Indian Interior Minister P Chidambaram alleged that Pakistan is behind the weeks of violent anti-India protests in Indian-held Kashmir.
Chidambaram told the Indian parliament during a debate that Pakistan appears to have altered its strategy in influencing events in Jammu and Kashmir. He added that it is possible that Pakistan believes that relying upon civilian unrest will pay them better dividends.
THE Indian government revels in blaming Pakistan and its premier intelligence agency ISI for all its woes. Floods, locust attacks, plague, drought, all fall in Pakistan’s lap. In its latest blame game, India’s interior minister has alleged that Pakistan could be behind weeks of violent protests in Indian-held Kashmir, a move that could hurt attempts by the two countries to improve ties. This is the first time New Delhi has linked Pakistan to the recent spate of violence in the disputed territory that has killed nearly 50 people since June. Earlier, India had said Pakistan-based militants were inciting trouble in the region. “Pakistan appears to have altered its strategy in influencing events in Jammu and Kashmir,” Palaniappan Chidambaram told the Indian parliament during a debate on the protests, among the biggest since a freedom movement against Indian occupation broke out in 1989. “It is possible that they believe that relying upon civilian unrest will pay them better dividends. But I am confident if we are able to win the hearts and minds of the people … those designs can be foiled,” Mr. Chidambaram said. There were fresh pro-independence protests in several places on Friday, in which at least, two people were wounded when police opened fire on protesters in Sopore town in north Kashmir. The comments are being viewed by Islamabad as a provocation, damaging prospects for improving ties that plummeted after the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and derailed a sluggish four-year-old peace process with Pakistan. The two sides’ last held peace talks in July and those ended in acrimony over the attacks and India’s persistence with the blame game.
The truth is that the liberation struggle in Indian-Occupied Kashmir has reached an unprecedented high with the youth taking to streets after a young man succumbed to tear gas shelling by Indian police in June. Brutal crackdown by the Indian army took a heavy toll of another fifty precious lives but did not diminish the resolve of the Kashmiris. Now Kashmiri women have entered the fray. Their message is loud and clear they are out in the streets because they taunt the vicious Indian soldiers that they should target them before killing their boys and girls. The Indian army took up the challenge and has not refrained from targeting the unarmed women. Each death — particularly those of two women so far — has triggered further angry protests and an equally strong response from Indian paramilitary troops and police. Hundreds of women and girls, many in colourful shalwar kameez dresses, have since been regularly out on the streets chanting “we want freedom!” and “blood for blood!” Some carry sticks and stones. Dealing with female protesters is a fraught challenge for the police and paramilitary troops struggling to control the protests, which India says are instigated by hard-line groups supported by Pakistan. Many women who do not directly take part in rallies carry drinking water to the protesters and also direct youths down escape routes as they flee from baton charges, tear-gas and gunfire. In the opinion of The Daily Mail, whenever India reaches a dead end and is unable to find a solution through is bull dozing methods of the use of brute force, it finds it convenient to lay the blame on Pakistan’s doorstep. Even a cursory glance at the events in the Subcontinent would indicate that Pakistan, which is itself reeling under terror attacks, is badly bruised and would never find the time or opportunity to indulge in inciting others to insurgency. India has tyrannized the people of Kashmir far too long and now the dam has burst. When women and children take up the cudgel of protest and remonstration, it means that not only are they serious but are willing to do or die for their genuine rights. India would be better advised to end the blame game and look inwards at its own atrocities, total disregard of the UN Resolutions guaranteeing a plebiscite in Kashmir and instead settle the long outstanding issue through dialogue.