Barbaric killing in IHK

Updated June 03, 2018

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THE photographs of the incident are chilling and surreal.

The fact that Indian forces can so brutally crush a man to death reflects a total disregard for human life.

The incident being referred to happened in Srinagar on Friday: during anti-India protests in the held region, an Indian military jeep drove into a crowd, running over a protester.

Kaiser Bhat later died from his injuries and the barbaric act has elicited fresh protests in the region, with police firing into crowds of mourners.

The incident is a reminder of a similar episode last year when Indian forces tied a man to a jeep and paraded him across the countryside.

While Indian forces say they were ‘defending’ themselves from protesters in the latest incident, there can be no justification for the horrible way in which the man was crushed.

Though it is highly unlikely those responsible for this brutal act will be brought to justice, the administration of India-held Kashmir, as well as the Indian military authorities, must launch a thorough probe and punish those responsible for this atrocity.

Unfortunately, New Delhi has adopted a colonial-era attitude towards Kashmir under Narendra Modi’s watch; the Sangh Parivar that now controls India’s ideological and political narrative apparently seeks to crush the Kashmiri population and subjugate it by force.

However, as the experience of the last three decades has shown, such tactics have failed to dampen the aspirations of the Kashmiri population who have been fighting for their rights.

If the Indian government seeks to quell militancy in IHK and convince the people to participate in the political process, crushing them and humiliating them will not achieve this goal.

If anything, the use of brute force will only further alienate the Kashmiris.

A course correction is necessary, but it is highly unlikely that those who call the shots in Delhi will pay heed to sane advice.

The world needs to let India know that such acts of state-backed violence are not acceptable in a country that claims to adhere to democratic values.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2018