The new month in Kashmir started with a bloodiest day in a decade. Seventeen young Kashmiris were killed in a most brutal manner by the government forces in three separate encounters in Shopian district. Over 210 people have been injured in protests by the excessive use of force by the government forces. Among them 41 young people are on the verge of losing their eyesight either in one or both eyes. They may be blinded for their whole life and will add to the miseries of their poor families.
Kashmir is an internationally accepted disputed territory, a dispute which is waiting for a solution from the last seven decades despite of the fact that a clear solution is available in the form of United Nations Resolutions. Kashmiris are not given their choice of deciding about their future. Young people are spilling their blood day in and day out to see a Kashmir which would be their own and on which they would have authority, where they would be free to decide about their future, where there would be peace, where there would be security of their lives and property, where the honour of their mothers, sisters and daughters would be safe.
On the other hand government forces are using all their might to crush this peaceful movement and to label these young people as terrorists. Every powerful weapon has been used in Kashmir against the innocent and unarmed protesters like chilli-based PAVA shells, TEAR shells, the lethal PELLET guns, Rubber bullets, Stun grenades, Capsicum shells and many more and that too on a large scale. The large scale use of these weapons is evident from the fact that 1100 persons have lost their eyesight due to pellets since July 2016. Kashmir has been turned into a big laboratory for testing highly dangerous weapons. These weapons are not used anywhere in India to quell the protests. There was more violence in Haryana during the Jat agitation and in Gujarat during Patil agitation but these weapons were not used there. These weapons besides wreaking havoc create many other health problems for children, women and elderly people.
The number of young people joining militancy and getting killed in the militancy related operations is showing an increasing trend from the last three years. This is evident from the data of the militants killed in the encounters in the last three years. 108 militants were killed in 2015 which increased to 150 in 2016 and to 212 in 2017. In the first three months of 2018 so far 35 militants have been killed. The number of civilians getting killed at encounter sites is also showing an increasing trend. Now more and more youth took to encounter sites during the search operations to help the militants escape. This is a clear indication that the Kashmiri youth are feeling alienated. They are finding no way to come out of this alienation and the only choice for them remaining is to pick up arms and take revenge of the atrocities being committed against them.
Who these young people are, who are killed, blinded or maimed? Do they deserve it? The people killed in these encounters are the bright and meritorious students of the Kashmir valley which include Aitimad Hussain Dar an MPhil Scholar from Hyderabad University, another student who was enrolled for NEET coaching at the HOPE CLASSES at Srinagar, Eisa Fazili an engineering student of Baba Ghulam Shah University, Umer Ganai a science student at Islamic University of Science and Technology, and recently a young scholar from the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University has also joined militancy and many more are following their foot steps. They had a bright future ahead. They should have been in the universities, research centres, academic institutions, IITs, IIMs, medical and engineering colleges. They should have been preparing for the competitive examinations like KAS, NEET, AIEEE and others. But they leave the cozy comforts of their homes and hearths and are spilling their warm blood in the orchards and ravines of Kashmir.
The question arises that does the State government, Central government and the government forces think that by killing these young people they would be able to crush the voice of young generation of Kashmir. The answer is a big NO. The more the brutal ways are adopted by the government to crush the voice of young generation, the more the youth will be gravitated towards extremism and will feel more alienated. This is evident from the killing of Burhan Wani. The killing of Burhan Wani galvanised this struggle. In the last 18 months since the killing of Burhan Wani more than 300 young people have taken the extreme step of joining the militancy which include the highly qualified youth of Kashmir and the son of a top separatist leader Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai. To every single person killed, ten more will take to militancy and the process will continue.
The solution is to allow Kashmiris to live in peace in a place where they would be able to decide about their future, where the security of their lives, property and honour would be guaranteed. Because like all other people of the world Kashmiris too have a right to live a peaceful and a dignified life.———–
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