Serving the Militant’s Cause: The Role of Indo-Pak State Policies in Sustaining Militancy in Kashmir
A strong majority of the people in the valley believe
that this move could drastically alter the demographic composition of Jammu and
Kashmir (Dutta, 2019). The fear of demographic
change looms large in the minds of the population which could trigger a fresh
wave of militancy in Kashmir (Bhat, 2019).
The iron-fisted approach combined with the declining
of democratic space has been used by New Delhi for (mis)handling Kashmir since
the 1950s, alienating large portions of the Kashmiri population and pushing
them on the brink of militancy.
Pakistan, on the other hand, has exploited India’s
mishandling of Kashmir to recruit and use proxies to pursue its own vital
security and political interests.
There have been numerous studies exploring the origins
of the Kashmiri insurgency, its participants and organisation that have led to
the recent upsurge in unrest within the troubled state. Yet, the three recent
books under review all provide a refreshing and even-handed assessment of the
militancy; each in their own way exploring the complex links between Pakistan’s
deep state, India’s heavy-handed security presence and Kashmiri politics of
David Devadas’ (2018) The
Generation of Rage in Kashmir investigates the motivations of the
recent generation of Kashmiri youth who have increasingly supported the
militancy. Aside from providing a clear narrative of Kashmir’s troubled
history, Devadas’s book provides a nuanced explanation of how and why the
militancy has been revitalised, challenging the typical black-and-white
narratives on Kashmir.
In contrast to Devadas’s sweeping analysis of the
underlying issues, Christina Fair’s book, In Their Own Words,
provides a deep and detailed study of one of the more prominent and dangerous
militant groups in Kashmir, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT).
In drawing from over 900 primary sources from the LeT,
Fair challenges the conventional thinking on factors behind Pakistan’s use of
and support for the terrorist group.
Finally, Rao Farman Ali’s History of Armed
Struggle in Kashmir challenges the conventional narrative that the
Kashmiri insurgency only began in 1989. Detailing the political events
throughout the 1940s and the 1950s, Ali illustrates that militant groups
emerged significantly earlier than generally believed and most notably provides
a detailed commentary on the first indigenous militant outfit Al-Fatah. The
insights present in all three books are significant in understanding the
markers of distinction between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ manifestations of the