World View: Anti-India Violence Erupts in Kashmir After Police Kill 12-Year-Old Boy

Pakistani shopkeepers and traders burn Indian products including TV transmission systems a
ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images

This morning’s key headlines from

  • New Anti-India violence erupts in Kashmir after police kill 12-year-old boy
  • Indian media increasingly accepts the ‘indigenous’ nature of the Kashmir protests

New Anti-India violence erupts in Kashmir after police kill 12-year-old boy

Kashmiri Muslim women shout anti-India slogans in Srinagar on Saturday (EPA)
Kashmiri Muslim women shout anti-India slogans in Srinagar on Saturday (EPA)

Junaid Ahmad Akhoon, a 12-year-old boy, died early on Saturday after being “sprayed with pellets” by police pellet guns on Friday during anti-India protests. About 50 more people were injured during the Friday protests. Police said the boy was injured during clashes between protesters and security forces, but the local residents alleged that the boy was not involved in any protest.

The killing triggered new violent clashes on Saturday between thousands of protesters in Srinagar, the provincial capital city of Kashmir, and Indian troops, who fired warning shots and used tear gas and pellet guns. Intermittent clashes spread to different regions in Kashmir throughout the day. Curfews were re-imposed in several districts, after having been lifted for only a few days.

It is now been 92 days of almost continuous protests and riots since the July 8 killing by security forces of Burhan Wani, the leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen separatist group in Kashmir. Over 90 people have been killed and over 12,000 injured since the July 8 killing. Stone-throwing crowds are met with security forces spraying the crowds using pellet guns. Hundreds of people have been blinded by the pellets. International Business Times and Daily Kashmir Images

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Indian media increasingly accepts the ‘indigenous’ nature of the Kashmir protests

According to official government figures, 446 people were arrested in the last week. Close to 7000 people have been arrested in Jammu and Kashmir since July 8, while more than 450 people have been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a 1978 law considered highly restrictive. In addition, police sources say that 1500 others are under detention without any charges, and their detention doesn’t reflect in the official records.

Judging from Indian media, numbers like these are driving increased acceptance of the view that the continuing protests and violence in Kashmir are not being caused by Pakistan, but are “indigenous” and “organic,” meaning that it’s coming from the people, rather than from the politicians.

One Kashmir government spokesman, Nayeem Akhtar, compared the situation today to protests that occurred in 2010, which were purely political:

[We are finding] ourselves in an unprecedented situation. …

There is a difference, lot of difference between 2010 and 2016. Like the local leadership apparently is not in control, the leadership has gone to 10 and 12 year old boys. Those who lead are driven by the street. In 2010, they could assert and bring it back. What we did (in 2010) is the role of opposition. I wish National Conference does the same but they have disappeared.

“National Conference” is a political party formed in 1947 with the objective of achieving Kashmiri independence from India through political means. Akhtar’s point is that there is no longer political control of the protests, which are now being led by teenagers who weren’t even around to protest in the past. It’s this generational change that’s caused a political protest to become a violent protest.

Parvez Imroz, a rights activist in Kashmir supporting the separatists, also emphasizes a generational change:

The government doesn’t really know what to do and how to control protests.

The state has become more vehement, firing bullets and pellets on unarmed people. But, despite all this use of force, people are organizing these protests well, which was not the case in the early 1990s. It was more of an emotional outburst back then. And many young people who are now on the streets have not seen the fear and terror that was instilled by the government forces in early 1990s.

Now that element of fear is gone. …

The use of force against protesters is likely to continue. But one thing is certain – this uprising has given [a] new dimension to the resistance in Kashmir.

The young generation is really controlling things on the streets.

In [the] 1990s, and even till early 2000, some people from here would go and openly talk to the Indian government on behalf of people, but that can’t happen now because people here have realized nothing comes out of these talks.

But it remains to be seen how young people leading the protests will organize themselves and lead the struggle in the times ahead.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is how the world works. The 1947 Partition war between Muslims and Hindus was one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century, so horrific that the survivors did everything they could to make sure that it never happens again. And the survivors were successful, as long as they were alive. But now they’re pretty much all gone, and the young people rioting in Kashmir have no personal connection to the horrors of the Partition war, and they’re ready, willing, anxious and able to risk having it happen again.

As I described in a recent article, India’s last two generational crisis wars were India’s 1857 Rebellion, which pitted India’s Hindus against the British colonialists, and the 1947 Partition war, which pitted Hindus and Muslims against each other, following the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan. As we described in that article, the 1857 war led naturally to violence between Hindus and Muslims decades later, and then to the 1947 war.

Now we’re seeing that the 1947 war is leading, decades later, to new violence between Hindus and Muslims. Generational Dynamics predicts that we’re seeing a kind of repeat of 1947, and that this increasing violence will lead to a new generational crisis war between Hindus and Muslims, and from there to full-scale war between Pakistan and India. Indian Express and Kashmir Public Safety Act (1978) and Al-Jazeera (6-Sep)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, India, Kashmir, Srinagar, Junaid Ahmad Akhoon, Burhan Wani, Hizbul Mujahideen, Public Safety Act, PSA, Nayeem Akhtar, National Conference, Parvez Imroz
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