Image Souce: geopolitica.ru
At the start of 2019, protests have been happening all around the world on various topics: climate change, human rights, and rights for autonomy. However, there is one conflict that has not received enough attention—the conflict in Kashmir. Just like a small mole that gets overlooked, but grows fatal, the conflict in Kashmir, if overlooked, could wreak havoc in the neighbouring countries. The world is pretending like nothing is happening in Kashmir, but the tension of the two “nuclear-armed” countries (India and Pakistan) are escalating to a dangerous stage. There are three reasons as to why Indian-Pakistani tensions over Kashmir are growing: Indian abrogation of article 370, increase in violence, and a lack of negotiation.
Indian abrogation of article 370
Historically, Kashmir was a colony of Great Britain, along with India and Pakistan. In 1947, those three regions received its independence and were divided religiously: Hinduism and Muslim. However, Kashmir was in the grey area, not knowing which country they belong to. Currently, the state sits on the borders between three countries: India, Pakistan, and China. According to The Diplomat published on September 19, 2016, since India and Pakistan independence, they fought over three wars to control Kashmir. Those bloody wars arose again on August 5, 2019 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, head of the Bharatiya Janata Party, revoked the article 370, devouring all of the freedom from the people in Kashmir. According to an article BBC published in August 7, 2019, Article 370 is so important to Kashmir since it is the agreement that permits Kashmir to have a “constitution, the freedom to make laws, and have a separate flag, as well as making rules about who could live there, and own property.” Prime Minister Modi believes that by repealing the article, it would reunite the area and lead Kashmir to stronger security and economic state. Although, it is more than that, according to the same article from The Diplomat, India and Pakistan are looking at the glacial water in Kashmir that can supply a massive amount of electricity for the country. Moreover, the area could provide rich nutritious soil to improve agriculture. This revocation was the start of the flame that currently spread its power.
Increase in violence
While repealing the article 370 was the spark of the tensions, violent protests and retaliation are other facets that caused this controversy. Based on the BBC news on August 2019, Kashmir protests began with gatherings of people holding signs, such as “Abrogation of article 370 is not acceptable for us,” as a demonstration of their disagreement with the Indian government. A representative of the protesters expressed, “the whole Kashmir has turned into an open prison.” This is a sign of a non-violent protest, however, things get more serious: schools and colleges were suspended, communication service has been shut down, political leaders and protesters have been arrested. Consequently, the documentary uploaded by The Guardian on September 19 shows videos and images of protesters throwing rocks at the police, blocking roads using wood with oil containers or concertina wire, police were handed with AK or pallets guns. On September 3rd, a 17-year-old Kashmir resident Asrar Ahmad Khan was murdered. The Kashmiris know that his death was caused by the Indian soldiers that shot him with a teargas canister and pellets, but the police refused. The death was the sign of violence from the Indian police and it is a symbol of many other deaths in a similar scenario. Numerous cases published by local news sources show that people who got injured (like getting shot by pellets) were afraid to accept the services from the hospital because they are afraid of being arrested. Their only choice is to stay at home, although the report of “loss of life or serious injury” from the Indian police shows zero cases. These violent protests help to increase the tension between police and protesters: more troops were deployed, many injured people without care, and a large portion of protesters armed with homemade weapons.
Lack of negotiation
While violent protests occur, all of the parties including India, Pakistan, and Kashmir do not establish compromise — the culture of sitting and talking does not exist! All sides are demanding something. India wants Kashmir to be a part of India, so that they can have better security, reunited state, and control resources. On the other hand, Pakistan does not believe in Indian’s demands, instead, claiming all Kashmir should belong to Pakistan due to the flooded number of Muslims: 97.16 percent of the people in Kashmir are Muslim, according to the Jammu & Kashmir Official State Portal. Looking at the people in Kashmir, they want “a clear say in their own future” and the right to sculpt their state. Protesting is a form of communication that the Kashmiris did, however, it is not enough for India and Pakistan to listen. On September 27, 2019, at United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, said that “We are in a state of war right now, but the situation could escalate even further.” He informed the world to take action with this situation as the two nuclear countries are confronting each other, and the “consequences [will go] far beyond the borders.” As for India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not mention the conflict in Kashmir in the assembly; this demonstrates, he does not need help from other countries. This lack of compromise will keep delaying this conflict which means orders to stop shooting pallets, tear gas, and rock will not stop.
Just like prime Minister Khan mentioned, “the situation could escalate further” and we can not sit back and watch this like a performance. Action needs to be taken; one of the solutions to overcome this conflict is to gather the three leaders to communicate and come up with some comprises. Given the prompt Why are Indian-Pastistani tensions over Kashmir Growing? There are many factors, however, Indian abrogation of article 370, increase in violence, and lack of negotiation between all parties are one of the major reasons why this clash keeps growing. As we can see at the start of 2019 protestors have arisen all around the world, Kashmir protest deserves to have great attention because this could be the initial start of something big and dangerous just like a mole that can lead to skin cancer.