ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Generational Shift in Kashmir

Even after the separatist and moderate leaders of Kashmir have been released and made fervent appeals for peace, unrest continues. The governments in Kashmir and New Delhi fail to recognise that separatist politics has passed on to a third generation in the Valley that has no leaders. The Government of India needs to find ways of engaging this new generation of protesters.

No killing in the summer rage of 2010 is reported to have taken place in circumstances familiar to Kashmir. Each time the paramilitary troopers came under a barrage of stones they resorted to firing and ended up killing people. This would lead to another cycle of protests, more killings and more protests. This cycle has not yet ended. The first killing of this season was on 11 June when the Valley, flooded with tourists, was seething with anger after it was found that three Kupwara youth, killed by the Army and branded as militants, were actually innocent local civilians.

To protest the Kupwara killings, there was a complete shutdown in Kashmir Valley on 7 June, the day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit. The action of the security forces on protesters on the eve of the prime minister’s visit had triggered a reaction leading to a chain of protests. While quelling the protesters in the downtown area of Srinagar on the afternoon of 11 June, cops fired teargas shells in which a teenager died. It was at this stage that the separatist leaders actively stepped in calling for more protests. By 21 June, seven boys had been killed and life was completely thrown out of gear.

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