The suffering and pain witnessed by the the people of Jammu and Kashmir from the last two and a half decades has been to such an extent that it has completely shaken one and all. People have been in constant conflict with the state.

The use of gun – be it the state or non-state actors – proved to be so fatal that it obliterated the whole of Jammu and Kashmir.

It is high time we realised the dastardly acts of barbarism done through gun, which must be stopped. We must unequivocally stand against the gun.

We have almost lost one generation and we must be careful about the next one. If we are really concerned about our next generation, we should shun the gun.

Last month the seminar was held in Srinagar Jammu and Kashmir. The title of the seminar was 'Has Gun Proven To Be The Enemy of Kashmir? Will Violence Achieve Anything?'

Without any hesitation I accepted the invitation to be one of the panelists, because the theme of the seminar touched me personally.

I want Jammu and Kashmir to be a ray of hope for South Asia, where everyone seeks the bread of peace, where everyone has equal opportunity, where there is space and respect for every opinion. And where there is no exploitation, no bigotry, no supremacy of one over other, no masters. The end to gun oppression will be the first step towards achieving that.

While putting forward my views I begun with the Kashmir issue. The dispute is one of the determining factors for the stability of the South Asia. It is a complex issue, whose resolutions may take time.

We will strive for the solution, but at the same time we need to keep in mind that we have to survive as well. Being concerned citizens, we must give space and respect to everyone’s thought and let us have a battle of ideas than the battle of barrels.

It is neither a question of being an integral part of India nor a matter of being the jugular vein of Pakistan; it is the struggle for dignity which finally will culminate in the emancipation from miseries.

From the last few years, stone pelting has became the norm in Kashmir. Everyday there are cases of stone pelting in some parts of Kashmir. I personally was involved in the fighting against Indian forces, but then I drew some lessons from years of stone pelting, which I concluded was not in the good interests of common people of Kashmir.

When the Amarnath land row started in 2008, we were active in that agitation and were organising and mobilising the people from our village and its adjacent areas for protests and demonstrations at our district headquarter. We gathered people for rallies like TRC  and Eidgah, called jointly by Hurriyet.  We were using loudspeakers and other mediums for it, which I realised was immature, and caused instability which hits every concerned youth of Kashmir.

I grew up in the village which was known as the hot bed of resistance in my native district. I noticed that I was being glorified and perhaps instigated. People used to call me a jihadi who will go to heaven.

Finally, the day came when it was announced that the lease order was cancelled. The sense of victory not only delighted us but was a ray of hope. It was after a long time that we abandoned violence and hit the streets with mass movements. It was the stage where every Kashmiri was proud of the movement, more so than the barrels of guns. Even so, later on we failed to shape the real resistance movement again, which not only hurt me but made me think that we need to come up with a concrete analysis of the society.

To be honest, I must tell you frankly that our whole political spectrum is going in a wayward direction. Some are viewing it as a complete religious battle between Hindus and Muslims, some view it as a battle between India and Pakistan, and accordingly they have their own sides.

After some months the Assembly elections started, and we started our mission again: pelting stones on every political party except one. I asked my friends why we are not supposed to pelt stones on that particular party, one among them said this is our own party! It was shocking.

The electoral political leaders consider themselves as epitomes of honesty and integrity, which they are not. They are, in fact, also responsible for every brute in Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2009 again we started the same thing in protest of Asiya and Nelofar rape and murder case. We couldn't achieve anything, not because people were not supporting the movement, but because it was confined to their native district, and the rest of the Kashmir was doing business.

Again in 2010, in five months of strike, protests and demonstrations, hundreds were killed, but again we couldn't achieve anything.

Then I started thinking, we are losing lives every day. We have lost so much: lives, money and education as well. Why doesn't international community talk about us?

Then I understood that our resistance movement has been hijacked. Our movement is not a fight between religions or a battle against India; it is a political battle and we must fight it politically.

India brands our resistance as a communal one, and it is true that the movement is being influenced by fundamentalist elements, who have made it a religious movement.

After that I started talking to some friends about the problem with us and discussing what we need to do. Because we are the ones at the receiving end, not India or Pakistan.

Then I started meeting friends from all the three regions of JK, understanding their experience with life. What I understood was that we need to unite people of all regions to resolve our issues. We must give direction to our anger through pen, debate, discussion instead of stones or guns.

If we want to work for better society, we must be fair in calling a spade a spade. Injustice to anyone, by anyone, is condemnable and we must speak up against every injustice irrespective of religion, region, caste, language, sex etc.

It is known to all that India has cheated us right from 1953, when the then PM Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was unseated and the nomenclature of Sadar-I-Riyasat was changed to Governor and the PM to CM in 1965.

1984 was the turning point for the insurgency, when India toppled the elected government by organising defection through the then governor Jagmohan. Then again the rigging of Assembly elections in 1987 proved to be last nail in the coffin.

These may not be the only reasons behind the eruption of violence in Kashmir, but are substantial reasons.

Violating the essence of Article 370 and then legitimise it by the brutal power is one of the reasons of dissent, which further alienated and then turned into hatred. The brutality unleashed by the counter-insurgency agencies in terms of civilian killings, rapes, tortures, disappearances, etc created havoc in Jammu and Kashmir. Incidents like Kunun Poshpora, Gaw Kadal, Sopore, Handwara, Hawal, Bijbehara massacres were the worst for of state terrorism.

Arif Jamal, a Pakistani journalist, in his book Shadow War: The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir says more than 7,000 gunmen of one organisation who were fighting against India were killed by their own other organisation – the organisation whose members have been killed wanted an independent Jammu and Kashmir.

Several hundreds were killed in fights between rebel groups; one example being the bloody battle at  Pulwama Jammu and Kashmir in 1993, when one organisation tried to disarm another. The pro-independence political leaders having different opinion were eliminated, like Dr. Ahad Guru and Professor Abdul Ahad Wailoo, Mirwaiz Farooq, Qazi Nissar and Ghulam Qadir Wani.

The gun is in total control of Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. Whatever they wish to do in Jammu and Kashmir they do with it.

Kashmiri Pandit killings, Wandhama, Nadimarg are not only a blot on the movement, but gave us many unwanted tags: communalists, terroristists and whatnot.

Whether the gun was relevant or not in 1990s is debatable, but I don’t think it is revelant now. What we need is a pluralist movement, which must include all the regions: a revolutionary mass movement free from every kind of bigotry.