Rebellion against India’s rule over Kashmir is neither new nor surprising. Similarly, the brutality of the state’s response is equally familiar. In yet another sham anti-militant operation, the Indian security forces killed Dr Saifullah Mir, Hizbul Mujahideen leader, in the Rangreth area of Srinagar on Sunday. The police chief in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOK) views the killing of Dr Mir a big victory. However, his statement does not reflect the reality on the ground. If killing individuals were any solution to uproot aspiration for freedom, the struggle of Kashmiris would have died long ago.

The fake encounters like the one in which Dr Mir embraced martyrdom will only fan the flames of the movement to gain independence. The clashes between the security forces and the youth of the valley tell us that the young generations now also believe in the efficacy of militant struggle. It is on India for leaving no choice for indigenous Kashmiris; that they have to fight for what is already theirs. India will indeed respond with further crackdowns in future to avoid such protests. But no power has ever succeeded in stopping people from dreaming of freedom and fighting against illegal occupations.

The high handedness with which India is trying to deal with IIOK is only making things worse for it. India’s brutal crackdowns and oppression in illegally occupied Kashmir mean that New Delhi is digging its own grave deeper. The impunity with which India is acting in Kashmir is alienating not only the locals, but instead the cruelty with which India tries to gag the Kashmiris’ desire for a free Kashmir is also bringing India’s worst face before the international community. It is an open secret that Indian forces are using the pandemic as a smokescreen to kill popular leaders in fake encounters. The global powers must take note of these so-called gun battles that are brutish displays of state terrorism.