Violence Grips Kashmir

Violence Grips Kashmir

One day last month, I spoke with a medical student in Srinagar, the summer capital of the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. "We have seen enough of India," the twenty-something-year-old told me. "We don't want to put up with the oppression anymore. We want freedom." He proudly claimed to be one of Kashmir's so-called stone pelters -- protesters who aim large rocks at the Indian security forces that have been trying to put down a resurgent wave of demonstrations in Kashmir. "We are peaceful protesters," he said. "We only throw stones if they stop us." And if they catch a policeman alone, he said, they beat him up.

"But we don't kill him," his friend piped up. "We have beaten up a few, but not a single policeman has been killed." Just then, a third Kashmiri youth, silent until now, spoke up: "It is only self-defense. It is in response to their provocation. Our stones for their bullets."

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