The refusal of Kashmiri separatist leaders to meet an all-party Indian parliamentary delegation led by India’s Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, that visited Kashmir on September 4-5 to strike a political solution for the strife-torn state, was hardly surprising. The separatist leaders in Kashmir, as often happens with opponents (such as the Palestinians or Iran) seem to take any willingness to negotiate as sign of weakness, and start pursuing their own agendas with even more aggression.
“They [the separatists] are not ready for it [a political solution]. They are not ready even to open their doors. They enjoy fuelling violence and getting innocents killed,” said Ram Madhav, General Secretary of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party.
If New Delhi is serious about establishing peace in the Kashmir Valley, it is futile to waste any more time with separatist leaders belonging to the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), a united front of 26 political, social and religious organizations all committed to the cause of Kashmiri independence from India. It would be naïve to entertain any hope of a positive response from them.
The history of the behaviour of APHC leaders and similar groups shows that they evidently have little interest in the values of peace, secularism and development, which are dear to India and all democratic societies. Their agenda has consistently been one of radical Islamist rule in Kashmir. Their approach during the current crisis there merely confirms this pattern. They continue to spread a message of hatred and violence against the Indian authorities by portraying them as “anti-people.”
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India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh has certainly tried to restore peace and normalcy to Kashmir. Since the July 8 killing of the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, Burhan Wani, in an encounter with India’s security forces, the region has been the scene of daily violence. The current turmoil in the Kashmir Valley is estimated to have resulted in the deaths of 66 civilians, with more than 4,600 security personnel injured.
During his second visit to the Valley on August 24-25, Singh reportedly welcomed talking with anyone in the Indian constitutional framework and emphasised the various governmental development projects and employment schemes in the Valley.
Regrettably, such efforts do not seem to be producing the desired atmosphere of peace. Militants, reportedly linked with the group Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen, based the in part of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan, apparently hid themselves among stone-throwing protesters and lobbed grenades. Some have been seen supporting the Islamic State.
Since Singh’s return from the Valley, violent protests have continued.
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When Narendra Modi became India’s prime minister two years ago, he had a mandate from the citizens behind him and his party was in power. It was assumed, therefore, that he would be able to adopt policies and programs that would foster peace and development in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been troubled ever since it became part of India in 1947. The scenario in the Kashmir Valley is, however, getting no better.
In a recent discussion on the ongoing crisis in Kashmir, a prominent member of the Indian Parliament said, “This government has miserably failed to restore peace in the Valley. There is an environment of insecurity and fear.”
Reports suggest that the right to exist, the most fundamental human right, has increasingly been in peril in the Valley. Since the killing of the dreaded Hizb-ul-Mujahideen “commander”, Burhan Wani — who allegedly had an encounter with Hafiz Saeed the notorious Pakistani terrorist leader and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks — there have been violent clashes there. Some protesters have been seen showing support for the Islamic State.
In the current crisis, forty-six people have been killed and 3,140, half of them security personnel, have been wounded.
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Indian security forces are again waging pitched battles with violent Islamists on the streets of the Muslim-majority province of Kashmir. Mobs began congregating in towns on July 9, after the customary Friday prayers, to protest the killing the previous day by Indian security forces of a prominent Islamic terrorist, Burhan Wani. The protestors waved black ISIS flags and pelted stones at riot police. The riots have so far claimed 49 lives, including 2 policemen.
The mainstream media in the West have been quick to point the finger of blame on India for using — as BBC puts it — “excessive force.” “Allegations that the forces are trigger happy in the region have been a common criticism for years,” the BBC said. The mainstream media, however, did not take into account that more than 1,500 members of the Indian police and army were injured by the mobs.
Germany’s state-run Deutsche Welle featured a Pakistan-based social media campaign that criticised the use of BB guns by Indian riot police against stone-throwing mobs of Islamists.
The New York Times criticised the Indian Army for “escalating” the situation by confronting the armed Islamic terrorists in the first place:
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