The journey of young people in Kashmir from childhood to adulthood nowadays is rumbling around Prison. These young people are meeting on this journey with probation officers, instead of teacher; they are going to court dates instead of class; they are emerging from their 20s not with degrees in business and science, but with criminal records.
In Kashmir peaceful protestors are considered as ‘communal’ or ‘anti-national’ and are picked up by para-military forces on the streets, beat, and maim them up. Moreover, break into houses, shatter windowpanes, harass men, and molest women without accountability of the state to take into consideration that security is meant to protect civilians not to beat or harass them.
State violence is not new, in 2008-9-10 more than 120 young people were killed after controversial Amarnath Land row, where marchers were fired leading to the deaths and injuries since then this cycle of violence is unstoppable.
Normally, young people are expected to hold pen in hand and write their own ‘destiny’ of progress and development, but in Kashmir they hold stones in hand to hurl at police personnel, to take avenge of people whose blood spilled across Kashmir region, and presume, fighting for the cause to liberate Kashmir from the hands of Indian occupation will set everything in order.
Interestingly, there are two themes discussed in various online debates between revolutionary young people who supposedly ‘run parallel government’ by closing down entire business establishments after Friday prayers in Kashmir and,of those who are attending college regularly, claims to have meaning or sense of life by entering into ‘bureaucracy’ as one of career options.
There is one thing in common among these two groups, both can become leaders in their work, and aspire to fight for equal rights of people, for dignity, but there is slight difference, one group is appreciated and other is demoralized& dehumanized.
Since, there are no rules of resistance, nor does for stone pelting. Stone Pelters have seen almost unbelievable idiocy of political leadership in Kashmir – those revered political leaders of yore are viewed today with contempt. The besotted young people aims ‘to burn down’ all the colonial structures / or and military barricades to free land of saints from Indian occupation reveals bankruptcy of state while maintaining ‘law and order’ in Kashmir.
These young people have always yearned for direction from religious leaders, inventing political philosophies of ‘hartal’ as a way of ‘resistance’ and ‘stone pelting’to align various kinds of ideologies as a support for their ‘mission’ to ‘decolonize Kashmir’ from India.
This generation is often called ‘miscreants’ or ‘frustrated unemployed youths’ who have started stone pelting from scratch and now are the vanguard of resistance movement in Kashmir, most of them are the products of middle class families and majority of them have survived from direct attacks, physical violence and tortures, soldiers have bruised their body but their ideology remain unchanged.
In this age of mass media that has remained alien to highlight ‘woes’ of stone-Pelters, who often take refuge of technology and social media to spread their message of resistance to gather support of various people across J&K and of the world, took inspiration from various ‘revolutionary’ situations of Middle East, West Asia, that has plunged world currently in an utter chaos; spinning in a frenzy warfare,young people are looking for meaning or sense of life.The ‘sense’ that will legitimatize their struggle, and free them from all woes to see new dawn of ‘free land’ from Indian occupation.
These young people believe that In this complex modern world where every situation is unpredictable makes no sense for someone to make riches or starts a venture with huge capital thatinvolves pageant of pleasure and generate employment to signal returning of peace in valley or to build a modern city for the tourists to ensure prosperity and neglecting the core political problem of the state.
What ‘sense’ does it makes when season of reaping dividends from trade and commerce arrives in valley, protests erupt all of sudden and makes Kashmiri economy ‘vulnerable and dependent’. Leaving hundreds of people on welfare lines for ‘packages’ ‘relief’ before corrupt ruler who in the name of Democracy, Autonomy and Self-rule beguile them.
These young people wants to make ‘sense’ and command our attention because an understanding of their thought is essential for anyone who consider him or herself a revolutionary and wants to make ‘sense’ of life, who wishes to do away with the exploitation, suffering and violence that is built in this oppressive state system where laws are inimical to human lives which young people sought to uncover and tell the world that people of Kashmir are oppressed and treated as cattle’s, caged for months together without food and water.
The current misrule of Indian state by killing more than 60 Kashmiri and wounded more than 7000people after Burhan Wani’s death exposes the state’s inhumane treatment towards civilians who are subjected to torture and arbitrary arrests without fair trails.
The government has failed to understand aspirations of young people, and failed to handle situation with heart and used brutal force to kill and maim civilians unabated. Government in Kashmir is visible at the time of election and voting and when it comes to protect civilians, they start blaming union of India for promoting violent means of actions against peaceful protestors.
Hence, present generation wants to make sense of life, they do not want corrupt officials in governmental departments, they do not want police to harass them, they do not want interference of state into their affairs, they want freedom from governmental policies first then from Indian occupation.
They want ‘plebiscite’ which state of India has promised them in the beginning of the ‘grand bargain’ under which Kashmir acceded to India in 1947. Until that happens, Kashmir will witness more tense situations and public demonstrations.
Altaf Bashir is a South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation Fellow, he has recently completed his Master’s In International Relations Major’s In Peace and Conflict Studies.