Maleeha Lodhi in Pakistan

From The News: “The Past as Present

“Chants of freedom resonated throughout the Valley—at the funerals of the martyred, in the mosques, in hospital compounds and at public rallies in towns and villages. This stressed the unchanged reality of Kashmir where every protest morphs into the popular demand for an end to Indian occupation. This pattern has repeated itself with ever greater intensity and is exemplified by the widespread mass protests last year and even bigger ones in 2008. That it takes but a spark to set off a storm of anti-India protest belies New Delhi’s claim that state elections have “settled” the Kashmir issue.”…

“…the protests reinforce a new phase in the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination which started with the popular protests of 2008. In a context where militant violence has ebbed, the decades-old freedom movement has increasingly been transforming itself into a peaceful civil disobedience campaign. The mass protests in three consecutive years attest to the fact that the Kashmiri resistance is increasingly assuming the shape of a popular, non-violent movement. This has made it much harder for the Indian authorities to demonise or de-legitimise it, and even harder for them to blame the unrest on militants or Pakistan’s intervention.”…

“…the Indian government has continued to resort to force to deal with the situation. This points to the most enduring feature of the Kashmiri landscape: the infrastructure of repression and control that is mobilised and deployed to staunch mass protests when they re-erupt.”

“The culture of oppression spawned over decades of Indian occupation remains in place even though militant violence is at its lowest point since the uprising began in 1989, according to the Indian authorities themselves.”

“For the third successive year young Kashmiris have shown a resolve to orchestrate their own “referendum” and intensify their call for India to abandon its occupation.”

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