On the 14th of February, as the rest of the world celebrated Valentine’s Day, a terrible tragedy struck the heart of the already volatile Kashmir region.
An SUV carrying more than 750 lbs. of explosives attacked a military convoy carrying Indian CRPF troops, killing 40 personnel. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, the predictable blame game started between India and Pakistan. Bollywood stars, cricketers, politicians and the Indian public openly held Pakistan responsible for this atrocity and suggested retaliation.
While Pakistanis and Indians were both devastated by this recent attack, none remain affected as much as the Kashmiris who face oppression on a daily basis and are witnessing even worsening conditions following the attack.
In the aftermath of the attack, it is pertinent that both countries agree to hold an open dialogue so a joint effort can be made to provide the people of Kashmir with the relief they require
1. The recent uprising of homegrown extremism in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK)
Adil Ahmad Dar, the man responsible for carrying out this atrocious attack was brought up just a few kilometres from where he attacked the convoy. This is a huge development as this highlights the homegrown extremist mindset in IOK. However, instead of focusing on the root cause of the problem, the Indian government is more concerned about alienating Pakistan economically, politically and culturally.
Increasingly violent reactions from the Indian army are festering unrest
Ever since the 2016 protests following Burhan Wani’s death, there has been massive unrest and violence. Separatist movements have historically held numerous protests and since 2016 the Indian army has held a very strict stance on the protests which in turn have resulted in many killings. The new generation in IOK has grown up seeing the violence and resultant curfew imposed on the streets which experts say could have been a major reason behind this attack and recent unrest.
2. The potential procurement of explosives from India
There is a very real possibility that the explosives were sold, bought or even produced in India. For an attack of this nature, it is incredibly difficult if not impossible to move explosives from Pakistan to India. Therefore, it is very likely the explosives were of local origin. Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda said that it is not possible to bring such explosives from across the border, resulting in the need for an investigation.
3. What was the potential motive for Adil Ahmad Dar?
It is widely reported that some of the attacker’s friends said he turned to extremism after being shot in the leg with a pellet gun in one of the protests in 2016. This raises questions on the Indian army’s method of controlling the unrest in Kashmir.
Addressing the issue, Imran Khan stated that India’s approach of using the military to solve this problem has not worked as yet and is unlikely to work in the future
This article only skims the surface of a decades-old and ever-volatile region where violence and protests have been incredibly dangerous and deadly. Innocent civilians suffer the wrath of outdated policies and proxy wars.
While India has constantly tried to bait and instigate Pakistan following the attack, Pakistan has urged that ‘better sense will prevail’.
Rather than resorting to threats and violence, it is time that Pakistan and India sit down on a table and talk through issues that affect the lives of more than 12.55 million people (according to the 2011 census). Kashmiri lives should not be at the disposal of either nation, and their sanctity should be preserved.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of ProperGaanda.