The risk that the Modi government took by provoking Pakistan into a military confrontation in the backdrop of Pulwama attack alleging her involvement in the incident, was ultimate madness which could have for the first time in the history of the world resulted in a war between the two nuclear states with horrendous consequences for them, the region and the world at large.

The Pulwama attack occurred in the Indian occupied Kashmir where India is using its military muscle ruthlessly to subdue the freedom struggle. Since 1990, Indian security forces have killed more than seventy thousand people, thousands have “disappeared”, tens of thousands have been tortured and hundreds of young people maimed and blinded by pellet guns. The death toll over the last twelve months has been the highest since 2009. According to the Associated Press reports almost 570 people have lost their lives, 260 of them militants, 160 civilians and 150 Indian armed personnel who died in the line of duty.

Pakistan along with the world community condemned the attack and in response to impulsive reaction by the Indian government pointing an accusing finger towards her, unhesitatingly offered cooperation in the investigations while rejecting the Indian allegations out rightly. But the Modi government, regrettably, preferred taking political advantage out of the human tragedy in view of the ensuing general elections in India. Under a well thought out strategy the Indian government whipped up jingoism and war hysteria in the country. What happened after that sent alarm bells across the world. Had Pakistan not shown the patience and sagacity to resist the provocation and launched the diplomatic offensive to sensitize the world about the lurking dangers and sought their intervention to dissuade India from acting irresponsibly, it would have led to mutual destruction.

Pulwama incident was undoubtedly an act of terrorism but at the same time a stark reminder of the fact that violence breeds violence. What the Indian security forces are doing in the Indian Occupied Kashmir they could not expect bouquets from the people who were bearing the brunt of their brutalities. The Indian government instead of looking at the root-cause of such incidents and resolving the Kashmir dispute in consonance with the UN resolution, chose to portray it as an act of Pakistan sponsored terrorism with a view to maligning her, reaping political advantage and diverting world attention from its atrocities in the IHK.

The whole effort went against the expectation of Modi government. Kashmir issue became internationalized and Pakistan emerged triumphant on diplomatic, political and military fronts. Many intellectual circles within India and saner political analysts have drawn the conclusion that the advantage that the Modi government might have anticipated from stand-off with Pakistan seems to have been lost due to false claims made by the Indian government regarding hitting a terrorist camp and killing 350 people which were exposed by the international media. Political opponents of Modi and many segments of the Indian society have already started questioning credibility of the Modi government.

The people of Kashmir are fighting for their freedom and the Indian security forces have not been able to subdue it in spite of the bestiality that they have exhibited. The freedom movement in IHK is an indigenous phenomenon also acknowledged by the Indian Army Chief in an interview with Economic Times last June. Reportedly he also emphasized the need for negotiations. Indian human rights activist Arundhati Roy in a write-up in Huffington Times dilating on the situation in Kashmir and Indian response to it said “ Indians who valorise their own struggle for Independence from British Rule and virtually worship those who led it are for the most part strangely opaque to Kashmiris who are fighting for the same thing “ Referring to the burgeoning conflict in IHK she observed “ Who in their right mind could imagine that this hellishly complicated, hellishly cruel war would be solved or even mitigated in any way by a one-off, hastily executed, theatrical “surgical-strike,” which turns out to have been not-so-surgical after all” Referring to the conflict in Kashmir she reiterated “The war that we are in the middle of, is not a war between India and Pakistan. It is a war that is being fought in Kashmir which expanded into the beginnings of yet another war between India and Pakistan. Kashmir is the real theatre of unspeakable violence and moral corrosion that can spin us into violence and nuclear war at any moment. To prevent that from happening, the conflict in Kashmir has to be addressed and resolved. That can only be done if Kashmiris are given a chance to freely and fearlessly tell the world what they are fighting for and what they really want.”

The New York Times in its editorial while welcoming the de-escalation observed “But this relative calm is not a solution. As long as India and Pakistan refuse to deal with their core dispute — the future of Kashmir — they face unpredictable, possibly terrifying consequences.” The paper emphasized international involvement saying” Without international pressure, a long-term solution is unlikely, and the threat of nuclear war remains.” The newspaper also disapproved the rigorous elections campaign by Modi by stirring up anti-Muslim sentiments among the Indian masses.

The war hysteria and anti-Muslim sentiments stirred by the Modi government showed their ugly face in Lucknow where Kashmiri vendors were assaulted by Hindu extremists on 7 March and the video went viral. Just when the video went viral a Kashmiri youth lobbed a grenade at a Bus stand in Jummu killing one person and injuring many. Jummu predominantly is a Hindu town. In the aftermath of Pulwama attack several Kashmiri students were chased off their campuses and many Kashmiri tenants in Delhi were thrown out by their landlords. Two hundred shanty houses mostly of Muslims were torched in Meerut in the name of removing encroachments. Modi may or may not win the elections but one thing is sure that he has created unbridgeable fissures among people belonging to different religions, cultures and nationalities living in Indian which could do unimaginable damage to communal harmony.

The reality is that no matter whatever tactics Modi government may adopt it cannot suppress freedom movement in Kashmir and hide from the international community the atrocities that the Indian security forces are committing against the people of Indian held Kashmir. As the New York Times has stressed the Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved through dialogue between Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir. The Modi government must realize the dangers inherent in the non-resolution of the Kashmir dispute before the situation spills into a point of no return.