Alarm bells in Kashmir
Views from Srinagar
The resurgence of militancy in Kashmir is something that has come out in open and is slowly taking the security situation back to square one. And in case this continues, it could lead to a situation where the involvement of public cannot be ruled out. If there is a gun battle in a crowded area which results in a collateral damage, it could trigger a fresh round of public unrest as seen in 2010.
Earlier also when the militants attacked CRPF and took refuge in Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) in the same area, people were rushing to encounter site unlike the 1990s when they would run for a shelter just after the first bullet was fired. Women singing in praise of militants and larger funerals are indicative of how the people have started resuming their support to violence.
However, the recent participation of people in Anantnag by-polls that witnessed a thumping victory for Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is also one reality of today’s Kashmir.
Though the turnout was low, people reposing faith in a Chief Minister whose Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was continuously despised for joining hands with the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (at least on social media) thus opening the doors for RSS, is very significant. She not only managed to double the margin of her father’s victory in December 2014 when PDP was riding on a wave and apparently asking people to vote for them to keep BJP out.
Mehbooba’s victory not only comes as a poser to understand many layers of reality in Kashmir but also gives her strength to run a coalition with BJP.
But the recurring attacks by militants pose a serious challenge to her as the head of the government. Nothing can be achieved in Jammu and Kashmir on the governance front unless the security environment remains relatively normal.
Kashmir being on boil not only diverts the attention of any government but it also discounts any good thing done to improve the governance. That is why the political engagement to address the real issue is a must and cannot be left to only dealing with militants and counting how many were dead and how many left out to be chased. In the past three years the dynamics of militancy has drastically changed in Kashmir.
Involvement of local boys has made it difficult for the government to denounce it merely as a terrorist activity. In absence of any effort to reach out to the political discontentment in Kashmir, the militancy has revived and assumed the centre stage with people openly allying [Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org] journalist/author based in Srinagar].