In a June 6 article in The Washington post, captioned ‘Why the world no longer cares about Kashmir’, eminent Indian journalist Barkha Dutt painstakingly dug out several arguments to justify her opinion, which are beyond acceptable reasoning and ground realities.
Over 70 years long Kashmiris struggle for their universal right to self-determination has proved beyond any pale that the issue will not die down even if any country, may it be Saudi Arabia or the US, sides with India in line with its global or strategic interests and compulsions.
Reasons for Kashmiris determination to endure Indian oppression have always been plenty and continue to pile up. International apathy and undeclared tacit approval of the brute force against kasmiris in fact have been instrumental in alienating the people of kashmir so much that they have given up on any support from the world powers and seem to care less as to how the powers that be perceive their struggle for their legitimate rights. This situation has given birth to a despondency especially among the youth. This indigenous movement is unlikely to die down so long as the zeal for independence remain enkindled in their hearts.
Many anti-Kashmiri propagandists like Dutt have for long tried and quite successfully kept the world believe that the popular unrest is being instigated from across the Line of Control in Pakistan. But such apologists of India’s brute use of force easily forget that international opinion is neither static nor permanent nor durable. It will one day change after global realization that people’s hearts cannot be controlled with bullets.
Barkha Dutt herself acknowledges in her opinion the desperateness of the Kashmiris: “Protesters [Kashmiris] have pelted Indian security agents with bricks and stones; schoolgirls in headscarves have joined male agitators on the street. In this new phase of militancy, educated young men are now picking up guns. The situation has caught the eye of the international media — the Economist recently urged India to start talks in Kashmir.” Writing so Dutt herself disproves the silly claim she is making about the world forgetting Kashmir.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars over Kashmir. Changing narrative about the issue will not resolve it. Rather it will tantamount to shying away from reality by sticking to the state of denial that India has adopted for 70 years. Nor will change in narrative change the situation on the streets of Kashmir where the youth are dying of India oppression, especially by India’s latest weapon for crowd management through deadly pallet guns.
Kashmiris are shedding their blood to get rig of Indian occupation. India’s overwhelming use of force through its 700,000 troops for 70 years has failed to subdue them in foreseeable future. India cannot continue its un-winnable war in Kashmir, which is a draining on its resources and is causing human miseries.
The Economist of London recently suggested India to “start talks in Kashmir.” Many countries, including Turkey and China, have expressed their readiness to mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, an offer that India has persistently rejected.
The UN, which is yet to get its resolution for a plebiscite in Kashmir, has failed to get it implemented. Whatever course is taken to resolve the Kashmir problem that must be relevant to the hopes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people. And since August 15, 1947, they have publicly expressed their cherished goal of merging Kashmir with Pakistan. Kashmiris on the very nose of the Indian army almost daily express their allegiance chanting pro-Pakistan slogans and hoisting Pakistani flag atop their houses or displaying the same in the demonstrations and processions.
The international community should honor the sentiment of the Kashmiri people. A peaceful resolution to Kashmir was genuinely prescribed in UN resolutions that call for holding free and fair plebiscite under UN supervision. India welcomed UN resolutions at the time of its passage but has unsuccessfully tried to resolve the issue militarily. Thankfully, even writers like Barkha Dutt with their jaundiced worldview, cannot resist to acknowledge that there is no military solution to the problem. “There is no military solution and India will have to develop a dialogue mechanism to talk to rage-filled disenchanted Kashmiris.” But a dialogue with Kashmiris will not be enough until Pakistan is part of it because lasting peace in the region will come only when India, Pakistan and Kashmiris reach a settlement on the future of the region that is most militarized in the world.
India knows that war with Pakistan will be disastrous and will bring misery rather than peace to the region, because both countries have growing stockpiles of nuclear weapons. To avert a nuclear war in South Asia, the international community should respond to the cries and agony of Kashmiris and honor their hopes and aspiration by putting pressure on India to come to negotiations table for a meaningful just settlement. If the crisis in Sudan can be resolved by carving our South Sudan and if East Taimor can gain independence because of international mediation, why can’t the same diplomatic effort bear results in Kashmir? The unresolved Kashmir issue is the biggest challenge for world conscience and international diplomacy and which cannot be ignored any longer.
*The contributor is a journalist & researcher who can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org