Kashmir is witnessing a rise in militancy after years of setback. Every month local youth join militant ranks despite knowing the end of their chosen path. It is a new breed of militants that is rising in Kashmir who unlike their predecessors, are young, educated,tech-savvy, well-to-do, unafraid of revealing their identity and adept at using social media.
There is a sharp rise in local youth joining militancy. For the first time in more than two decades, public support for militants fighting the state is rising and being articulated in the open in Kashmir Valley.
They are warmly welcomed by every Kashmiri in their homes without worrying about the large-scale destruction of their property by Indian army.
People are seen assembling at the encounter sites to help escape the militants without bothering about their lives. Even, families are supporting their young, energetic and well-qualified sons to joining militant ranks.
The families in Kashmir are ready to sacrifice everything for their right to self-determination. The last calls of these youth turned militants which went viral on social networking sites with their family members and especially with parents can be heard where parents are suggesting their sons that you have chosen the sacred path and no to hesitate in fighting the state.
In one of the audio call one parent is being heard that, “I want to see the bullet in your chest and on your back.”
This support where parents are ready to sacrifice the lives of their loved ones to whom they have dedicated their everything to bring them up and to educate them in reputed institutions for higher studies should be a matter of grave concern to Indian government.
There remain several questions which need to be answered. What prompts parents to applaud their wards for joining militancy? Why they are ready to shoulder the coffins of their beloved sons, who otherwise expect the same from them?
Militants in Kashmir are hero-worshipped as massive crowds participate in funerals. All these things indicate the scale of local support for the militants.
As per police data, 164 local youth joined militant ranks in the past ten months alone. Everyone knows there is rise in local youth joining militant ranks while Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his recent visit, while talking with the reporters said, “the situation is better in Kashmir and the militant recruitment is decreasing.”
But the power corridors should keep in mind that such hypocritical statements will neither yield any good results for your government nor will help them in any way.
How long you will deny the fact of Kashmir? How long you will violate the fundamental rights of Kashmir’s? How long you will deny the ground reality of Kashmir and how long you will deny our right to self-determination?
Youth in Kashmir are peace-loving but not at the cost of their rights. They also want to breathe in a free air, they also want to live their life independently, where one is given the freedom to live, freedom to speech etc.
Our worthy Governor Satya Pal is talking about the engagement of youth in sports and opening of recreational avenues to address the alienation of youth.
But he also can never lure the Kashmiri youth by economic packages and other things. Instead there is a need to listen to what they are asking for in loud voices from the last decades together.
Give them the right to decide their future through free and impartial plebiscite, which they have been promised. The right of self-determination has been celebrated for ages. It is a basic principle of the United Nation Charter which has been reaffirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and applied countless times to the settlement of international disputes.
Jay Prakash Narayan who was known as ‘The Second Gandhi of India’ confided to Indira Gandhi, in 1960: “We profess democracy but rule by force in Kashmir. The Kashmir problem exists not because Pakistan wants to grab Kashmir but because there is deep and widespread political discontent among the people.”
The Kashmir dispute can be settled not through atrocities and sufferings inflicted on innocent people and through tactics like operation all out but through productive negotiations among the stakeholders.
Author is a research scholar at University of Kashmir