Unrest In IIOJK -The Nation

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Violence in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) continues to escalate as government forces have detained at least 500 people in a sweeping crackdown following a string of suspected attacks and targeted killings in the disputed region. Tensions have been on the rise in recent weeks with a spate of shootings of civilians, including two teachers last week. The situation is incredibly unfortunate causing a public outrage in IIOJK and across the country, with politicians from all sides condemning the violence.

In this latest cycle of violence, the minority groups such as Hindus and Sikhs have also been the victims of attacks which has further exacerbated communal tensions in IIOJK. Predictably, the security forces in the region have blamed the resistance fighters for this unrest, and have described the killings as a “conspiracy to create terror and communal rift”. While any violence targeting innocent civilians should be unequivocally condemned, the role of the occupying forces in creating such conditions for violence cannot be swept under the rug as would be expedient for New Delhi.

The Indian Police has said that individuals belonging to The Resistance Front (TRF) group are responsible for the attacks. It is important to note that this group was formed after the BJP stripped IIOJK of its semi-autonomous status in August 2019. The relentless oppression that the residents of IIOJK have been subjected to only further creates an enabling environment for such outfits. As pro-freedom leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has rightly stated, when militarisation is pursued as a state policy to handle a live and lingering conflict rather than seeking conflict resolution, bloodshed and loss of precious human lives is the consequence.

It is the BJP government’s actions and rhetoric that has communalised the conflict in IIOJK. The blame cannot be shared and the current situation has come about due to India’s uncompromising policy in IIOJK. This cycle of violence will only make matters worse for the Muslims in the region, and it is expected that New Delhi will try to scapegoat Islamabad for the deteriorating situation. However, before the situation devolves any further, the international community must break its silence over the ongoing atrocities and Pakistan must continue raising this pressing matter on every available forum.