Kashmir intifada? New view of India, Pakistan territory dispute.
Street violence gripping Kashmir is becoming known as the Kashmir intifada, in a nod to the earlier uprisings of Palestinian stone-throwing youths against Israeli forces.
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“First of all, the government should try to contact the leadership of the teenage protesters about their grievances,” says Balraj Puri, director of the Institute of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs. While their leaders and entire list of grievances remain unknown, he says, they have demanded the release of all youths as a condition for ending their movement.Skip to next paragraph
“As far as ‘Kashmir intifada’ is concerned, there is no clear model for teenagers. They are groping for their way,” says Mr. Puri. "Of course they are in touch with the events taking place elsewhere.
Raman uses the term intifada less in reference to the Israeli conflict and more to the vision of “jihadi intifada” outlined by Al Qaeda’s No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in 2007. Mr. Zawahiri, he says, called for “leaderless street violence” and a mixing of violent and nonviolent tactics.
Intifada's complicated association
Still, the term’s association with the Israel-Palestinian conflict raises some hackles when applied to Kashmir.
“At a factual level, I would obviously disagree with its application to Kashmir,” says Sumit Ganguly, a professor at Indiana University at Bloomington. “The Indian state has committed many sins, but it has legal standing in Kashmir and a moral and constitutional obligation to the non-Muslim population of the state.”
There appears to be broad agreement among experts that the boys, for now, are not acting in concert with militants. Yet, much of the security apparatus in the state is focused on fighting insurgents, not managing protesters.
“The local police have focused on counter-insurgency duties over the last several years and can't cope with civilian mobs,” writes Mr. Ganguly in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.
He adds economic stagnation to the list of underlying grievances of the younger generation: “The coalition state government has done little to attract investment into the troubled state. Kashmiris, especially young men, have limited employment opportunities.”
For now, the economy has only worsened because of the violence. The valley is highly dependent on tourist dollars. The unrest has shuttered businesses in downtown Srinigar and scared off tourists from enjoying the mountain weather.
More articles on Kashmir and intifadas:
- Is a third intifada brewing?
- After brutal years, Kashmiris embrace new calm
- Kashmiri mothers hunt for lost sons