Ben Arnoldy in Srinagar

From Christian Science Monitor: Intifada Comes to Kashmir

Since witnessing the beating of two men in the street last month by paramilitaries, one young Kashmiri, at work on a science doctorate, has joined the ranks of a new rock-throwing youth uprising.

“I felt proud that I did not remain silent like our elders,” he says.

This summer, hundreds of “rock pelters” ages 6 to 30 have clashed with security forces across Indian-controlled Kashmir.

These young men are determined to be the generation that wins self-determination for Kashmiris.

Heavy-handed police tactics have turned youths into rock throwers and devoted adherents of a once-fading Kashmiri separatist movement.

After more than 60 years of separatist conflict in the disputed region of Kashmir, where India, Pakistan, China, and the Muslim-majority people of Kashmir wrestle for control, it’s clear to these youths that guns aren’t the way. Instead, they have turned to rocks and nonviolent protests in an effort to send a message to India that Kashmiris are serious about autonomy.

“We know what India did in the ’90s. We had an armed struggle going on in Kashmir. That was quite unproductive for us,” says the doctoral student. “Why is there stone throwing all around Kashmir? We have no other way. We cannot hold any demonstrations.”

Police say they must stop rallies before they turn into rock-pelting mobs, while the rock pelters say they throw stones because they cannot rally and, when they do, innocents are killed by the police.”


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