Kashmir is back in the news and once again a potential powder-keg with most blaming India for the newest cycle of violence in a region that has been omnipresent since India and Pakistan became separate nations. Many believe that the rise in recent violence demonstrates the paranoia of Indian politicians as well as the limits of the world’s largest democracy.

Kashmir
Image source: Kashmir by Ole Holbech – Flickr

Violence forces curfews while swamping hospitals

While civilian deaths have open sparked violence in the region, the most recent spate of deaths, was the result of the killing of Kashmir militant Burhan Wani. Since just July 9, it’s believed that 32 people have died in the violence with about 30 having been killed by the police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The largest hospital in Srinagar, Sri Mahraja Hari Singh Hospital, is struggling to keep up with the flow of people injured in the violence had have declared an emergency.

While Kashmir has been under curfew, many are defying this order and finding themselves seeking medical attention following their refusal to stay shuttered in their homes.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah believes that killing of Wani may proved to be the match that sets off the region. Past violence has been sparked by a number of factors but not the killing of a single militant which has seen large numbers of people demonstration against Indian control of the region.

The uprising of 2008 in the region was the result of Governor SK giving a large tract of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) sparking unrest that led to hundreds of deaths and distrust between the people of Kashmir and Jammu.

In 2010, Kashmir once again erupted in violence when three civilians were killed in one is believed to have been a staged attacked on the army in Machil area in the Kupwara district. This led to a protest where student Tufail Mattu which caused more anger and anti-India sentiment that left over 130 people dead and thousands more injured.

Pakistan seeks international support for the region

Pakistan made appeals to each of the permanent members of the United Nations Security of Tuesday while asking India to “respect human rights” in the often war-torn valley in a heavily disputed region.

The Pakistan Foreign Office said that Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, spoke with diplomats from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China.

“He (Chaudhry) expressed Pakistan’s serious concern over the brutal killings of civilians and violation of their other fundamental human rights by the Indian security forces,” it said in a statement.

According to the statement, Chaudrey urged the envoys to call on India for a transparent investigation of the 30 deaths by police and paramilitary forces and asked the members of the Security Council UN Security Council “to take notice of the gravity of the situation, call on India to respect human rights” and to force India to adhere to resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir passed by the United Nations.

Chaudhry also attempted to debunk India’s belief that the situation in Kasmir is an “internal affair” and told the security council members that “the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir is awaiting the implementation of the United Nation’s Security Council resolutions.”

Acknowledging that the killing of Burhan Wani has sparked the demonstrations and the death in the region he pointed out that “killings of innocent Kashmiri people could not be condoned under the pretext of terrorism” adding that “the just struggle of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination” is certainly not terrorism.

“Such inhumane and oppressive measures cannot deter the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand of exercising their right to self-determination in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.

The 22-year-old Wani, for the most part, chose the sword in his fight and was allows likely to die a violent death. However, many would argue that he was more a “poster boy militant” than an actual fighter and his work was mostly done as a figurehead or the face of a resistance movement.

Over 200,000 people attended his funeral and India certainly can’t think each of those in attendance could be called militants or terrorists.

“Mark my words. Burhan’s ability to recruit into militancy from the grave will far outstrip anything he could have done on social media,” said the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah and that is certainly something India should have thought about prior to ordering his death if the region is to survive this latest round of violence in the region.