A Burning Valley

"A spark is enough to start a huge fire". Nothing perhaps has been more closer to this adage than the recent train of events in Indian side of Kashmir. What started off as a dispute over an ancient piece of land has snowballed into a major controversy; a controversy that is threatening to shake the very roots of India's integrity. Kashmir is surely afire, and how. To an observer from outside, any instability in Kashmir has always been viewed as the handiwork of Pakistan sponsored militants. This conception has been very true in most cases. This time round, however, the situation seems to be of a vastly different nature. The fast accelerating wave of protest around the state has seen the involvement of the common man like never before. People are out on the streets in their hundreds and are unfazed by the presence of gun toting security forces who have been authorised to use force if deemed necessary. Now, this is something that even the government may not ave been prepared for - a people's uprising. History has proven time and again that mass movements have not only been difficult but impossible to suppress. The Indian government has to act fast before the current protests gain more momentum. Because, the more these protests continue, the more public support they are going to garner and the more distant the Indian government will go from the minds of the Kashmiri people. Already, important public voices are beginning to speak out for the cause of the Kashmiris. Omar Abdullah and Arundhati Roy have even advocated independence for the Kashmiris. We may yet see History unfold in the valley, one way or the other.



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