Seema Kazi on illegality of occupation and its desperation

From OpenDemocracy.org: “Kashmir: cri de coeur

“India’s war in Kashmir has, of late, acquired a particularly deadly edge. During the past six months, a disproportionately large number of teenagers and young men have been shot dead on the streets by the police or CRPF.”

“There cannot be a greater folly than to attribute the deep and overflowing reservoir of collective anger and outrage against a twenty-year-old occupation to the Machiavellian powers of a fragmented and fairly discredited separatist conglomerate. In no state, least of all in one that claims to be democratic, can the act of stone-throwing or public protest legitimise a shoot-to-kill policy. As democratic channels for dissent in Kashmir remain blocked, and the institutions meant for the protection of civilians (military and paramilitary) or the enforcement of the rule of law (police) deprive citizens of the right to life, stones, slogans and mass protest are all what the Kashmiris have to oppose and resist a shameful and scandalous state of affairs.”

“…like any other oppressed people in the world, the Kashmiri Muslims have not been cowed down by force; nor have they ceased protesting India’s democratic deficit in Kashmir. Indeed, it is precisely during these moments that India’s feeble and tenuous claims to democracy and normalcy in Kashmir are forcefully exposed. The stones cast by a young, radicalised generation of Kashmiri boys today symbolise the unequal battle between truth and power in Kashmir. The truth is that the youth who throw stones and the masses of people who march with them raising ‘anti-national’ slogans wish to be rid of Indian hegemony in their contested homeland. They want the security forces withdrawn; those languishing in jails released; the extraordinary powers vested in the military curbed; public accountability for the disappeared; prosecution for those responsible for crimes against citizens; a chance to determine their own political future; a life of freedom and dignity. In short, the truth is that the Kashmiri Muslims vehemently reject their existing relationship with the Indian state.”

“Cornered and defensive, lacking the courage and conscience expected of a mature and self-confident democracy, India has no option other than digging in and playing for time. Sadly, neither time nor history is on India’s side. No people have ever surrendered to the untruth of the abuse of power. No state has ever erased a people’s history, memory or quest for justice.”

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