Alarm bells in Kash­mir

Views from Srinagar

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

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 shu­] jour­nal­ist/author based in Srinagar].

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