The Kashmiri Media has reported that Indian troops in their continued acts of state terrorism have martyred seven Kashmiri youths in the Tangmarg and Nowgam regions in the last three days. With both governments looking the other way, perhaps it is safe to say that nothing will change. Bodies of three youths were recovered from the debris of a house destroyed by the troops with mortar shelling at Khunchipora in Tangmarg area of Baramulla district. Another youth was killed by the troops during a continued siege and search operation at Toot Maar Ghali in Kupwara district.

The two days of fierce fighting near the heavily militarised line of control were due to anti-India protests over the Indian government’s plan to establish colonies for retired soldiers and migrant Kashmiri Pandits - clearly an attempt to change the demographic constitution of the valley. Separatist groups say, while they are not against the return of Pandits, they will resist Sainik (soldier) colonies and exclusive settlements made for Pandits.

The Indian government’s stance is that needless controversies are being created to disrupt peace in Kashmir and no land has been identified and sanctioned for Sainik colonies, yet it has said that they want a dignified return of Pandits to their homeland. The police have arrested separatist leaders who had called for the strike. The plans to settle and resettle people in a disputed territory are alarming and parallels with what happened in Palestine can easily be drawn, especially since the international community has turned a blind eye to both these disputes.

Fighting has been on-going since 1989 and more than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and Indian military crackdown. The Indian control over the region is leading to increased violence. The problem is that the protests, rather than making Indian control untenable, are only leading to harder and harsher crackdowns and more losses for the locals.