Sun. Aug 18th, 2019

Highway Ban: What India Gained ?


In the entire history, the people of Kashmir valley remained oppressed and suppressed whether it were Afghans, Sikhs, Dogra’s and today’s political leaders.In 1947, the forcible merger of princely states with Indian union perceived a sense of desertion, alienation and pervasive under development have led to the clamour of separatism from the state. Similarly, the demand for justice and self-determination turned the valley towards insurgency after the stiff state elections in 1989. For India, the insurgency in Kashmir valley was merely a proxy war assisted by Pakistan and both the countries experienced major wars, countless armed skirmishes and extensive cross-border communal violence, resulting in more than one million casualties, and enormous amounts of resources diverted towards security. To overwhelm the threat, counterinsurgency and measures of securitization revealed in the Kashmir Valley. The extraordinary measures like arbitrary power, military capabilities and polarity to deal against the threat. The imposition of laws like Public Safety Act, 1978, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1978, Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Area Act, 1990 and Armed Force Special Power Act, 1990 were legislated that empowered the security forces to take prompt action.
Sarmila Bose argues that Kashmir conflict not only inflicts unspeakable sufferings on all its people, but it also affects the well being of the rest of India. it weakens India’s constitutional structure, pollutes the political system, drains the economy, misplaces the security forces, destabilizes the regional and international relations and destroys India’s moral position in the world community (The Telegraph, April 5, 1996). From 14th February 2019, the entire discourse changed in the context of Kashmir valley. India started the catch and kill policy that was applied in 1993. However, due to criticism from the international community, India started other ways to impose threat among Kashmiris. The Pulwama attack proved costly entirely for Kashmir people, whether they stayed at home or outside the state. The Kashmiri students, businessman and traders were ruthlessly beaten in most states of India. the question arises why so-called nationalist went on a rampage when a soldier gets killed in the Kashmir and why not in Naxalite attack in dethawed Chhattisgarh. Is Kashmir a laboratory and Kashmiri test tubes?
After Pulwama attack, the students in various universities were harassed by the AVBP goons through physically as well as mentally. One side, they continuously keep surveillance the social media of Kashmiri students, while on the other side, they remain posting against Kashmir and Kashmiris, so that to infuriate them and they should get a way to harass them further. 250 students were asked to leave the college in Uttarakhand, 14 students were suspended in Aligarh Muslim University on posting on social media, 02 girls were suspended in Rajasthan on Facebook post, shops of Kashmiri shawl traders were looted in Bihar, Kashmiri businessman was beaten in Kolkata, dry fruit street vendor was beaten by RSS/VHP goons in Lucknow. In Universities, not only students but even professors campaigned against Kashmiri scholars. The case of the Central University of Gujarat, where not only some AVBP students wrote on social media against Kashmiri students, but even assistant professors in Economics and English Literature threw bad words against the students studying there. One of them, who is working as an assistant professor in economics called Kashmiri students as anti-nationals, suggested that emergency should be imposed in Kashmir and even said that there is no need of universities in Kashmir.
Inside Kashmir, the people were ruthlessly beaten on roads in revenge of Pulwama attack. In the village, where this attack happened, most of the windowpanes of the houses were destroyed. Besides that, the central government introduced the UAPA 2008 and detained thousands of youth were illegally detained. As per locals, a threat was being created by the security forces. Even at night, the security forces crackdown the villages and beat the youth and detain them. On the other side, the governor of Kashmir imposed the ban on 271 km national highway from Udhampur to Baramulla on Sunday and Wednesday in a week becomes a headache to the people of Kashmir. As per news sources, this matter was discussed between the chief secretary of the state and New Delhi and the army was not kept in the loop. The home minister Rajnath Singh justifies it and said security forces are working for nation and nations needs to secure them. The one thing that Rajnath Singh forget that India justified their colonial rule in Kashmir by saying that Indian army saved from Pakistani Tribals and now Kashmiri’s are being used to save them. The question arises why Kashmirismust pay for it.
There are reports that due to this highway ban, there is a loss not only in business, but it had impacted the education sector too. As per state authorities, school buses and ambulances are allowed, but on the ground, the security forces who are monitoring the highway did not allow anyone to use the highway. Recently, a person who was going to be married on Sunday must take permission from a magistrate for using the highway to get his bride. In the notice, it was allowed on the condition that there would be frisking from the side of security forces and cooperate in it. Is it not the forms of Nazism that Indian authorities are imposing in the Kashmir valley? Recently, a cancer patient was also stopped from moving in an ambulance on the highway to the movement of CRPF convoy. The patient died on the way. Even after seeing the patient in the ambulance, the security forces halted the vehicle for 25 minutes, which became a reason for his death. From the last two weeks, hundreds of stories from patients, students went viral on social media. Even the mainstream parties filed PIL against highway ban and staged protest it. However, the state authority did not hear towards it. The common question of Kashmiri to India is that claiming Kashmir as atoot aang means that you treat us like slaves. Is your passion Kashmiri land or Kashmiri people? By using the colonial restrictions, India is alienating the people and through these methods, India cannot win the hearts and minds of the people of Kashmir. Imposing highway ban indicts that India treats Kashmir as a colony and are imposing colonial rules in the state, as Germany did it in Poland. However, India should remember that colonial powers do not stay too long. Instead of imposing an inhumane restriction, try to win the hearts and minds of people through love, not hate.

(The author is a research scholar at the Centre for Gandhian Thought and Peace Studies School of Social Sciences Central University of Gujarat Gandhinagar. Views are his own


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