The recurring bouts of Kashmir violence that had seemed to have reached an ebb over the past weeks, were roused with a tumultuous roar with what is reported as one of the more vicious cases of Indian aggression in India-held Kashmir. It is a testament of the imperative self-determination of the people where residents took to the streets across southern Kashmir shouting slogans demanding an end to Indian rule. The ensuing coercive quelling by government forces who fired live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas speaks to the brutality assumed by the government forces to suppress the voices of dissent and should be condemned globally.
The tragedy that is unfolding in the region is disastrously reminiscent of the uproar that erupted in the wake of Burhan Wani’s death. The incident similarly provoked violent protests calling for a shutdown in Kashmir, rousing mob violence in a citywide revolt that left the region paralysed, with Indian security forces opening fire on the protesters. In anticipation of similar uprisings, India has deployed more than 500,000 soldiers in the restive region to tackle rising militancy as civilian support for the separatists grows, a measure that will ultimately translate in repeated atrocious crackdown on separatists and civilians alike raising the death toll in the tremulous region.
Similar to the aftermath of Wani’s death and the protests that followed, the Indian government has resorted to a ruthless clampdown, imposing curfews and shutting off mobile internet services in much of the disputed region. Where the leadership of separatists is inciting people to march to the chief minister’s office, the events that are unfolding will most likely end in further massacre and violent repression. While Pak-India ties were reaching a much needed thawing, the violence, while deeply condemnable should not be allowed to inflame the tenuous progress between the countries. Concomitantly the totalitarian Indian rule in the region must be brokered with the demands of the Separatists before it spirals out of control.