Kashmir: A new intifada
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Anti-India protests and clashes erupted in the main city of Srinagar in India-held Kashmir after three Kashmiri suspected separatists were killed in a gun battle with government forces on Wednesday.

According to police, the fighting began overnight after Indian troops raided western Radbugh village following a tip that “militants” were hiding there.

The gunfight lasted the whole night and three suspected separatists were killed early Wednesday.

Authorities imposed curfew in the old parts of Srinagar anticipating protests and clashes opposing Indian rule as two of the deceased were natives of the city.

However, as the news of their killing spread, residents defied the restrictions and pelted stones at police forces.

Read more: Human rights abuses in Indian Occupied Kashmir

The Indian authorities responded with brute force violating the human rights. The use of pellet guns and the brutal killings of unarmed protestors were widely condemned by the international community.

The recent unrest in Kashmir has its origins in 2016 when Burhan Wani was killed which led to large-scale protests against the Indian rule. The Indian authorities responded with brute force violating the human rights. The use of pellet guns and the brutal killings of unarmed protestors were widely condemned by the international community.

Who was Burhan Wani and how was he killed?

Wani was a commander of the group Hizbul Mujahideen and was killed in an encounter by police on 8 July 2016.

The 22-year-old was gunned down in his hometown Tral in southern Kashmir, along with two other militants, in what has been described by officials as the “biggest success against militants” in recent years. Wani was well-known on social media among the youth in the region.

Aftermath of the killing

Kashmir has been at the center of an intense struggle between India and Pakistan for decades.

While Indian authorities in Kashmir labeled him an extremist, his supporters called him a rebel leader. Since he was killed, the rise in violence and separatist sentiment across the Jammu and Kashmir state has been witnessed. Kashmir has been at the center of an intense struggle between India and Pakistan for decades. It resulted in numerous wars between the two nuclear-armed countries.

An outpouring of grief and anger flowed on the streets of Kashmir after his death that led to months of clashes with security forces. The clashes have claimed hundreds of lives so far.

Read more: Unrest in Indian held Kashmir

The future of Kashmiri freedom struggle

If the root of the problem is the alienation of the Kashmiri people from India, then state repression can only make things worse.

The current Kashmiri intifada indicates that Kashmiris have had enough of the decades-long Indian rule. The government of India’s sledgehammer response to the peaceful struggle for freedom by Kashmiris, aside from being inhuman, does nothing to solve the problem. If the root of the problem is the alienation of the Kashmiri people from India, then state repression can only make things worse. It also undermines Kashmir’s peaceful traditions and pushes Kashmiri youngsters towards armed resistance and radical Islamist groups. The possible consequences, not only for Kashmir but also for India, are too horrible to contemplate.

India has turned Kashmir into a killing zone. The presence of more than 700,000 Indian army personnel and well over a 100,000 police and other security officials indicates that things in the picturesque valley are far from normal. The oppressive attitude of Indian forces towards the Kashmiri people has only exacerbated the problem for Indian policy makers.

Read more: Breaking inertia on Kashmir

Kashmir has once again become a geopolitical tool for world powers. The US designated Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist much to the chagrin of Pakistan. While China and Iran have reiterated their support for the oppressed Kashmiris. Amid the high power politics, the Kashmir cause and the Kashmiri people may end up bearing the wrath of Indian State.

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