Empowering the Kashmiris

Iftikhar Gilani is the Bureau Chief (Delhi), Kashmir Times
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  • March 2011
    Focus on Jammu and Kashmir

    Insurgencies as well as popular unrests are generally rooted in political, social and economic deprivations, which in turn lead to the alienation and estrangement of a community. A popular sentiment seeking the empowerment of Muslim Kashmiris has been in existence for the past five centuries. History is replete with instances of the political deprivation and poverty of Kashmiri people during periods of their subjugation by the Mughals, the Pathans, the Sikhs and later the Dogras. Kashmiri alienation took firm roots during the Dogra rule (1846–1947). In some areas like Poonch, Mirpur, Gilgit and Muzaffarabad, the Muslims of the state had risen in armed rebellion against the Dogra king. The first mass protest erupted in Srinagar on April 29, 1865, when shawl weavers marched against heavy taxation, leading to the killing of 28 people. It is also touted as the first trade union movement in South Asia.