In a recent TV interview, I told the host “You can not silence a people forever,” and the day will come when the people of Kashmir will rise up. The chronic social suffering of an entire population–eight million people imprisoned by occupation–is a human rights violation. What makes this situation so intolerable is the ongoing statement by the Indian State that militants are on the rise and clashes with radicals justifies the forced isolation of the entire valley.
Madmen, militants and a majestic military battle one another on the world’s highest battlefield at 20,000 feet. Why they fight is a question many ask, and yet, the answer is simple. Militants fight against state oppression. And the Army fights to control the militants. It’s a never-ending cycle of violence that has damaged the innocent, non-violent and peaceful people of the valley.
In Kashmir, ongoing human rights abuses and an endless torrent of violence is a valid justification. As more young men become militants, and die as martyrs (i.e., killed by Indian forces), others will follow. In 2018, a police commander said, “I’ll be honest. For every militant we kill, more are joining.”
What triggers violence? Is there a single event?
When I give lectures, these are the questions I ask my audiences to consider when trying to understand the context of violence. What is happening in Kashmir to create an uptick in militant recruitment? In 2016, a new generation of Kashmiris turned to armed rebellion. Many of the new recruits came from South Kashmir, including Burhan Wani, whose death sparked mass resistance.
My new books on Kashmir address the rise of militancy in Kashmir and the oppressive, brutal tactics used against Kashmiris by the Army.