The State of Jammu and Kashmir has been a disputed territory since the division of the subcontinent. The world has witnessed a great movement in the territory for freedom but growing state repression from India and exploitation of religious sentiments by Pakistan has always obstructed the indigenous movement. In the 1990s when the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front took arms for the independence of the state, it was brutally curbed by India through military action. On the other hand, foreign militant organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad have sabotaged the people’s movement. Their activities have encouraged the international community to look at the entire indigenous struggle for freedom with suspicion. It has also provided more reasons for India to use violence against the people of Kashmir.
The militant uprising in Kashmir surged again after Indian forces killed Burhan Wani in August 2016. He was mourned across the region, and India has seen a growing resentment among the people of the valley. Later in 2019, India scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and put the whole valley under a severe curfew. This was considered the worst state repression after the state-led violence of the 90s. As the Taliban took over Kabul in a blink of an eye when US forces set to withdraw from Afghanistan, it was alarming for the region.
The local terrorist outfits in Pakistan are continuously celebrating the Taliban’s victory. Among them are the most notorious organizations like Lashkar e Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is Kashmir based terrorist group whose head Mr. Salahuddin is enjoying official protocol in Muzafarabad, Pakistan Administrated Kashmir. These terrorist organizations are proxies in the valley and will likely create trouble in the valley as their counterparts have swept a victory in Afghanistan. The rivalry of Pakistan and India in Afghanistan was also a fight for who can use the land to destabilize the other country. As Kabul is now under the control of the Taliban, it is considered a victory of Pakistan’s established who longed for it. Militancy will be now a tool that will be efficiently used against all the enemies and India is on the top of the list while Kashmir is the best place to use it.
Kashmiri people have already paid a huge price without getting anything for themselves because of these proxy fights. If the spillover reaches Kashmir, it will not just affect the normal life of people but will worsen it further. The question is for the Kashmiri people that how should they tackle the situation and prevent these notorious militant groups from becoming active in the valley. In my opinion, the only solution is that the people of Kashmir should not let themselves be fooled again in the name of religion.
The religious sentiments of people are being exploited to gain benefits that never help the cause, but instead only fulfill some vested interests of the people who launch such proxies. The question of religion is very close to some people’s hearts, but if we critically analyze the situation, how can we abandon other religious groups like Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians of the state? Are they not Kashmiris? We can also learn from history, what happened in the countries that were divided in the name of religion. So, instead of advocating a religious solution, go for the more inclusive and viable solution; united secular nationalist resistance.
Similarly, the question of violence is also very important in the context of Jammu and Kashmir. As far as I think, the power of the occupier can always be defeated with the power in the hands of indigenous people. The resistance can be political or otherwise. It is of paramount importance to counter any move which can ignite foreign militancy in Jammu and Kashmir since the proxies have always created trouble for the pure resistance movement.