The Indian former Intelligence Bureau Director A. S. Dulat warned, “The calm appears deceptive.” This seasonal expert was veracious in sensing the emerging trend of militancy in Kashmir followed the decrease in 2013. There was a turning situation where a unique form of militant insurgency emerged after the evocation of autonomy provisions by abrogating Article 370 and 35A. It seriously triggered the concern of India regarding the new form of militancy.
The revocation of the special status of J&K in the name of “improving governance and bringing development in the valley” had many other reasons behind it too. The two reasons behind that were the “bankroll” of Kashmir by Indian taxpayers and “ending up the mother of all problems.” These two nonsensical arguments of the post-truth narrative have triggered a new insurgency in Kashmir. New Delhi’s preempting strategy with militancy is confronting the mass participation in “Quasi-violence” and depressed faith of people in the political democratic organizations. This resistance, in turn, is creating a huge pressure on the government through-provoking, frustrating and imposing costs on the Indian state.
The history of militant struggle can be traced back to when a militant organization, “Master cell” against the Indian state, came into existence in 1960. The Al Fatah that was an undercover militant organization was involved in the violent militant struggle in the late 1960s. There were a rebuild and improvisation of the militant struggle in the form of the “National Liberation Front.” A transitional change in militancy occurred in 1887 after the rigged elections involving different kinds of state violence. It’s been three decades of militant involvement in Kashmir. If we see the first decade, it had been the most intense levels of violence and population displacement. Militant groups like J&K Liberation Front, Hizbul Mujahideen, and other militant insurgents were created. After the nuclear tests and post-9/11 era, South Asia saw a new kind of insurgencies; there was again a rise of militancy in Kashmir. The third decade brought a slight decrease in violence. However, it was changed with the Pulwama attack, killing of Burhan Wani, and then it recently took a new turn with the abrogation of Article 370. The Kashmiris were under heavy surveillance, restrictions on freedom in imposed lockdowns, atrocities, collateral damages, and impunity of security personals involved in human rights violations.
According to studies, there were 60% regeneration and reorganization of militancy. A newly emerged militant outfit, “The resistance front,” that comprises the educated class Kashmiris, has posted threats online many times. They are keen to oppose every non-local coming and settling in Kashmir. There has been direct violence in this regard after the revocation of Article 370. A horrific incident happened in South of Srinagar where six laborers were pulled out of their shared apartment, lined up, and indiscriminately killed in the instance. These laborers were mostly from West Bengal, the state of India, for earning their livelihoods. Indian Administration alleged this organization for this attack. In May, a car laden with 40 KG explosions was averted and disposed of by the Indian Military in Rajpora city of South Kashmir.
There are many reasons for these insurgencies. The Kashmiris think that the Army’s use of brute force to subjugate them is fueling it. There is a huge sense of victimization in young people like Burhan Wani who was innocently beaten up with his brother. He, out of his frustrations and victimization, joined Hizbul Mujahideen at the age of 15. Zakir Musa, being an intelligent student of civil engineering, had joined it out of seeing atrocities around him. Eisa Fazili, also an engineering student, joined militancy out of enormities, wrongdoing, and violence perpetrated over Muslims by the Indian administration. They have chosen the path of violence to counter the violence in their way. The abrogation of article 370 and the land acquired from weak and poor local Kashmiris by violent means is also a factor fueling militancy. The security personals involved in the atrocities always enjoy impunity is raising serious concerns. There is huge unemployment which is compelling young people to join military groups. Apart from this, there are many stories where these young people witness tortures, rapes, killings, and marginalization in their surroundings. It compels these young people from hurling stones to joining militancy.
This matter, whether this new trend of militancy is a new and innovative of its kind or the old form of militancy with regrouping, has initiated a debate. It has widely brought the lines of divisions of pro or against theoretician. The one side claim that the rise in the new form of militancy is changed from that of the past, while the other side rejects the claim. They say, “The new form of this militancy is no different from the militancy of past.” The one side claims that educated, privileged, and digital literate young people have joined the militancy, while the other says it’s been the job of the past too. One side says that consequences have changed with the emergence of the new technologies that have been utilized by militants. The latter rejects it with the claim that it had happened in the past where Master Cell had used posters for publicity. Videocassettes and video interviews were also used in the past.
Furthermore, the unavailability of the internet in the lockdown or making it slower for users has strengthened their argument. One side of the debate claims that religion has played its wide role in perpetrating violence. The other argues that it was the play of the past where the religion of martyrdom was always glorified. The reoccurring of militancy is the resistance to creating new political narratives for new political demand like the creation of the “Apni Party.” The creation of the new political formation is not pacifying the sensitivities of the Kashmiris. However, the trajectory of violence has increased with the increase in the suppression of the Kashmiris.
Consequently, the rise or regrouping of militancy in the new form is a real threat to Indian expansionism. It cannot be denied that the role of the Indian state has pushed assertive young people into picking guns. Their sense of victimization has led them to resist the atrocities of Indian forces with violence. There is simply no way out of this chaos unless the Kashmiris are given their due right of freedom.