By Bilal Hussain
Unabated curfews, clampdown on all sorts of communications including media gag, and protests in Indian-administered Kashmir is not a new phenomenon, it has been going on since 1947. So far 95 civilians have died, and over 15,000 people have also been injured across the Kashmir valley since July 9th, 2016 after the killing of a top Hizbul Mujahideen— founded by Muhammad Ahsan Dar in September 1989, is a Kashmiri separatist group— commander: Burhan Wani. Kashmir witnessed similar civil uprising in 2008 and 2010 that led to killing of 200 civilians.
Though, the region has witnessed many lull periods (normalcy), which never lasted, even a small untoward happening in Kashmir triggered a massive uprising. The underlying fact is the majority of population in this region have been demanding Freedom, according to an opinion poll conducted in 1995 by a credible Indian magazine (Outlook): 72 percent respondents opted for Independence as an option which is enormous.
Similar sort of poll on the issue was conducted by Chatham House, think-tank in London, has shown that an overwhelming number of people, 74-95 percent, in Kashmir region support independence.
Some significant arguments put forth by many well know experts on the subject are: In present day world order and given historical perspective, Independent Kashmir [IK] can’t exist. Moreover, the small area and population of the region, IK won’t be a viable option. Give the poor educational status, the IK could be a breeding ground for ‘Islamic Jihadist’. And of all these much talked about issues are that of security, land locked state, economic dependency and similar concerns have often been put forth when question of independence crop-up in the power corridors of India and Pakistan.
However, the facts based on the available literature, findings and observation, I found positive scores on all the select parameters, be it historical perspective, area and population, security concern, secular state, landlocked nation, scholars-take, trade imbalances, education, international independent agencies’ take and above all economic opportunities. To sum up the findings I will conclude by an adage: Let united Kashmir (J&K, Azad Kashmir and the part held by China) be independent for the greater good of whole South Asian region. Sooner the better.
This is an abstract for Hussain’s upcoming book “Is Independent Kashmir Possible?” We’ll feature the book when it is available to the public!