Amy Kazmin from Srinagar

From Financial Times: “Kashmir loses faith in ‘Princeling’

“Omar Abdullah, the youthful, articulate scion of one of south Asia’s pre-eminent political dynasties, raised hopes of healing and progress when he was elected last year as chief minister of India’s conflict-scarred state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Now those hopes lie in tatters, as disillusioned Kashmiri youths armed with stones fight daily street battles against heavily armed Indian security forces in a wave of feverish anti-India protests that have rocked the Muslim-majority region.

“A lot of these political princelings think their own good intentions are a substitute for governance and hard political decisions,” said Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president of New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research.

“It’s ‘I am a nice guy, I care for the poor’,” said Mr Mehta. “In a sense, your virtue becomes your policy. But beyond a point, nobody cares about your virtue.”

“He knows Kashmir from the books he has read . . . but he doesn’t have a grip on the real thing,” said Arif Ayaz Parrey, a Kashmiri lawyer involved in reconciliation efforts in the disputed region.

“Kashmiris have been trained by experience to always contest government versions of events. That he doesn’t share that sentiment creates a basic disconnect.”

Mr Abdullah’s efforts to push New Delhi to repeal laws granting immunity to the military for human rights abuses in Kashmir have also faced stiff resistance.

“New Delhi is basically just not budging on that,” Mr Mehta said. “And he is not such a big authority figure that others move when he speaks.”

Meanwhile, security force abuses have continued. A high-ranking border patrol officer was arrested this year for the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy who booed passing troops, while an army colonel was relieved of duty and a major suspended for allegedly killing three Kashmiri civilians, claiming they were foreign militants.”


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