Pranay Sharma July 15, 2016 00:00 ISTWhy Kashmiris Are Seething
The greater autonomy and special status promised through Article 370 and the 1952 Delhi Agreement to J&K is yet to be implemented in a meaningful manner by successive Indian governments
Rigging of state elections, dismissal of elected governments, their replacement by ‘puppet’ regimes and imposition of President’s rule, often for prolonged periods, has contributed to a sense of alienation
The rise of militancy since 1989 with Pakistan’s active backing, despite the periodical ebb and flow, has justified stationing of thousands of Indian armed personnel and putting Kashmir under virtual “occupation”
While this has helped in dealing with infiltration of Pakistan-backed militants, it has been the main contributing factor in alienating the bulk of the Kashmiris and hampering normal life in the state
Backchannel engagement with Pakistan that began in 2004 onwards to resolve the Kashmir dispute and bring down tension ended in subsequent years with military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s ouster from power
Though separatist Kashmiri leaders in the Hurriyat Conference have been engaged intermittently by Delhi, the lack of any meaningful package on autonomy has eroded their credibility. Ditto with most elected leaders in the state.
The high-handedness of the authorities in dealing with the ‘stone-pelters’ of 2010 has led many of them to be drawn into the ranks of the militants where many are now keen to take over Kashmir’s azadi movement from discredited leaders
Mehbooba Mufti’s decision to join the BJP coalition to form the government has been resented by her supporters as much of the current agitation in the Kashmir Valley now stems from her electoral base.