The Kashmiri rebels are up against state forces and the clamor for “Azaadi” is gaining even more traction. This was expressed in no uncertain terms by the ex-head of R&AW, A. S. Daulat. In a recent interview in an Indian Newspaper, the Indian Express, the former spymaster asserted that the situation in Kashmir is getting worse and scarier for India than it was in 1990.
When asked about his take on the ground situation in the valley, he was despondent and worried.
When girls and children pelt stones boisterously then the situation is nothing but abnormal.
“Yes, the situation is turning worse. Is it worse than in 1990? My answer is yes and no. It is worse in terms of atmospherics. Because of alienation and the anger of youth, young Kashmiri minds have gone out of control,” he said.
He backed up his opinion by alluding to the fearlessness of the people to confront the Indian forces with utter disregard to their safety. He said that when girls and children pelt stones boisterously at soldiers with no care of repercussions then that situation is anything but normal.
Daulat lamented on India’s reticence to talk to Pakistan.
“I have never understood why India is afraid to talk about Kashmir with Pakistan? They have more explaining to do. I agree (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji started well. He surprised all of us by going to Pakistan. The snag here is what happened after it. The crux of the whole thing is that Pakistan is not an easy state to engage with,” he said.
Farooq Abdullah vociferously called upon India to “wake up” talk to Pakistan or lose Kashmir.
According to him, closing the window for talks gave Pakistan a way back into the mix.
“Yes, absolutely. Let me say that we have invited Pakistan back into the Valley. By October things had climbed down. Kashmiris hibernate in winter wearing firan and with their kangadsi. That’s the best time to engage Kashmiris. We didn’t,” he said.
It is noteworthy that this is not the first such claim made by someone who has been in the thick of things. In an interview with the Indian media, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah vociferously called upon India to “wake up” talk to Pakistan or lose Kashmir.
“Wake up, wake up. The situation is quite bad, and don’t tell me Pakistan is not a party to this problem. Whether you like it or not, you have to talk to Pakistan,” he said.
Will the situation stir up?
When asked if the reason for Delhi’s refusal to engage Kashmiris may be to keep Hindu nationalists of the BJP happy, he replied “Of course. You know that. I don’t want to go into it,”
The Kashmiri resistance movement has become increasingly brazen over the past one year. The death of the firebrand Burhan Wani instigated a cohesive front against the Indian armed force. Sentiments are not fizzling out but are becoming increasingly intense amidst claims of gross human rights violations by the Indian state machinery. Not only is the Indian military physically attacked but open defiance is shown by common residents of the valley.
In spite of all this India is aloof to the plight of Kashmiris. Daulat revealed that the current stance of Delhi is that the Kashmiri’s have had enough pampering. However, when asked if the reason for Delhi’s refusal to engage Kashmiris may be to keep Hindu nationalists of the Bharati Janta Party (BJP) happy, he replied “Of course. You know that. I don’t want to go into it,”
More than 3,000 security personnel from various paramilitary outfits have cordoned off two villages in Shopian and have begun a house-to-house search to “root out terrorists”.
Recently, Indian authorities have enforced measures in the valley to suppress the freedom of expression. Recently a blanket ban has been imposed on social media sites in Kashmir. Furthermore, the recalcitrance of the Indian establishment is indicated by its rejection of Turkey’s recent offer of a mediatory role in talks over Kashmir with Pakistan.
If all this was not enough to fire up the situation, India on Thursday launched a massive anti-terror operation in the valley. The operation is considered the biggest in decades. More than 4,000 security personnel from various paramilitary outfits have cordoned off two villages in Shopian and have begun a house-to-house search to “root out terrorists”, along with helicopters and drones in the air. This was an exercise last used by India in the 1990’s. They are facing resistance from the locals and clashes are breaking out sporadically in the region.
With clashes between forces and residents in full swing, hostilities are likely to continue to simmer.