India entered its 61st year of independence while the recent land row agitation is entering its 6th week.
The current kashmir issue started when the government of jammu and kashmir allocated about 40 hectares of forest land to the amarnath yatra trust to dedicate towards the yearly pilgrimage of hindus to amarnath in kashmir. Kashmiri’s saw this as an attempt by hindu fundamentalist to steal muslim lands and started protesting against the land transfer. When the government revoked the land transfer, jammu hindus saw it as a final straw of the intolerance of the muslim community and started their counter agitation blocking off the main highway to kashmir and preventing all supplies leading to kashmir.
The facade of hindu-kashmir brotherhood in jammu and kashmir has finally come down. The religious intolerance has been responsible for multiple lives being lost. The early 90’s saw around 1200 kashmiri pandits (hindus) being killed by the insurgency leading to the mass exodus of about 5 million pandits from the valley towards jammu and other parts of India (with most of them never coming back). The resulting government crackdown and the high handed response of the military forces resulted in about 3000 deaths and further fuelling the insurgency *.
So we’ve reached a situation when the kashmir valley (with the current population of over 95% muslim) has never considered itself Indian with most prefering azadi or merger with pakistan while the other parts of jammu and kashmir (jammu and ladakh) prefering to be part of india. The indian government has pumped in billions of dollars and countless lives lost in the insurgency and the local population of kashmir being still ungrateful.
Haven’t we now reached a stage where we should no longer force our will on a people who never associated their future as part of a whole (called india). Its time to cut our losses and stop the bleeding. Let the kashmiri’s make their own future (their success and failures should be their own doing) and let them go.
* The figures in the post are unverified and obtained through a google search