There are times, when in conflicts, established hierarchy betrays, reverses or inverts itself and the place or the binary distinction breaks down, in moments of rupture of blunt torture and oppression. When the seemingly dependent entity (pro-India political parties in Kashmir) turn out to be the foundations for the dominant entity (India), the subservient installation becomes the ground on which the dominant entity stands.

With the passage of time, India’s political and bureaucratic class has, at will, exploited this dependent entity to distort the history of Kashmir, expanding territorial occupation, cultural aggression and deceiving the international community by terming ‘Kashmir’ as its integral part on the confounding basis of the “instrument of accession” and so-called elections held at the barrel of a gun. When the international community offers a helping hand to resolve the conflict, India shrewdly manages the Kashmir conflict by referring to Kashmir as a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan. When Pakistanis approaches them, they say it’s as an internal matter of India, and incriminate Pakistan over sponsoring terrorism and fueling tensions in the valley. When the people of Kashmir rise against illegal occupation they are managed through bullets, pellets and a jingoistic Indian media.

The Indian media constructs narratives and manufactures consent. Since nationalism debates have taken new heights under the BJP lead India, with a footing in neo-liberal economic policies and growing ambitions for membership in the Nuclear Supplier’s Group, the Indian media follows a strict, systemic and conniving pattern of total blackout on the current unrest in Kashmir while the government’s official maxim remains an ‘iron hand in a velvet glove’. When the Uri attack happened, suddenly OB vans with entire crews appeared on the spot and did live reporting. Nothing wrong in reporting that but then one would like to ask them where were they before and after Uri attack, when live ammunition was fired at young and old, boys and girls alike? Where was the Indian media when Insha was blinded, ATM guard Riyaz was killed, and Freedom Chacha was arrested? Where was the media when 115 innocents were murdered, 15,000 injured, 1100 blinded, 25,000 arrested?

Amidst curfews, encounters and stone pelting, the task becomes even more difficult for local Kashmiri journalists to the extent that Indian forces hurl the choicest abuses to female journalists and intimidate them while male journalists are put behind the bars.

The ugly face of the press-gag came in the form of banning a well-respected daily, the Kashmir Reader. This newspaper was challenging every distorted fact and narrative presented by government pressers, hypocrites and opportunists. The paper was clearly following the foundational adage of journalism “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. Since it never bowed down to the whims of the establishment, the price was in the offing and on October 3, 2016 an official ban came from the government on the premise that “KR tends to incite acts of violence and disrupt public peace and tranquility”. This ban has been termed by journalists as a “return to the dark ages, martial law, death of freedom of press”.

The Kashmir conflict is murky and baleful. Once considered an area of heavenly serenity it has now turned into a war-zone. In this sanguinary conflict, metaphors of pain and resistance have manifested in such meaningful and lively forms that it’s driving India and its Kashmiri coterie mad.

Kashmir has been the worst victim of state terrorism, violence and always been at the receiving end from India ever since Indian soldiers landed in the valley, be it in the form of massacres at places like Gawkadal, Khanyar, Tengpora, Zakura, kishtwar, Bijbehara, Doda, Wandhama, Hawal, Sopore, Aloosa, Kupwara, etc., or extra-judicial killings. Since it’s quotidian of Indian soldiers carrying out such acts in a conflict zone, it includes all those methods deemed by international conventions as war crimes, but such draconian laws have been put in place that provides immunity to these soldiers and justice is raped in broad day-light. This keeps continuing under the garb of the farcical Counter Insurgency (COIN).

There is a second less noticed facet attached to state terrorism which, although latent. It is the manifold increase in purchasing and manufacturing of arms and ammunition by India. Since these technologically advanced weapons rapidly become obsolete, the Indian defense system can’t hold back for long and needs to be put into service. This lethal ammunition is unleashed on Maoists, Naxalites or Kashmiris (readers can properly identify the disturbed areas by an insightful text “Blood on my Hands: Confessions of Staged Encounters” by Kishalay Bhattacharjee can add to the understanding).

However, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) (the brainchild of Indian security corridors created to annihilate Hurriyat Conference (HC)) was initially posited as “soft separatist” and took every issue which HC has been propagating and disseminating for years. It managed to create political goodwill and forged an alliance with the RSS backed BJP to form the government in the state. As events unfolded, PDP did what every dependent entity has been doing in Kashmir i.e. obey the masters in New Delhi. The dependent entities have started their politics on the killings and are hellbent to take political mileage out of it, to assure their credibility for next elections and to prepare ground for next phase in the Kashmir genocide.

Although “elections” in Kashmir continue to be held and client regimes kept on changing but what never changed was the longing for freedom (Azaadi) and the iron will of Kashmiris to die for it. Armed rebellion never crossed the Styx in Kashmir, despite the fact that India kept on dispatching its new armed contingencies to valley, approximately figuring 7 lakhs.

Trunk headed Indian security cohorts have again unleashed the reign of terror on Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir (JIK) activists. Many have been detained under draconian laws or held incommunicado, hence becoming primary and worst victims of state repression and essentially facing an existential threat. The trajectory of state repression is similar to that of the 1990s when the popular armed uprising was almost cut to size brutishly and ruthlessly by Indian armed and paramilitary forces, which involved the sadistic and austere murder of singular, resolute, prodigious and unarmed 1800 JIK activists.

As the Indian legal luminary, AG Noorani says “it’s not a revolt but a revolution”. The present generation has shouldered the responsibility of carrying the charge of light brigade in a new direction. These young boys and girls were raised and nourished under the shade of crackdowns, curfews, mass rapes, disappearances, custodial killings, judicial murders, intimidation, humiliation, subjugation, oppression and worst of all, under “occupation”. With the advent of social media, online newsletters, tabloids and other platforms, the simmering outrage of Kashmiri’s is visible on these platforms and has helped them to destroy the façade.

With security establishments continuously stifling dissent through crackdowns on student activists, ex-rebels, abusing folklore and intimidating them, to make them succumb to their authority and occupational rule, there is a blatant shift in the sentiments i.e. from Anti-India to hate-India. The psi-ops and warfare methods used by India has pushed young Kashmiri’s to the wall and new indigenous brigade of well learned armed rebels sprouted, and allied with the residue of the 90’s. A dawn of new guerrillas filled the crimsoned canvas. These valorous rebels are loved, respected, cherished, sheltered and prayed for by the natives. Burhan Wani embarked on a noble and sublime mission with new sense of intent and purpose, striking a chord of harmony, honour and self-esteem and inspiring many in the valley through his videos. Navigating through the valley of hearts and minds, he welcomed Kashmiri pundits to the valley, assured the safety of Hindu pilgrims to Amaranth cave. He got what he aspired for- his martyrdom became the catalyst which broke the shackles of fear and replaced it with bravery.