The Mughal Emperor, Babar when describing Kashmir wrote, “If there is heaven on earth, this is it, this is it!”
However as beautiful as the country is the Indian army is by no means occupying it to enjoy the landscape. Kashmir is a people’s struggle which began along with apartheid and the occupation of Palestine. The mass rapes of women and children and the slaughter of male civilians under the guise of ‘terrorists’ should be enough to motivate the international community.
Sadly this summer as the death toll reaches 100 in the civilian clashes against the Indian military the Kashmiri youth are left to defend themselves against both the terrorism of the Indian military and the utilitarianism of the Pakistani government with little more than stones (now there’s a familiar sight).
The public opposition to the Indian occupation is stonger than ever which comes as no surprise when 68 000 people have been killed as the military has attempted to quell the resistance in the past 20 years. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, in force in Kashmir since 1990 allows army officers in Indian occupied Kashmir to search homes and make arrests without warrants, or shoot at anyone suspected of being a separatist and they can blow up a building or a home on a suspicion that insurgents are using it. Human rights activists accuse government forces in Kashmir of routinely misusing their power and killing civilians in staged confrontations for promotions and rewards.
India’s president has appealed for calm and is willing to speak to any group which doesn’t support violent means. This, while he has 700 000 troops occupying the country.