Srinagar, September 20 : The Indian state is scared of Shias’ growing support for the resistance, and has responded so brutally to the young Shia expressing pro-freedom slogans during Muharram processions in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Al Jazeera reported.
While discussing reasons why Shias are now becoming more and more visible within the Kashmiri self-determination and freedom struggle, the TV said, “social media exposed Shia youths in Kashmir to a wide variety of views and narratives on the situation in their homeland and increasing [Indian] state repression accelerated their politicisation.”
“Last year, for example, India removed Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and fully annexed the disputed region. It split the region into two union territories, and brought both sections directly under New Delhi’s control. The move outraged the majority of Kashmiris, including the Shia,” it added.
Al Jazeera further said that even in the Ladakh region, where the Shia community – like the Sunni community – remained distant to the pro-freedom movement for years, the removal of the region’s semi-autonomous status led to rapid politicisation. “People living in the Shia-majority Kargil district of Ladakh, for example, openly voiced their rejection of the abrogation of the special status and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir,” the TV said.
Al Jazeera pointed out that on August 29, the 10th day of the holy month of Muharram, known as Ashoura, Indian forces fired pellets and tear gas shells to disperse hundreds of Shia Muslims participating in a traditional religious procession in IIOJK, seriously injuring dozens of people.
“The Indian state’s decision to clamp down on this year’s Muharram procession with such force was a sign of its growing concerns over the support Kashmiri Shia started to show for the freedom and self-determination movement in the valley,” the TV reported.
Al Jazeera said that Indian authorities had long been pushing the narrative that IIOJK’s Sunni-led pro-freedom movement is shunned by Shia and other minority communities in the region. “In recent years, however, young Shia men and women became increasingly vocal about their demand for political rights, and many of them started to openly back the resistance against Indian rule in their homeland.”
“There is no doubt that the Kashmir struggle is dominated by the Muslim population, a majority of whom are Sunni. But Shias have always played some kind of role in Kashmir’s struggles. In the 1930s, Shia leaders stood next to Sunni leaders in the anti-monarchical struggle against the Dogra rulers,” the TV added.