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What is Happening in Kashmir

In the last three decades,  Kashmir has emerged as a 'State of Exception' and witnessed gross human/civil rights violations after the enactment of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990. The human rights organizations have documented multiple instances of extrajudicial killings, custodial torture and deaths, rapes and enforced disappearances in the Kashmir Valley.

Very recently, the Jammu and Kashmir government headed by the Governor passed an unusual order banning the movement of civilian vehicles twice a week from dawn to dusk until May 31, 2019, on the 270 km Jammu-Srinagar-Baramulla national highway. The stated purpose is to facilitate the movement of security personnel on the highway during the parliamentary elections. The very first day of the closure on the highway (April 7) disrupted distribution of essentials and halted all passenger services. The ban is likely to have disastrous effects on the economy of the Kashmir valley and everyday life of the people.

The power of armed forces being exercised by the Indian state in the Kashmir valley reminds us of the mode of exercise of colonial power noted by Frantz Fanon in his classic book, The Wretched of the Earth: "In the colonies it is the policeman and the soldier who are the official, instituted go-betweens, the spokesmen of the settler and his rule of oppression... It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the language of pure force".

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Frontier
Vol. 51, No. 47, May 26 - Jun 1- 18, 2019