Kash­mir: A few en­coun­ters in last two months have punc­tured nor­malcy bal­loon

Views from Srinagar

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR - [Javaid Ma­lik is Se­nior Edi­tor Greater Kash­mir. ma­lik­javaid123@gmail.com]

TJAVAID MA­LIK HE volatile se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Kash­mir has be come a cause of con­cern for one and all. The spurt in mil­i­tant at­tacks and fre­quent en­coun­ters are giv­ing sleep­less nights to se­cu­rity agen­cies and the gov­ern­ment.

Many peo­ple fear that nineties like sit­u­a­tion may re-emerge and all the ef­forts which were put dur­ing the past 25-years to re­store nor­malcy in the strife torn Jammu and Kash­mir seem to be go­ing down the drain.

At­tack on the bus of a para­mil­i­tary CRPF near Pam­pore on Sri­na­garJammu high­way in which eight CRPF men were killed has cre­ated rip­ples across the Val­ley. The en­tire se­cu­rity grid is busy in plug­ging the loop­holes which led to the Pam­pore at­tack. Mil­i­tants open­ing fire on a CRPF bus with au­to­matic weapons is a grim re­minder of nineties like sit­u­a­tion, when such at­tacks used to be the or­der of the day.

Spec­u­la­tions are rife that para­mil­i­tary BSF may re­place the CRPF. The CRPF is a po­lice force which has been trained to tackle law and or­der prob­lems. It lacks train­ing to han­dle counter in­sur­gency op­er­a­tions in­de­pen­dently , while as BSF could prove more ef­fec­tive in han­dling the mil­i­tants. When armed re­bel­lion broke out in the Kash­mir in 1990, the first step the Cen­tre took was that it re­placed the CRPF with BSF. Is it that sit­u­a­tion is back to square one and as a first step Delhi would re­place CRPF with BSF? Other ques­tions which are loom­ing large over the minds of peo­ple are would bunkers come up in Kash­mir again? Would crack­downs re­turn?

Ru­mors about New Delhi plan­ning a ma­jor counter-in­sur­gency op­er­a­tion in Kash­mir, has pushed peo­ple to the edge. A few at­tacks and en­coun­ters in the months of May and June seem to have punc­tured the nor­malcy bal­loon. The Deputy Chief Min­is­ter Dr Nir­mal Singh has termed the at­tack on CRPF bus at Pam­pore as a part of the proxy war and not a law and or­der prob­lem.

As the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Kash­mir is de­te­ri­o­rat­ing, war­mon­gers have upped the ante and they have al­ready started cre­at­ing war hys­te­ria. The BJP leg­is­la­tors are de­mand­ing that In­dian should launch a counter of­fen­sive and car­ry­out sur­gi­cal strikes against Pak­istan ad­min­is­tered Kash­mir (PaK). At­tack­ing Pak­istan and PaK have be­come hot de­bates on the TV chan­nels and no stone is be­ing left un­turned to push In­dia and Pak­istan to­wards yet another war, may be a de­ci­sive one.

As far as Kash­mir is con­cerned, In­dia is not ready to budge from its stand and has openly de­clared that it’s a set­tled is­sue and there is no pos­si­bil­ity about Delhi en­gag­ing with Islamabad or sep­a­ratists to hold talks over Kash­mir. On the other hand Pak­istan seems to be firm on its stand that par­leys mi­nus Kash­mir won’t serve any pur­pose. Both the coun­tries claim that dia­logue would be held but the lead­ers of both the na­tions are shy­ing away from shar­ing a com­mon ta­ble as they have got noth­ing to of­fer to each other.

The emerg­ing sit­u­a­tion in no way is a “good sig­nal” for Kash­miris. Both the coun­tries fight­ing a full-fledged war may not be pos­si­ble as both the coun­tries posses nu­clear weapons which can cause mass de­struc­tion and war can spill over to other parts. There is ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity of Delhi us­ing its full force to end the proxy war in Kash­mir. His­tory stands tes­ti­mony to the fact that past 25-years of tur­moil have turned Kash­mir into a bat­tle­ground for In­dia and Pak­istan. In ab­sence of talks process it seems guns are go­ing to call the shots.

Just a few months ago top Po­lice and Army of­fi­cials had claimed that mil­i­tancy in Kash­mir is at its low­est ebb and num­ber of mil­i­tants present in the Val­ley is not more than 250. It re­ally sounds strange that state needs re­in­force­ments and more forces to tackle 250 mil­i­tants.

Com­ing days are go­ing to be tough for Kash­miris, and they should re­main pre­pared to face any sort of sit­u­a­tion. Con­flict in Jammu and Kash­mir is far from over and the mil­i­tancy of 2016 is emerg­ing as a big­ger chal­lenge than nineties. Sep­a­ratists, who since 2010 have been warn­ing of a “big­ger re­bel­lion” break­ing out seem to be prov­ing right. On the other hand Delhi looks de­ter­mined to face any chal­lenge and pos­si­bil­i­ties about it (Delhi) an­nounc­ing a truce and find­ing a mid­dle way out look bleak and blurred. Delhi has al­ready asked the cen­tral forces to be pre­pared. Re­cent state­ment of the De­fence Min­is­ter Manoj Parikkar and Union Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh that forces are free to op­er­ate as per their will are an open ad­mis­sion of the fact that voices of dis­sent in any form have to be sup­pressed and taken care off. —Cour­tesy: GK

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