For too long now, the conflicts and continuous issues in the Kashmir valley, a state in northern India, has been neglected by not only the Indian government and media, but also by nearly every other nation, including the United States. Aijaz Hussain of ABC writes:
Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence or merger with neighboring Pakistan, which also claims the mountainous region. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting and the ensuing Indian crackdown. India has accused Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, which Pakistan denies.
Kashmir is a disputed land between India and Pakistan, so in a constant state of tug-of-war between the two nations, Kashmir suffers at great costs. Just last year, after the death of a pro-independent-Kashmir militant, Burhan Wani of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, Kashmir erupted into a series of consecutive conflicts for several months.
Beginning in the summer, over 50 curfews were imposed throughout a conflict lasting from July of 2016 to even today. In the 2016 Kashmiri unrest, just by August (one month after the issue started), 68 people had died among 9,000 injured people. These casualties and injuries were due to the incessant force used by Indian law enforcement against the Kashmiri people: specifically around 600 “dead-eyes” dealt by Indian soldiers through the use of tear gas, pellet guns, and assault rifles. Ellen Barry of New York Times says:
Though the 2016 civil unrest in Kashmir was barely covered by outside sources other than local Kashmiri news outlets, now the rest of the world has a new opportunity to display this injustice everywhere. However, as the 2017 crisis has begun, hardly any international media sources have attempted to cover the atrocities going on in Kashmir.
In 2017, as the new generation of militants for freedom of Kashmir emerge, the valley is becoming more dangerous by the second. Militants are raiding towns, robbing banks, hiding in villages, intimidating the public/interfering with their daily lives, and causing more young children to join the rebel ranks.
Indian officials have completely shut off forms of social media in Kashmir, 22 platforms to be exact, including texting apps such as WhatsApp. Although Indian law enforcement deems that evaporating social media in Kashmir would be useful in preventing the spread of independence ideology. Nonetheless, several videos have surfaced of militants marching with rifles in Kashmir.
Overall, much care and consideration needs to be given to Kashmir over this tumultuous incident going on in their land. As Americans, we must value freedom and safety, not just in our country, but in all countries that struggle and strive to be like us. If we fail to fulfill our duties as a leading nation in today’s politics, then we comply with the crumbling of international politics.