Saturday, August 07, 2010

India / Kashmir

Kashmir Burns Again as India Responds to Dissent with Violence
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent, August 7, 2010
Photo: "Srinagar residents burn an effigy of Omar Abdullah, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir." (AP)
"[...] Once again, Kashmir is burning. Buildings and barricades have been set alight and its people are enflamed. The largest towns are packed with heavily-armed police and the hospital wards are full of young men with gunshot wounds. Around 50 people have been killed since June, more than 31 in the last week alone, and dozens more have been wounded. The dead include young men, teenagers and even a nine-year-old boy, reportedly beaten to death by the security forces after he tried to walk to the local shop. And yet for all their pain, the people of Kashmir believe they are suffering alone. They say that unlike places such as Kosovo or East Timor, which both secured independence in recent years, the world is deaf to Kashmir's demands for autonomy. They blame the US and UN for not doing more and criticise Britain's David Cameron for refusing to raise the issue of Kashmir when he visited India last month, declining to upset his hosts, with whom he was seeking to boost trade and investment deals, even as he bluntly criticised Pakistan for exporting terror. ...
Kashmir has long been troubled with violence and the previous two summers saw clashes between stone-throwers and the police. Yet some observers detect that these recent protests are different. More people have taken to the streets -- women and the middle classes among them -- and protesters have seemingly been more ready to accept the police's bullets as the price for their struggle to break away from the Indian state. Moreover, the spirit of optimism and hope that existed after a young, idealist politician, Omar Abdullah, became chief minister 18 months ago, has disappeared. Some suggest Kashmir is witnessing an uprising. [...]"

1 comment:

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