Kashmiris simply demand a speedy implementation of the pledge solemnly extended to them by India and Pakistan and the UN to be allowed to decide their future through an unrigged and uncoerced vote.
INDIAN forces continued their reign of terror in Indian Occupied Kashmir during the Eid festival too and slaughtered 17 youth and injured 50 Kashmiris. The Indian brutality targeted the Kashmiris for peacefully demonstrating against the continued illegal occupation of Kashmir. The latest wave of protests is different from the mass uprising, which erupted in 1989 and has taken a toll of nearly 100,000 lives. The current struggle was triggered by the pitiless killing of a Kashmiri youth in June, which brought Kashmiri youth, women and children to the streets. Armed with mere stones, in the style of Palestinian Intifada, mass demonstrations against Indian rule erupted three months ago. Nearly a hundred innocent Kashmiris have been slain so far but the fury of the protest rallies refuses to die down, so much so that the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon has been forced to take notice of the massive human rights abuses in Indian Held Kashmir. The current generation of Kashmiri youth, which rekindled the flame of the independence struggle is using technology to a maximum. Using SMS to spontaneously trigger protest movements and capturing the images of Indian brutality with the help of their cell phone cameras, the Kashmiri youth transmit them through MMS or post them on Facebook. The instant imaging then spreads like wildfire throughout the world, which is only now waking up to the reality of Indian brutality which continues unabated.
Indian government continues with its obduracy of not permitting UN special representatives to investigate the cases of fake encounters or the recent wave of brutality. Besides curbing the entry of the UN observers, Indian forces have banned the coverage of the demonstrations by the media. Authorities have put severe restrictions on movement of journalists here following the imposition of curfew. Despite all journalists having been issued curfew passes, the passes were not honoured by the police and Central Reserve Police Force. Most were not allowed to move about and asked to go back. Some journalists alleged that they were harassed and asked to “cooperate” in enforcement of the curfew. Two journalists were beaten up while on the way to their offices. National, local and international journalists faced difficulties in discharging their duties as they could not reach their offices and the hotspots. Various local channels could not telecast evening news bulletins on Sunday as their reporters and camerapersons were not allowed to come out and discharge their duties. The scroll aired by these channels read: “We cannot air the evening news bulletins as media persons were not allowed to perform their duties.”Anti-India demonstrations erupted in various Kashmiri towns as thousands of protesters defied a strict curfew imposed over the weekend, and took to the streets hurling stones at security forces. A policeman was also killed in the clashes. Kashmir’s top police official, Kuldeep Khoda, said the protests were widespread. Force had to be also used at several places to disperse the crowds. In the various incidents firing from the weapons was resorted to. In New Delhi, top Cabinet ministers met to discuss how to lower tensions in Kashmir. The government appealed to people to give up violence, and said efforts are being made to start a dialogue with Kashmiri leaders. But the government made no announcement regarding the withdrawal of a tough security law The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), which Kashmiris are demanding. Indian inflexibility and intransigence will finally be its own undoing. History is replete with examples where an oppressed race of people, did not succumb to the brutality of its tormentors and ultimately achieved their independence, albeit after great sacrifice. The Daily Mail is hopeful that the darkest saga in the history of the Kashmiris will soon be over, the shackles of slavery and bondage would break away and their dreams of freedom will be realized.
Thousands of police have been stationed in the region to prevent further violence, while all fights to Srinagar have been suspended. 'Go India'
Monday's protests were held against Indian rule and reports of Quran burning. It was the most deadly day of violence since mass demonstrations began three months ago, state police said. Despite the curfew, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets on Monday, throwing rocks, torching government buildings and chanting "Go India, go back. We want freedom.''
Security forces shot live ammunition at some of the crowds, killing people in at least five different villages, a police officer said. In the village of Tangmarg, troops fired at thousands of rock-throwing demonstrators, killing five people and wounding at least 50 others, the police officer said. Earlier, protesters burned at least four government buildings as well as a schoolhouse in the town.
In Budgam, troops tried to disperse demonstrators with tear gas and baton charges but began firing into the crowd after protesters attacked a police station and the government forces with rocks, the police officer said. At least four people including a young woman were killed and at least 30 others were wounded, some critically.
A policeman was also killed during the protests in Budgam after he was hit by a vehicle that then sped away, the officer said. At least four other protesters were killed in three other towns, he said. 'House arrest'
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the main separatist leader, told Al Jazeera there is no room for political protest in Kashmir. "I have been under house arrest since Eid, many of my party have been arrested," Farooq said.
"In many places the protests are very peaceful ... [but Indian] troops are firing indiscriminately [at protesters]." Monday's toll included at least seven people killed in police clashes after thousands of Muslim protesters set fire to a Christian missionary school and government buildings in two Kashmiri districts to denounce reports on the Iranian state-run channel, Press TV, that copies of the Quran had been damaged in the US over the weekend.Though a Florida pastor called off his plans to burn the Muslim holy book, the channel showed footage of a different man destroying a Quran. The protesters chanted "Down with Quran desecraters,'' and protest leaders denounced the alleged desecration in speeches to the crowds. The death toll was the highest since separatist protests broke out in June against Indian rule in the northern state. In a statement at the end of a special cabinet meeting on Kashmir, on Monday, the Indian government said it was "deeply distressed by the turn of events" and appealed for calm. 'Incoherent policy'
However, it decided against heeding calls from some in the government to partially lift a 20-year-old army emergency law, that gives sweeping powers to security forces in Kashmir. The government offered to take part in talks with all peaceful groups in Kashmir, which would cover the "trust deficit and the governance deficit".
It also called an all-party meeting for Wednesday in New Delhi "to take certain initiatives and measures that will build confidence of people." Saeed Naqvi, a political commentator based in New Delhi, told Al Jazeera that Delhi has been preoccupied with other problems and ignored the Kashmir issue.
"There is a trust deficit [between India and Kashmir] and it has been addressed by inaction, unimaginative policy, even absence of policy, on the part of New Delhi," he said. "There is angst and anger [in Kashmir].
After three months of bloodshed and agitation ... [the struggle] has acquired an intensity and velocity. All they had to do was tone down the profile of the army. "Nobody likes a foreign army and the Indian army looks like a foreign army to them."