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Kashmir, a silent volcano, needs a trigger

Ishfaqullah Shawl

“We want freedom, our demand freedom,” are slogans chanted by every Kashmiri in the Vale of Kashmir not today but it is decades old demand of Kashmiri nation.
India despite giving Kashmiris their democratic right of self-determination revokes special status of Kashmir, by abrogating Article 370 and 35 A and putting the already tense region at volcano which is about to burst sooner or later and cause huge dent to India as well as entire South-Asia. Modi Government locked down and imposed worst curfew in Kashmir, but how India silence the voice of Kashmiris for a long-time by pushing Kashmiris to the wall. Kashmiris are coming out to protest and will continue the process and then India cannot afford stopping Kashmiris.   Then India have no narrative to sold in the international community as excuse of Pakistan’s intervention in           Kashmir automatically dies as Pakistan is standing with India in its move of abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A on the direction of uncle SAM Mr. Trump. Though Pakistani civil and military leadership is trying to put some new narrative on sale but era of social media is a big hurdle.
All what happened on August 5, was well known to Pakistani Government and the delegation met Trump during its US Yarta, But not known why everything was put under the rug and on which assurances given by Uncle SAM on his own and Modi’s behalf to Pakistan leadership, which kept mum.
Now India has given Kashmiri nation a chance to build their struggle indigenously and it must remind the era of 1990 when every Kashmiri was on roads and million-strong peaceful demonstrations in shape of “Chrar e Sharif Chalo March”, “Zakoora March”, “Gaw Kadal carnage” and others were taken out. These peaceful demonstrations of sane Kashmiris had given a jolt to world conscience as well as Indian civil society.
Indian policy planners have started thinking of leaving Kashmir. At that time some hidden hands from across the divide came forward to rescue India. But now that force will not be able to rescue India as Modi himself pushed Kashmiris to wall and current situation and silence of Pakistani Government forced Kashmiris to think for an indigenous movement.
For the sake of freedom Kashmiris sacrificed thousands of lives and literally, (Peer e Waer) land of saints and also known as (jannat e arzi) Paradise of earth, was converted into hell for its people. More than 700,000 Indian Army and para-military forces were present in Kashmir since 1990 and reinforced by more than 70,000 armed forces personnel. This reinforcement was in view of Modi Government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and 35 A of Indian Constitution. It was a move pre-planned by Modi to send more force and impose a complete lock-down in Kashmir to avoid any resistance of Kashmiri nation. Before August 5 Kashmiris were kept in dark.
It is well known to world that Kashmiris were striving for more than last seven decades for their right of self-determination as enshrined in the Charter of United Nations and in the resolutions of the UN, its security council and other organs, but this so called conscience keeper institution failed to resolve Kashmir issue.
During last 17 days Kashmiri valley looks as if it has been emptied of its citizens: Instead of being crowded with civilians, the streets are awash with armed soldiers; instead of traffic jams at intersections, there are spools of concertina wire. People remain inside their homes with no phone, Internet or cable TV service.
A reporter in his story talked about Srinagar’s Soura neighborhood, which has emerged as the center of protests, life has been reduced to prayers and protests. Men, women and children gather every day to shout against the “Indian occupation.” Some days, the crowd swells to the thousands; on other days, only a few hundred come out.
One must know, if not Indian and Pakistan leadership, Kashmir is like a silent volcano and Kashmiris were provoked to react with violence and all it needs is a trigger.
Kashmiris, again and again are asking why the government’s move was necessary at a time when things seemed to be improving in the disputed region or why there had been no dialogue with the people affected. It was a question for which I had no answer.
Sane people in both India and Pakistan are raising hue and cry against this Indian barbaric move but the situation on both sides is similar as in both country’s freedom of expression was snatched and media in all forms was kept under the barrels of guns and no sane voice is being allowed to say a word.  But the political pundits are of the view that India itself gives Kashmiris a chance to revisit their movement. Give it a new shape and particularly Kashmiris living abroad means Kashmiri Diaspora must give up all the difference and with the active support of sane people world over come forward to obtain freedom.

The writer is a working journalist and regular column writer and can be reached on [email protected]

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