Indian occupied Kashmir is on the boil due to widespread protests by students from the second half of April 2017. The students’ protests were triggered by the raid of Indian Army personnel on Government Degree College, Pulwama, subjecting the students to torture on April 15. The use of brute force on the students of Pulwama Degree College by occupational forces had resulted in the injuries to more than fifty students including girls. These students were protesting against the setting up of a check-post by Indian police adjacent to the college building.

The action of forces’ personnel in Pulwama Degree College created strong resentment amongst the student community and the students of educational institutions across the occupied territory started hitting the streets almost on daily basis with the intensity of the demonstrations increasing with each passing day. Hundreds of students sustained injuries due to the brutalities of Indian troops and police personnel on the protesters in Srinagar, Badgam, Ganderbal, Sopore, Palhalan, Baramulla, Bijbehara, Tral, Islamabad, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Kupwara, Bandipore and other areas of the occupied territory. Iqra Siddique, a student of Women’s College at Nawa Kadal in Srinagar, suffered skull fracture after she was hit by a stone hurled by an Indian soldier from an army bunker on the protesting students. The protests, instead of dying down, grew large and the occupied territory continued to reverberate with pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

Complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir on April 16 to express solidarity with the protesting students. Call for the shutdown was given by the joint resistance leadership comprising Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.

It is a fact that despite keeping the educational institutions shut from April 21 to 30, arresting and injuring scores of students and imposing ban on several social networking sites and apps including Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Google+, Skype, Viber and Line, the occupation authorities failed to curb the protests.

While the mass protests by students across occupied Kashmir show that every section and segment of the Kashmir society is actively involved with the ongoing freedom movement, the use of force by Indian forces’ personnel on peaceful protesters depicts that each and every voice against India’s illegal occupation over Jammu and Kashmir is being stifled through military power.

It is unfortunate that instead of respecting the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, the extremist BJP-RSS government in India is hurling threats to the Kashmiri protesters. Jan Sena, an extremist Hindu organisation and an off-shoot of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has even announced to send over one thousand Hindu priests to occupied Kashmir to assist Indian forces to counter stone-pelters. Political observers in Srinagar have described the development as alarming because the RSS had planned to carry out massacre of Kashmiri youth through their trained militants.

New Delhi needs to understand that its brutal tactics cannot suppress the Kashmiris’ resolve to get freedom from Indian bondage as they are determined to take their ongoing freedom movement to its logical conclusion at all costs. The world community must also take cognisance of Indian brutalities on the people of occupied Kashmir and play its role in the settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.


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