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[Visiting Lecture Series 2017] Of Traitors and Collaborators: Exploring the State of Occupation the Indian administered Kashmir
August 30 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
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Of Traitors and Collaborators: Exploring the State of Occupation the Indian administered Kashmir
Dr. Ather Zia, University of Northern Colorado
To many in the international community, the Kashmir dispute appears as UN arbitration gone wrong or the two evolving democracies of India and Pakistan grappling at their final frontiers. There is another side to this debate that of the Kashmiri people who have been fighting for Independence even before the creation of the two nations and before it was bifurcated as a temporary measure by the UN in 1947. While the two contesting nations held onto each side, the Kashmiris clamored for the plebiscite that was promised by the UN but never held. While Pakistan administered Kashmir has been relatively stable under an autonomous status, Indian administered Kashmir (IAK) has been restive. From 1989 onwards IAK is aflame in an armed and a grassroots struggle for self-determination. More than 700,000 Indian troops are stationed in the region and under laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers act, the army acts with dreaded impunity. According to human rights organizations, more than 70,000 Kashmiris have been killed, and 8000+ have been forcibly disappeared in the counterinsurgency actions. This paper will examine India’s hold on Kashmir as a de-facto occupation (Lamb 1991) in light of IAK’s continued push for independence from Indian rule. I use the paradigm of foundational violence (Galtung 1991) as an analytic to trace how the Indian state normalizes the intense militarization and the massive human rights abuses in Kashmir making the desire for self-determination by the Kashmiri people moot. I argue the state of Indian governance in Kashmir is a “politics of democracy” primarily enacted through elections even when militarized control is the dominant feature of India’s territorial authority in the region and which is the main feature of any occupation.