Amit Baruah

From BBC: Why Kashmir is again on the edge?

“Whether they are being listened to or not, the people of Indian-administered Kashmir have been making a point every day for the past two months – they are tired of the status quo.

Twenty years after massive peaceful protests on the streets of the Kashmir Valley were superseded by violence, the people have hit the streets again – and not without good reason.

There has been a depressing cycle of protests, death, violence at funerals and more deaths.

And across Indian-administered Kashmir ordinary people – children, women and men – have been taking on police personnel.

What are their grievances?

And this year has been characterised by a seemingly never-ending series of street protests.

The approaching month of Ramadan may be the only thing that will dampen violence that has been raging since June.

“What we are seeing is a massive eruption of discontent that can turn into an insurgency,” Wajahat Habibullah, a former chief secretary of Indian-administered Kashmir, told the BBC.

“Not a single thing has come by way of autonomy to the people of Kashmir,” Anuradha Bhasin, executive editor of the Kashmir Times newspaper, told me.

The government of India is lucky that the international focus on Kashmir is virtually non-existent.

Some years ago, this would have been a big issue. British Prime Minister David Cameron did not use the K word (Kashmir) during his recent trip to India, but instead chose to talk about Pakistan.

In the 1990s, Western countries would often refer to the disputed nature of the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

But, in the post-9/11 world, militancy has lost its sheen.

The one-time champion of the Kashmiri cause, Pakistan, whose intelligence agencies propped up militant groups in the 1990s, has also lost much of its international credibility.

In short, much of the world is not interested in Kashmir or the Kashmiris.

The expansion of the Indian economy is another reason why the world does not want to anger Delhi.

Indian officialdom can be quick to take offence and Western officials now seem to want to accommodate Delhi on Kashmir.

In the end, it is not international attention (or the lack of it) that should govern Delhi’s Kashmir policy.

The world’s largest democracy (sic) , and its civil society, must understand that stones cannot be met indefinitely by more bullets.

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