Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kashmir: The half-told truths.

Just finished reading an article in The Economist titled, "Kashmir's Troubles: Shaking the Mountains." Yet another of those countless articles on Kashmir by a foreign magazine which berates India. It has become a common practice for western media to criticize Indian policies in Kashmir, which by the way, is a part of India and not "controlled by India".

The article starts with portraying Indian establishment as a villain killing innocent Kashmiris. Well, I agree that there have been cases of police and army brutalities in Kashmir and the rights of the locals have been violated. However, this is not the complete picture. There are many instances where the army is wrongfully blamed for an act that it has not committed.

The article says, "Moderates who attempt to reunite the parts have been locked up or worse (one was shot and paralysed by a mystery assailant)", clearly pointing fingers at the Indian establishment for organizing such killings. The Moderate being talked about here is Mr. Fazl Haq Qureshi who is now believed to have been attacked by the hardliners in the valley. The recent revelations by Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat that killings of various separatist leaders in the past including Mirwaiz, Lone ,and Wani were organized by their own people, i.e the hardliners within the party, are significant. Sajjad Lone, the son of the slained Hurriyat Conference leader, agreed with Prof. Bhat and said that his father was killed by Pakistanis and ISI too was involved in his killing.

These statements show us how certain hardliners in the Kashmir valley and the western media wrongly implicate the Indian security forces for every act of violence. There are several instances where the militants end up killing civilians for not cooperating with them. Such incidents go unreported. But if someone is killed by the security agencies, the valley fills up with anti-India slogans. I am not condoning the killings of innocent individuals by army or police, but the reaction needs to be similar for all killings. People are afraid of raising voices against militants for fear of brutal retribution but do so against the army without any fear and the politicians of the valley never fail to use such opportunities to increase their influence amongst the masses.

Clearly, this situation has arisen because of trust deficit between kashmiris and the administration. Various governments at the Centre have a role to play in this systematic decline of trust and increase of anti-India sentiment. The government needs to be more pro-active and needs to understand the aspirations of the Kashmiris and make them a part of the decision-making process. Kashmir is indeed a case of missed opportunities. But it is never too late. The government has an excellent opportunity right now to bridge the trust deficit. It has to start with buliding up the economy and the process has already started. India has to quicken its pace if it wishes to outsmart the radical elements in the state.

This said, it is also important that the western media and a section of Indian media play a positive role here. In stead of merely highligthing and exaggerating the wrongdoings of the Indian security forces and government, they need to also talk about the positives done in the state and also bring out the wrongdoings of the militants and hardliners. Truth half told is as bad as a lie. They need to stop sensationalizing the issue and play a constructive role. They also need to improve their understanding of the region and expand their sources on whose testimonies they base their news reports. Only then would they fulfil their press dharma.

PS For the above mentioned article go to


  1. Well said.
    Further, the media must tell the growing socio-economic integration of Kashmir with rest of India. There are more Kashmiri students in Pune/Bangalore/Delhi then on the streets of Srinagar.

    Kashmiris trade with rest if India and marry out of Kashmir.

    The more Kashmir integrates with India the more peaceful and prosperous it will be.

  2. I completely agree with you here.