Letter to WSJ editor re: “Security forces fire on protesters in Kashmir" Print
Written by Dr. Rahul Pandit   
Thursday, 01 July 2010 00:00

RE: “Security forces fire on protesters in Kashmir"
Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, June 29, 2010 by Tom Wright
In Mr. Wright’s article “Security forces fire on protesters in Kashmir”, he makes a grievous error in attributing the current rise of violence in Kashmir to the killing of a youth a few weeks ago by a ‘tear-gas canister fired by security forces during a protest march”.

The fact that Shafeeq Ahmed Sheikh of Nattipora was killed is not in dispute, but the fact that “nobody in Kashmir has accepted Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani's initial suggestion of Sheikh's death in 'firing'” seems to have been completely ignored (reference Ahmed Ali Fayyaz, Bureau Chief, The Early Times, http://www.earlytimes.in/newsdet.aspx?q=53446). Sheikh was killed by his fellow stone pelters in a crowd that he willingly joined, as corroborated by SKIMS Medical Superintendent Dr Syed Amin Tabish and a team of Kashmiri Muslim doctors who conducted Sheikh's post mortem. Perhaps more telling is the fact that whenever there is an improved opportunity for the Hindu minority formerly residing in the Valley, the Kashmiri Pandits, to temporarily return to their homeland for religious purposes, the Muslim separatists foment trouble. It is no coincidence that a record turnout is expected for this year’s Amarnath Yatra, and a record turnout already just occurred for the Hindu holiday celebrating the goddess in Tula Mula a few weeks ago.
The pattern by now is very familiar and corroborated by the local population. A group of youths is encouraged, often with payments by Kashmiri separatists, to start throwing stones at the security forces to ensure retaliation. When the security forces retaliate, the shells or bullets occasionally injure protesters or even kill, including rubber bullets when fired at close range, as was the case this weekend when security officers were attacked at close range and bullet-proof cars torched. By manufacturing such incidents, the separatists and politicians who survive because of this turmoil and unrest serve their own agenda. Articles such as Wright’s indicate that protesters are armed ‘only with stones’, but ironically enough it is the stone-thrower’s own weapon that killed the first victim last month, and yet the blame still fell upon the forces defending themselves from ‘only’ stones.