Maswood Alam Khan
ABOUT 100 Kashmiris have been killed since the latest protests began there in last June. Of the killed most were very young, many were children. About 500,000 Indian troops deployed in Kashmir are viewed by Kashmiris as a force to be feared rather than trusted. Hopes of a peaceful settlement of Kashmir quandary have remained elusive since the territorial dispute over Kashmir cropped up when British colonial rule in India ended, embroiling in its wake India, Pakistan, China and the aggrieved people of Kashmir. An end of protest and violence in Kashmir may not be in the offing anytime soon with hardliners in Indian government not ready to concede to what Kashmiris are asking for. However, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is known to be in favour of moderation. He held an all-party meeting on Kahsmir situation on Wednesday and the meeting decided to send an all-party delegation to the troubled valley.
Many conscious Indian citizens of late are also tired of hearing about continuous violence, protests and deaths in Kashmir and they want Kashmiris are granted maximum autonomy if not total freedom while many Kashmiris have become desperate to see their land neither to be a part of Pakistan nor of India; they want total freedom.
The turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir has resulted in thousands of deaths during the last few decades. There have been protest movements in Indian administered Kashmir since 1989 especially to voice Kashmir’s disputes and grievances with the Indian troops who have been ruthless against the Kashmiri civilians. The entire Kashmir Valley is under curfew and the 20-year-old emergency rule is shielding Indian forces from being prosecuted. Many are now wondering whether Kashmiris will ever achieve their independence!