooz124@gmail.com
The views expressed are the writer’s and not Kashmir Reader’s

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