The Repression of Peace

Indian oppression has given rise to a militancy that India is exploiting using its new influence on the world stage

The Repression of Peace

Tavseef Mairaj - Hamburg

In the last week of June, 8 Indian paramilitary personnel were killed in an attack on a convoy by pro-freedom militants in South Kashmir. This attack is part of the recent resurgent wave of militant strikes in Kashmir in which Indian armed personnel have been targeted. The response of the Indian state apparatus, so far, to such attacks has been increased harassment of the local population, detaining and torture of youth, and in some cases, fake encounters resulting in the killing of people declared as militants. This is something which is well known from past but what is surprising this time around is the response of the local government and the statements issued by them. Mehbooba Mufti, the Chief Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir termed the recent spate of militant attacks as 'Islamic Terrorism' willfully avoiding the issues for which the militants claim to fight for. Interestingly, the same Mehbooba Mufti was termed as a militant-sympathiser by her now coalition partners when they were not in power.

The fact that the anti-India, pro-freedom militancy in Kashmir is conflated with 'Islamic Terrorism' is not result of a mere coincidence in the current times. It is a well orchestrated game-plan of the Indian state apparatus, first to reduce the Kashmiri struggle for Right to Self Determination to being a case of violent breakaway separatism and now, at a time when a culture of fear and paranoia is being constructed to discredit Islam worldwide, to sell the struggle of Kashmiris purely as a case of terrorism to the world. India is cashing in on the paranoia worldwide. This has been acknowledged by the Prime Minister of India himself when, in an interview to a private tv channel, he remarked that now India is able to present itself as a victim of terrorism worldwide while as earlier no one acknowledged the Indian narrative. This could be a dangerous sign of the times to come.

The plans for setting up a high security prison, described to be on the lines of Guantanamo Bay prison by commentators, in Kashmir can give one an idea of the machinations of the Indian state in this regard. Given the number of youth lying in prisons at the moment and some still being arrested time and again, for charges as flimsy as as having been a friend of a militant in the past, including boys in their early teens, the intended consequences of such measures can only be imagined. This also exposes the duplicity of the state government, which tries to sell cosmetic measures like concerts, conferences, Iftaar parties as peace or peace initiatives while at the same time connives with the Hindutva regime to further strengthen the state repression apparatus.

The worst kind of mass human rights violations took place in Kashmir in the 1990s when the Indian state went all out, using every possible brutal means aided by inhuman laws, to crush the pro-freedom militancy. Although the militancy was declared clinically dead by the turn of the millennium but the sentiment was still alive in Kashmiris and the anger simmering. Militancy is on a rise once again nearly 3 decades after the first militant bullet was fired in Kashmir and this time India is even stronger, with a increasing clout worldwide. India is a huge market and even countries that had insignificant relations with India in the past are beelining to associate with India as it opens its markets to foreign investors. This may be a time to celebrate for Indians as more and more dollars come in but for Kashmiris, this moment represents a critical one in their collective destiny. To add to the woes, Kashmir's only all-weather friend Pakistan is going through, arguably, one of the weakest phases in its history, surrounded by hostile neighbours.

If one is to compare India's recent maneuvers with respect to its relations with Pakistan and with other countries in the region, we can get an idea of the deception that is at play. The Indian state portrays India as a victim of terrorism and plays a someone eager to strengthen friendship with Pakistan but at the same time ignores the core issue of Kashmir, which has been a bone of contention between the two countries since their birth. A part of this campaign was the Indian Prime Minister's invitation to his Pakistani counterpart and the surprise visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Lahore in December last year. This was also recently accepted by the Prime Minister of India himself in a TV interview. This serves to leverage India's position on the issue worldwide and hence the repression of the Indian state in Kashmir is acknowledged in the circles of power as a anti-terror measure when the powers that be use even more repressive measures to counter the 'terrorism' they face.

The deception of the Indian state may prove to be beneficial to the regime for the time being. But, in the long run, it will prove to be just like the myth of an ostrich that runs very fast but buries its head in earth when faced with danger. Covering up the realities and projecting deception as the truth doesn't change the realities; it only strengthens the resolve of the oppressed to speak out.0


Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Temmuz 2016, 17:34