Monday, May 15, 2017

Fanatics Countering Fanatics

"The situation is worse in terms of atmospherics, because the alienation and anger of young Kashmiris is now out of control."
"There is a sense of hopelessness with villagers, students and even schoolgirls coming out onto the streets. This has never happened in the past."
Amarjit Dulat, (former) head, Research and Analysis Wing, Srinagar, India

"The wave of Hindu fanaticism sweeping across India is hardening postures in Kashmir."
"There are no moderates espousing peace left in Kashmir any more. Mentally, we are all militants."
Khurram Parvez, human-rights activist, Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Liberty

"This clampdown could trigger a blowback that will only aggravate anti-India sentiment in Kashmir."
"It will only exacerbate the challenge of containing Kashmir's spiralling violence."
Brigadier General Rahul Bhonsie (retired), Strategic Foresight Asia, New Delhi
The emergent generation of stone-pelting young Kashmiris are calling the new wave of protests an 'Intifada', writes Hussain [EPA]
The emergent generation of stone-pelting young Kashmiris are calling the new wave of protests an 'Intifada'   [EPA]

India and Pakistan have fought three wars; two of those wars involving the nuclear-armed adversaries -- whose conflicts have remained in the realm of conventional warfare, but given the nuclear arsenals both warehouse, the world waits with bated breath for Pakistan to somehow trigger a conflict from which neither country could recover -- relate to each claiming the right to fully possess Kashmir, the mountainous state in the Himalaya.

Because Kashmir is majority Muslim-populated Pakistan believes it should be handed over from India to Pakistan. Pakistan and Bangladesh were once part of India. In 1947 both countries signed an agreement allowing Pakistan to separate from India; that separation caused the madness of religious hatred between Hindus and Muslims to be unleashed and hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Hindus died in a paroxysm of violence at Partition when the two populations switched.
Sept. 19, 1947: Muslim refugees sit on the roof of an overcrowded coach railway train near New Delhi in trying to flee India. Millions of Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan. Partition marked a massive upheaval across the subcontinent. Hindus living for generations in what was to become Pakistan had to flee their homes overnight. —AP/file
September 1947: Muslim refugees on the roof of an overcrowded coach railway rain near New Delhi attempting to flee India. Millions of Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan when Partition marked a massive upheaval across the subcontinent as Hindus living for generations in what was to become Pakistan were forced to flee their homes overnight. AP Files

The same kind of bloody conflict ensued when Bangladesh demanded its sovereignty and separation from Pakistan. In 1989 an insurgency began in Kashmir which India has placed blame for on Pakistan. Logically enough, since Pakistan always seems to precipitate violent unrest in the geography; its vicious hostility to India has brought the two countries to the brink of war often enough. Pakistan's cultivation of Islamist terrorist groups, inciting bloody attacks on India have been numerous.

But India too has its ardently religious fanatics, and lately, under the rule of nationalist Hindu Prime Minister Narendra Modi, virulently orthodox Hindus have been accusing Indian Muslims of criminal activity for butchering cattle for consumption. For Hindus cattle are considered sacred. For Muslims they represent food. Attacks by fanatical Hindus against Muslim cattle-herders and butchers have been roiling the nation.

And in Kashmir, teenage Muslim schoolgirls in Srinagar have increasingly begun what in the West Bank of 'Palestine' is called an Intifada; attacks by Arab Muslims against Jewish Israeli citizens in the Middle East, fighters for Muslim sovereignty of Kashmir in the Indian subcontinent. "Is it not better to die challenging the situation once and for all than to live with it and die a slow death every day?", one 14-year-old Muslim Kashmiri girl's rhetoric of dramatic purple prose posed.

Schoolgirls carrying backpacks with their schoolbooks, hurl rocks at Indian soldiers. Surrounding an Indian army armoured vehicle, kicking the doors, a group of schoolgirls called for the security personnel within the vehicle to fire on them. Clashes between Indian security forces in Srinagar and the local Muslim population can occur with flashpoint unexpectedness. The stability of normal life can suddenly evaporate and rock-hurling students erupt against security forces.

A mirror-image of what so frequently occurs in Israel with the Palestinian Authority spurring young Palestinians to do their duty of 'resistance' against the 'occupation'. Stoning by Muslim youth appears to be genetically inherited as a public and social pastime. The civil disobedience movement gripping a majority of Muslim Kashmiris expands "exponentially", a security official in charge of Kashmir stated. "There is an overwhelming sense of siege in Kashmir and levels of isolation amongst locals have peaked", he warns.

The Indian military is in no mood to sit back at this point and just allow tensions to mount and perhaps fizzle. Random searches by the Indian army are guaranteed to further inflame Kashmir's Muslims. What has occasioned the searches was the kidnap and murder of a Kashmiri army subaltern. The "sweep operations" by the army, warn military analysts could become counterproductive, triggering furious militancy.

Again a repeat of what Hamas in Gaza, for example has engaged in; abducting Israeli soldiers, sending rockets from Gaza into Israel, provoking the Israeli Defence Forces to retaliate and invade. Now it's India's turn. Israel has a million and a half Palestinian Muslims living in the country as citizens. India's population of 1.3 billion includes 15 percent Muslim citizens. The population mix is reversed in Kashmir.

And Pakistan which controls a third of Kashmir denies inciting for a "Kashmir freedom struggle", claiming its only contribution to that struggle is moral, diplomatic and political support. Indeed.

#Kashmir protests against India erupt after #KulgamEncounter

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