AS the Indian security forces find an unending stream of stone-throwing protestors in Kashmir Valley too hard to stem, despite resorting to brutal and indiscriminate use of conventional weapons and other methods of oppression, New Delhi decides to equip them with the prohibited 'laser dazzlers. There are even reports that the weapon has already been tested in Held Kashmir where India seems to have a carte blanche to do whatever it wants, without the world bothering about what is happening in this far-off corner. It is a great pity that the Pakistan government is keeping an attitude of a silent spectator, as if it has abandoned its traditional commitment to extend moral and political support to the freedom struggle. In the past 11 weeks, the Indian forces have killed nearly 70 protestors, including 10 on Monday, the highest tally for one day in the recent wave of peoples outburst against Indias continued illegal occupation of their homeland. Laser dazzler, first developed by the US in early 1990s, was frowned upon and condemned by the International Red Cross and the United Nations for its unpredictably terrifying effects, and its development was stopped as a result of an international outcry against it. The device flashes beams of two to three metres wide and could cause permanent blindness, in case the amount of energy behind it exceeds a certain limit. But the catch lies in the virtual impossibility of determining that amount. The line between the amount of energy that causes temporary blindness and that causes permanent blindness is so thin that one could never be certain whether the safe limit is being kept or exceeded. Besides, as different persons in different atmospheric conditions can sustain different amount of energy and not become permanently blind, its use is regarded as a frightfully cruel means of inflicting human rights abuses. This is not the first time that desperation at Kashmiris urge for freedom has led New Delhi to make use of banned weapons, torture, rape of women, mysterious disappearances of young men and a host of other ruthless means of suppression. In spite of all that, its hold over the disputed state has not gained legitimacy in the eyes of the local population. The Kashmiri intifada, with its characteristic of stone-throwing and street marches, confronts it with a graver moral challenge. There is no other way out for India, but to honour its pledge of holding a UN-sponsored free and fair plebiscite to elicit the Kashmiris wish whether they would be part of Pakistan or India. In this age when the message of democracy has spread to the farthest corners of the world and the peoples yearning to have their political destiny in their own hands has taken firm roots, it is hoping against hope to keep Kashmiris in bondage.