Friday, October 01, 2010

Radha Surya: The Betrayal of Kashmir

Seeking Forgiveness

By Radha Surya, ZNet, September 30, 2010
Radha Surya’s ZSpace Page

Defenseless or armed only with the ammunition of the powerless, the stone-pelting Kashmiri youngsters took on the lethal weapons of India’s paramilitary forces. They surged forward breaking curfew and defying death. Many were mowed down over the summer by the remorseless gunfire of paramilitary forces. One hundred and eight young people—pre-teen as well as teenaged boys–perished between June and September. And as cries of azadi (freedom) rent the air, an initially indifferent New Delhi found itself confronting yet again the demand of self-determination for Kashmir. Summer 2008 had been the last time Kashmir had seen violent suppression on a comparable scale. Later that year, assembly elections that were held in November witnessed higher than expected turnout rates in Jammu and Kashmir. Consequently they were hailed by New Delhi and much of India as a grand success. It was fondly believed that the specter of secession had been laid to rest. The summer’s death toll and the turmoil in which the valley has been plunged since June have put paid to these sanguine expectations. Even as late as mid-September paramilitary bullets continued to claim the lives of Kashmir’s children in full view of the local, the national and international press. And—in the words of an academic expert–Kashmir’s summer of discontent gave way to an autumn of woe.

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