There has been a steady rise in the number of youths taking up arms in the Kashmir valley since 2014 onwards as compared to 2011, 2012, and 2013. Quoting officials,as per reports at least 45 youths from the valley including an MBA and a Ph.D scholar joined militancy this year till mid-April. In 2017, a total of 126 youths had picked up guns. It was the highest number since 2010, according to a data presented in Jammu & Kasmir Assembly and Indian Parliament.

It is a fact that Kashmiri students studying in Indian universities get a raw deal at every level. In February this year, two Kashmiris studying at a university in Haryana’s Mahendergarh were allegedly beaten up by a group of around 10-15 men. The assault occurred when Aftab and Amjad were returning after Friday prayers. According to CNN-News 18, students of the university said that the attack was completely unprovoked and the two were targeted only for their Kashmiri identity. The victims suffered several bruises on the faces, arms and legs. Similarly, in May 2014, more than 100 college students from Kashmir were relocated from a hostel in Noida after three of them were allegedly assaulted when they refused to shout anti-Pakistan slogans.

The attitude of the Centre viz a viz Kashmir, no matter whichever party has been in power, has never been friendly to Kashmiris. The behaviour of military and paramilitary forces deployed in Kashmir with the local population too has been cruel. No doubt Kashmir is a Muslim majority state but their fight is purely political. By giving it a religious colour the Kashmir conflict has been complicated. It has also vitiated the atmosphere at national level. The ruling BJP has contributed to this conflict in its own way by turning it into a Hindu-Muslim issue. This has benefited the party in raising communal passions nationally and winning elections in Jammu but in the process people of Kashmir valley are drifting away from India. Media is playing its own role in complicating the matter.

Barring some exceptions, We can feel this within the boundaries of our universities. Therefore, we cannot view Ehtisham’s desertion in isolation. There is no point in making sensational statements and giving provocative headlines. It’s high time the government reviews its Kashmir policy and stop at once the injustices being done to Kashmiris.