The viral image of Indian soldiers dragging a Kashmiri freedom fighter speaks volumes of the moral bankruptcy of “the largest democracy” in the world. The illegal occupation of the valley has inculcated barbaric traits in the character of the Indian military. We frequently witness such images where the occupants through their behaviour show how occupation deprives the occupants of their humanity.

Parading a dead chained by his feet cannot defeat the spirit of Kashmiri people. They have long endured Indian oppression. The action exemplifies the barbaric and inhumane conduct of Indian army. This image shows India’s regard for the international human rights regime. What are the world powers up to considering the worst human rights record of India in the occupied valley? Their economic interests in India explain the silence of the world powers. Even apologists for Indian occupation find it difficult to defend the action.

It is not the first time that the Indian army has shown how low it can go. A few months earlier a man was seen tied with ropes on the bonnet of the military jeep to avoid people’s anger – that is often reflected through hurling of stones at Indian soldiers. If India thinks that display of brutality can inflict a psychological defeat on Kashmiris, then it has miscalculated the resilience and courage of the Kashmiri people. Brutal behaviour cannot suppress people’s desire for self-determination.

The gruesome image of the slain freedom fighter is nothing but terrorism. Most people in Kashmir live too close to injustice and deprivation. Kashmiris know that the Indian state institutions often rely on terror to impose their authority upon disaffected people. It is this comprehension of state action at the subconscious level that the Kashmiris have never given any room to fear to seep into their minds. The grotesque image of the murdered freedom fighter is a confirmation of Arundathi Roy’s words, “India needs azadi from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs azadi from India.”