A ‘No-Peace’ Political Initiative in Kashmir–a Critique of Delhi’s New Mask for Subjugation

By Angana Chatterji

First published in Conveyor Newsmagazine, Srinagar, September-October 2010

The 8-point Plan, New Delhi’s political initiative to address the crises in Kashmir, attests to the parallel and incommensurate realities of the sovereign and the subjugated, the Indian state and the Kashmiris.

The 8-point Plan renders obvious New Delhi’s limited comfort zone. The Plan is not an overture to healing the reality of suffering and outrage inside Kashmir. Rethinking militarization and military governance is not the priority. The ambition is to manage Kashmiris and to keep the disarray concealed from the international gaze.

New Delhi announced its 8-point Plan on September 25, 2010, following the visit to India-ruled Kashmir of a 39-member All Party Delegation from New Delhi led by Union Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, and parallel to the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York City. That Defence Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony did not accompany the All Party Delegation was indicative of New Delhi’s mood. Continue reading

Kashmir: A Time for Freedom

“A mother, reportedly asked to watch her daughter’s rape by army personnel, pleaded for her release. They refused. She then pleaded that she could not watch, asking to be sent out of the room or be killed. The soldier pointed a gun to her forehead, stating he would grant her wish, and shot her dead before they proceeded to rape the daughter.”

By Angana Chatterji

First published in Greater Kashmir, daily newspaper, Srinagar
September 25, 2010

“Freedom” represents many things across rural and urban spaces in India-ruled  Kashmir. These divergent meanings are steadfastly united in that freedom always signifies an end to India’s authoritarian governance.

In the administration of brutality, India, the postcolony, has proven itself
coequal to its former colonial masters. Kashmir is not about “Kashmir.”
Governing Kashmir is about India’s coming of age as a power, its ability to
disburse violence, to manipulate and dominate. Kashmir is about nostalgia,
about resources, and buffer zones. The possession of Kashmir by India renders an imaginary past real, emblematic of India’s triumphant unification as a nation-state. Controlling Kashmir requires that Kashmiri demands for justice be depicted as threatening to India’s integrity. India’s contrived enemy in Kashmir is a plausible one – the Muslim “Other,” India’s historically
manufactured nemesis.

What is at Stake?

Between June 11 and September 22 of 2010, Kashmir witnessed the execution of 109 youth, men, and women by India’s police, paramilitary, and military. Indian forces opened fire on crowds, tortured children, detained elders without explanation, and coerced false confessions. Since June 7, there have been 73 days of curfew and 75 days of strikes and agitation. On September 11, the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, the violence continued. The paramilitary and police verbally abused and physically attacked civil society dissenters. Summer 2010 was not unprecedented. Kashmir has been subjected to much, much worse. Continue reading