Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is the world’s most militarized region where curfews, communication blackouts, cordon, and search operations, killings of innocent civilians, and abductions are part of the daily life.
It’s been almost three years since when Indian government illegally revoked the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir by scrapping Articles 370 and 35A.
Since August 2019, J&K has been under severe military deployment having no access to communication, food, and political activities. The entire political system of the valley is at a standstill. Owning to the Hindutva-driven policies of the Modi government; there is not even a single political activity within the valley.
Likewise, the Indian government has already started settling non-Kashmiri Hindus in the valley. This process has triggered a severe wave of insecurity and identity crisis, particularly for Kashmiri Muslims.
The overall security situation of the valley has drastically deteriorated. The vulnerability of the Hindus too, along with other communities is increasing which itself is a question mark on BJP’s policies regarding the improved security situation in the valley.
Due to this, people are rapidly losing their faith in the Modi government and threatening to quit their jobs if the security situation does not improve significantly. Recently, the Indian Army’s illegitimate and brutal acts have claimed the lives of Kashmiri pundits and Muslims.
These killings have triggered massive anti-government demonstrations in the valley, where people are protesting the deteriorating security situation, hurting their businesses.
In the aftermath of the massacre, protestors from the Kashmiri Pundit community in Srinagar swept the Union territory as people blocked roads, shouted slogans, and 350 employees threatened to resign from their government jobs.
The killing of a government employee in Srinagar is the latest in a string of targeted attacks on civilians over the past four months undertaken by Indian armed forces. The attacks raised questions regarding the security of more than 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims, who have been living under the brutal rule of the Modi government.
Unfortunately, Modi’s BJP has been trying to govern J&K as per the whims and wishes of Hindu nationalist organizations. For that matter, they are ignoring all political and social norms.
However, the political fraternity of J&K, such as the Gupkar Alliance and India’s mainstream political parties, are now urging the central government to restart the political process in the valley and hold state elections at the earliest.
India boosts and trumpets the false claims of normalcy and peace in J&K after the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A. The Indian government also claimed that J&K had seen substantial foreign investments from the gulf and India’s mainland.
Recently, Indian GOC 15 Corps claimed that after successful operations by Indian security forces, less than 200 (140-150) terrorists are now actively operating in J&K, and soon they will be wiped out.
Contrary to the claims of the Indian government and security forces, a letter from All PM Package employees (a scheme announced by the Modi government promising migrant Pundits for safe return and rehabilitation in J&K) has been written to the illegally appointed Lt. Governor of Kashmir threatening en-mass resignations mainly due to Indian government’s failure to ensure the safety of migrant Pundits.
The Kashmiri people believe that the targeted killings in the Kashmir valley are planned efforts by Indian security forces to justify the brutalities and illegitimate acts initiated against them.
The fact here is that the Indian government has categorically failed to provide security to the people of Kashmir and protect their businesses. It is just trying to divert the attention of local Kashmiri people and the international community by maligning Pakistan.
And this time around, Kashmiri Pundits have exposed the Indian government and its fake actions in the valley in the name of anti-insurgent operations.
Now, this is the right time for the international community to press India over its illegitimate and brutal actions in the valley and must ask them to restore the political process.
India must allow local Kashmiris to elect their government through transparent elections without New Delhi’s involvement. This is the only way to bring normalcy to the valley. In addition to this, New Delhi must also initiate comprehensive dialogues with Pakistan and Kashmiri leaders over the issue of Kashmir.
The Indian government should understand that it cannot win the hearts of the Kashmiri people by using force. The use of force will further create instability and insecurity in the valley and may also trigger a severe wave of anti-India protests.
So, it should also engage the entire Kashmiri political leadership and people for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. The solution to the Kashmir issue should be as per the whims of local Kashmiris.
No one can act against the aspirations of the Kashmiri people who have been sacrificing their lives since pre-partition. The responsibility for the implementation of resolutions of the UN to solve Kashmir disputes is with the international community and organizations.
*The writer is Islamabad based analyst
**The views expressed are the writer’s own and do not necessarily represent the policy of the institutions