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People of Kashmir – stuck in a dangerous, potentially nuclear, conflict

In Kashmir, we’re stuck in the middle of a potentially nuclear conflict but the world looks away, ABC News, By Umar Lateef Misgar   9 Mar 19, When Adil Dar rammed a car stuffed with explosives into a paramilitary convoy in Indian-administered Kashmir last month, I didn’t make much of the news.

I was travelling across northern India at the time. Having been born and brought up amid a conflict that has defined the life of every young Kashmiri for the past three decades it just seemed more of the same: military cordons, gunfights, curfews, blown-up houses, maiming and the death of our friends and acquaintances.

But the magnitude of this attack by Dar, a 22-year-old Kashmiri, crept up on me through numbers and images. It was the worst attack against Indian forces since the armed insurgency erupted in Kashmir in the late 1980s.

At least 40 Indian paramilitary personnel had been killed, setting off a chain of events that almost brought South Asia to the brink of an all-out nuclear war.

I felt heartbroken by the loss of life that had occurred.

The Indian media instantly began to whip up a frenzy against the Kashmiris, doubling down on efforts to demonise an entire people.

The Indian population’s anger was focused against Kashmiri civilians, students and migrant businessmen, who were attacked by mobs. As many as 2000 of them were forced to flee from different Indian cities…….

I have lived in India as a student and travelled across the country throughout my life, but I have never felt as threatened as during this recent visit.

Constantly dehumanised in the Indian media as well as politics, Kashmiris have been undermined and permanently relegated as dispensable other in the Indian consciousness. Even the India’s parliamentary opposition, led by the Indian National Congress party that finds its roots in the anti-colonial struggles of the subcontinent, didn’t even dare to speak a word against this wave of anti-Kashmiri hate-crimes………

Amid rising tensions, both the countries mobilised their armed forces, leading to the worst tension in 20 years. Diplomats succeeded in persuading the two nuclear-armed nations to back-off. For now.

It is local Kashmiris whose lives were disrupted by this military posturing and brinkmanship. Civilians across the de-facto border that divides Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir, suffered the stress of warplanes hovering above and the impending threat of war………

Deadliest decade

The confrontation between India and Pakistan has slowly de-escalated but people continue to be killed, and while last year was the deadliest in a decade the coming year looks catastrophically bleak.

In the past week 15 people including eight Kashmiri civilians died in shelling and gunfights on the border.

As world attention shifts elsewhere the plight of Kashmiri people remains constant. Our land, our air and our bodies will remain the sites of violent confrontation and electoral bargaining.

Will anyone bat an eye before the next nuclear showdown?


March 9, 2019 - Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war

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