Western media is always on the alert for China’s insults to its Uighur and Tibetan minorities. Certainly, China’s occupation of Tibet since 1950 has been a brutal, bloody botch that killed upwards of half a million Tibetans during the rebellion in the 1950s and during the Cultural Revolution. Despite China’s determined efforts to fulfill its enlightened despot role and reduce the body count in recent decades, Tibet’s hostility to Han control is intense, justified, and seemingly terminal.
But I think the well-oiled Western outrage machine gives a free ride to India, and brushes aside New Delhi’s ongoing shenanigans in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nepal, Jammu-Kashmir, Balochistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan as “nothing to see here” efforts by the dominant power (and vibrant democracy!) in the region to secure its sphere of influence.
Kashmir is the place where India’s democratic ideals and regional power aspirations collide with the greatest violence.
Kashmir is largely Muslim; it would have ended up in Pakistan at partition in 1947 but for the fact that its ruling Maharajah was a Hindu and something of a dingbat.
As it has clung to Kashmir for six decades, India has recapitulated Israel’s policies on the West Bank, occupying the region, ignoring U.N. resolutions calling for a plebiscite, and steadfastly resisting calls to internationalize the issue even as Kashmir’s insurgency exploded following a rigged election in 1989.
India has benefited from Western support and complacency in keeping Kashmir off the international front burner.
An EU delegation visited Kashmir in November; its statement that “Kashmir is an integral part of India” was triumphantly and extensively trumpeted in the Indian press.
The United States, as part of its pro-India tilt in Asian policy south of the Tibetan plateau, as recently as December 10 formally rejected a call by Pakistan’s president Asif Zardari to insert itself in the issue.
Kashmir is a big deal and a big problem.
Here are some numbers:
Population of India—controlled territories of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh: 10,000,000
Muslims as % of population: 67%
Number of people who demonstrated in the Kashmiri capital of Srinigar in 2008 to protest the Indian government’s transfer of 100 acres of land (out of a total of 6000 square miles in the total parcel) to a Hindu religious board to construct shelters for pilgrims visiting the sacred cave at Amarnath in Kashmir to worship a phallus-shaped ice stalagmite known as the Shivalingam that waxes and wanes with the seasons but is, most Hindus will indignantly tell you, not a phallic symbol: 500,000
Indian troops stationed in Kashmir: 700,000
Since all Americans are by now counterinsurgency experts, we note immediately that the locals to troops ratio is an eye-popping 14:1.
That’s the sign of a major security problem. In fact, that’s the sign of a major insurgency.
If we had gone into the Iraq occupation with those kinds of numbers (instead of Donald Rumsfeld’s ratio of roughly 300,000 troops per 24 million Iraqis for a ludicrous 80:1 or the industry standard of 50:1), we would probably have been able to keep a lid on things, too.
Make no mistake: the Indian occupation of Kashmir is as bloody, expensive, oppressive, and unpopular as the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories or, for that matter, the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
68,000 Kashmiris have died in the conflict, which reached its height in 2001 and then waned, apparently because Pakistan lessened its support of Kashmiri militants under U.S. pressure after 9/11. (By way of contrast, the Israel-Palestinian struggle has claimed less than 10,000 lives over twenty years).
The conflict has produced a great deal of ugliness and cruelty as India has pursued in heavy-handed occupation and counterinsurgency strategy in Kashmir at odds with its image as Asia’s democratic paragon.
Tim Sullivan of the AP filed a report on atrocities in Kashmir that should have received wider notice.
According to Sullivan, human rights groups have discovered 2400 bodies in multiple graveyards of the estimated 8,000 Kashmiris who were “disappeared” by Indian security forces during the worst of the insurgency in the 1990s:
Two decades after the insurgency broke out, only a tiny fraction have been accounted for.
The bodies themselves give a few clues. According to villagers ordered by police to bury them, they are often of particular sorts: there is blood and shattered bone where they were shot, or they are burned beyond recognition. Many show signs of beatings. At one cemetery, police told villagers they would bring seven bodies for burials. They brought seven heads
If support for the insurgency has withered, the Indian soldiers are still widely detested. Perhaps nowhere more than in the villages forced to bury the dead.
Atta Mohammed knows all about the nameless dead. The 70-year-old Bimyar farmer has buried 235 of them. He knows their bruises and their bullet wounds. He knows if they were burned so badly their mothers would not recognize them.
“I took mud from their mouths and ears. I cleaned the blood from them,” said Atta, a quiet man with rotting teeth and a neatly trimmed white beard. About 12 years ago, police began bringing bodies to be buried in a small empty field. They stopped only when there was no more room.
The West gives overwhelming weight to India’s democratic system, its role as a victim of Islamicist terror, its support for U.S. strategic goals in South Asia, and its value is an anti-China chesspiece in the great game of Asian policy.
And it may be justified to take the Chinese occupation of Tibet—instead of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank—as the standard of comparison for Indian misbehavior in Kashmir.
Indeed, I would expect there is a dark deal at work: the governments of the West have decided to turn the same official blind eye to India’s occupation of Kashmir as they do to China’s presence in Tibet so that both powers can contentedly brutalize their subjugated minorities without interference while fulfilling their assigned roles in the multi-polar, U.S.-directed 21st century world.
I can imagine that, in the continual cycle of wounded pride, horse-trading, and reassurance that goes on between New Delhi and Washington in the shadow of China’s strategic, economic, and fiscal importance, India insisted that, if human rights in Tibet was off the diplomatic table, human rights in Kashmir should be removed as well.
In fact, the first conspicuous retreat from the ideals of Obama’s election campaign to the realities of his presidency was the removal of Kashmir from the brief of Richard Holbrooke, who was expected to broker the rapprochement and grand anti-terrorism alliance between the civilian governments of Pakistan’s Asif Zardari and India’s Monmohan Singh.
Instead, India’s democracy was granted (im)moral parity with China’s single party dictatorship in the matter of how it could treat its occupied territories.
Meanwhile the Western media keeps the anti-Communist pot boiling by bashing China and coddling India.
But there is a bloody side to India that we are unwilling to confront.
Since Jammu is predominantly Hindu and Ladakh if approximately an equal mix of Shia and Buddhists, self determination would be unlikely to result in those parts of Jammu and Kashmir wanting to becoming part of a Pakistan. Futhermore, since Pakistan is occupying part of Kashmir, do you think it likely that Pakistan would give up that territory if Muslim Kashmiris voted for independence from both Pakistan and India. Oh, and let’s not forget that Pakistan has settled its own nationals in Kashmiri territory, a war crime or West Pakistan’s behaviour in former East Pakistan. That some in the Pakistan military still blame India for the “loss” of that colony beggars belief. So, I say a pox on all of them but Indian rule might still be better than Pakistani rule although probably worse than independence for Kashmir less Jammu and Ladakh.
ok…china matters…please look into your own problems…leave kashmir aside…you have no idea what you are talking about…we indians know and feel what price we have paid for them to be with us and keep them safe. The day india liberate kashmir…they will fight themselves and will further divide themselves, creating further problem for us.
Nobody have a right to talk about kashmir until n unless they themselves are not Indian or Kashmiris.
It’s a china propaganda to start creating issues where there are none…so that we get busy in that and forget the main thing….rise n shine. We as India are rising n shining and now whole world is scared of us. They want to keep us pulled down by creating conflicts among us. We will rise n shine and whole world will witness this sooner than you can think.
Hardly a comparison to the systematic and efficient slaughter of ethnic Muslim minorities and of course the Tibetans. Which continues today – and the reason the world notices it is because the victims are truly innocent and unable to fight back.
If really given a choice probably 90% of Taiwan would want no ownership link with the PRC.
I am sure even HK would secede if they could without violence and torture. So are you going to let them?
The Kashmir mess is much more convoluted and complex and there are many sides and views on this. Hardly as clear as Tibetan being slaughtered or forced to obey.
Force is often used by people who have no ability to get cooperation any other way. But I think there are shades of grey sometimes.
I must congratulate you on writing about something that all western journalists/pundits simply pretend does not exist. I will go a bit further and say that the Pakistanis will only see US as their friend if it brokers an honest peace in Kashmir Valley.
And for once in our lifetimes, US needs pakistani friendship more than they need US.
P.S. It is amusing to see INDIANS defend their 61 year old bloody occupation as simply a territorial dispute. Peter you will now experience unprecedented Indian wrath. Good luck.
**China’s occupation of Tibet since 1950 has been a brutal, bloody botch that killed upwards of half a million Tibetans during the rebellion in the 1950s and during the Cultural Revolution.**
i think tibet researchers like grunfeld etc and ex dir of Free Tibet Campaign, no less, had challenged this “genocide” assertion, so lets leave it at that…..an unsubstantiated allegation eh ?
anyway the chinese just dont get it, the day they sign up for the uncle sam fan club like bharat
aka the “teflon club”, nuthin will sticks anymore
hell, we all know that hmdl and kader, the head honcho of the “freedom fighters” from tibet and xinjiang, can get an audience with prez and the gents at the hill any time they wish, standing ovation and all.
but when was the last time a “terrarist” chieftan from kashmir or assam, nagaland, manipur, the naxals etc was bestowed such honour….not that i know of anyway 😉
sigh, the chicoms just dont get it, thats their trouble.
**I am not sure this is the same thing. China ran its own people at Tianeneman – Are you really suggesting that this is similar?**
no it isnt,
firstly as far as i am concerned, the jurists are still out on what happend in tam 1989,
the only thing we can be sure is that its a failed cia caper.
otoh, the bloodpath in kashmir is well documented.
while tam [just like tibet and now xinjiang] has been done to death by the anglos press, the 1984 massacre of the sikhs, the 2001 pogrom on the muslims and the 2008 atrocities against the christians in orissa are non events.
while the us [the usual suspects] imposed a international sanction against china after tam, which probably slowed china’s development for at least a decade [as desired ?], the yanks invited the chief minister of nadingram “to hear about the political and development aspects of his success”……just one month after his troops mowed down about a 100 protestors with assault rifles !
[i’d cut the anglos some slack here, they probably didnt read about this crime either, what with the kind of media they have]
right now the anglos diplomats in china, led by us , uk, are falling over themselves to take up the cudgel for a “dissident” who is being tried for “inciting instability”.
ah, the chinese are so blessed, they seem to have these anglo guardian angles hovering over them 24×7
but i cant help but wonder, where were these anglo hr enforcers in 1998 , during the pogrom on indon chinese in jakarta, u know, all it take was a call to “our kind of guy suharto” and those poor sods would be spared, no need to launch a 78 days bombings like when they did in “saving the muslims” [sic] in kosovo.
you know something, somehow i have this feeling that these anglos are such racists, they yap about every “dissident” trial in china while some pogrom are going on in next door india every other day.
do they think that indian lives are cheaper ? ;-}
I guess if one has already come to a conclusion there is not much point in further discussion on this.
To dismiss Tiananmen as a CIA plot I think is pretty far fetched but since you have a source that has convinced you so why argue any more. I have talked to people who were there as students and who saw friends gunned down.
Also your source for the Kashmiri situation is a guy who is on one side of the fence and yes he makes his point from that vantage point. Why don’t you look at the other possible views on this situation?
How many people do you know that have made critical comments about the Chinese government and were able to live without harassment or violence in China?
It is easy and generally not dangerous to write scathing criticisms of the Indian government, in the press and the web, and many do everyday in India.
So while your original point is provocative, it is kind of weak and does not stand up well against what most people know as true and factual about these subjects and issues.
There is clearly great progress in China but it is also clear to most that one does not criticize anything official in China with impunity. There are few if any opposing opinions to any official stand.
The fact that the Chinese government basically holds the Dalai Lama as a symbol of terrorism says more about them than it does about the Dalai Lama.
But for many of us, getting a balanced and accurate picture is not important. We are looking for info that supports our bias and perhaps this is even true for me.
Good luck with your Bloody India campaign – I hope that it does rise to surface if there is any truth in it.
“New Delhi’s ongoing shenanigans in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nepal, Jammu-Kashmir, Balochistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan” A bit of apples and oranges here– provinces and countries. BTW nothing of significance is happening in Arunachal, except for some Chinese incursions.
Had New Delhi been even half as bloody-minded as the Chinese, it would have carried out large-scale ethnic cleansing in Kashmir and ergo, no problem (the tactic China is attempting in Tibet, having shorn off chunks of Tibet to start with).
manoj joshi : 6:59 AM
**”New Delhi’s ongoing shenanigans in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nepal, Jammu-Kashmir, Balochistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan” A bit of apples and oranges here– provinces and countries. BTW nothing of significance is happening in Arunachal, except for some Chinese incursions. **
yeah sure, like the 1962 “chinese invasion”
**Had New Delhi been even half as bloody-minded as the Chinese, it would have carried out large-scale ethnic cleansing in Kashmir**
ask the kashmiri women folks
*** and ergo, no problem (the tactic China is attempting in Tibet, having shorn off chunks of Tibet to start with)***
hell , history 101 for joshi
china during the yuan or is it the ching dynasty, took the whole god damned tibet, during an era when such was the norm mind u. unlike some democrazies which are still doing it in the 21 century [sic]
the anglos shorn off large chunks of southern tibet in 1903,
i understand u call it arunachal pradesh today ?
[aka the tibet that no anglos wanna talk about ]
can we say….state terrorism ?
otoh, in tibet and xinjiang, its cia sponsored terrorism against innocent bystanders, including hans, huis and tibetans.
gotta to go now, might elaborate on this later.