Decision to invoke Balochistan shows that government has run out-of-ideas on Kashmir

The Big Story: Intransigent India

It’s the sixth week of curfew in Kashmir and on Tuesday, the Central Reserve Paramilitary Force open fire on Kashmiri protestors, killing five and injuring 18. While the CRPF claims that the protestors were stoning their convoy, the Kashmiri victims said that this was revenge for not allowing the Indian flag to be hoisted in Aripanthan village on Independence Day .

That an alleged incident on Independence Day could lead to such bloodshed is a sign of how dire things are. Security forces have already killed 65 civilians in the protests since militant Burhan Wani was killed on July 8. In fact, pushed to a wall and deeply unpopular, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti has herself taken to blaming security forces. In her Independence Day speech, reported the Hindustan Times, she made the shocking charge that security forces had used Kashmiri civilians as shields in operations against militants in the 1990s.

Unfortunately, things seem set to get even worse with the Union government, giving out clear signals that it is not interested in calming tempers or solving the issue. It is, on the other hand, sparring with Pakistan by raising the Balochistan issue – a move that might embarrass Islamabad but will do little to ensure peace in Kashmir.

In fact, attitudes among a majority of Indians now seem to have hardened to a point where any peace overtures in Kashmir would be painted as suspect. On August 15, the Bengaluru Police filed sedition charges against human rights group Amnesty International for simply holding a discussion seminar on Kashmir. That the Indian state needs to now use the colonial-era sedition law to shut down all speech on Kashmir is maybe a sign that any hint of peace is a long way off.

The Big Scroll

"Things got heated but not threatening": An eyewitness account of Amnesty's contentious Kashmir meet.
Why the Mehbooba flag fiasco is symbolic of the collapse of the state machinery in Kashmir, says Ajoy Bose. Also, so grim is the situation in Kashmir that even the opposition is co-operating with the BJP.

Political Picks

Villagers in Nagla Fatela are in dark about why Prime Minister Narendra Modi said they have power in his Independence Day address (they don’t).
Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, urges Pakistan to send troops to Kashmir amid ongoing protests.
Manipur governor V. Shanmuganathan's offer for coffee at the Raj Bhavan and a cash reward for those who describe culture best has evoked strong condemnations from cultural icons of the state.

Punditry

Linking Pakistan occupied Kashmir with Balochistan is a myopic move, could undermine India’s high moral ground vis-a-vis Pakistan, argues Salman Khurshid in the Indian Express.
In the Hindustan Times, Shashank Joshi points out how both the Unites States as well as Britian now support India’s position on Kashmir – a sea change from the 1990s.
In the Telegraph, Ashok V Desai uses government data to show that cow protection or not, 55 million cows are either slaughtered or starved to death every year.

Don’t Miss

Dhirendra K Jha writes about how Ayodhya's vulnerable Muslims once again face pressure to “compromise” on the land on which the demolished Babri Masjid once stood.

As per the new compromise formula, the local Muslims are being asked to consent that not only will they give up their claim over two-thirds of the disputed site given out to Hindu parties by Allahabad High Court but will even refrain from constructing any structure in the one-third part awarded to them. This area is to form the core of the new temple of Lord Ram. In return, the compromise formula provides that a mosque will be constructed simultaneously with the temple in another part of the acquired area – away from the site where the Babri Masjid once stood.

The Article First Appeared in Scroll.in

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