Editorial: Killings, once again
Srinagar: It was the second time in less than a week that south Kashmir is on the boil again. This time around too the situation is the same, an encounter starts and protesting youth come to defy the troops engaged in the gunfight.
Reports have suggested that three young men have once again fallen to bullets. This killing comes just after two days when the state’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appealed to the country’s leadership to listen to the voices of pain from the State.
Mehbooba stressed on finding ways and means to end the cycle of violence in the State by addressing the element of alienation among youth as she believed that the people of the state have suffered immensely during the turmoil of past three decades.
The phenomenal and a paradigm shift in the thinking of people in the southern part of the valley has brought the situation back to square one. From a few dozen militants, mostly foreigners, in 2013, the numbers (mostly local boys), bred and brought up during the three decade long turmoil, have swelled. No wonder then that the involvement of the civilian population, who come out to defy these encounters where local boys are cornered in an operation, is increasing.
South Kashmir is triggering another spell of unrest and post 2016. The situation is once again turning volcanic. Gunfights and the support the trapped militants get from the unarmed civilians from outside have raised more questions about how to deal with the situation. If this is the way that militants are to be taken off the scene, then it has set a dangerous trend of forces versus the local population.
The rising inclination among the population to come out in defiance and clash with forces during encounters shows how intricately militants and the civilian population are linked. It also shows how the civilian population prefers to side with militants rather than the idea of nationalism promoted by our mainstream politicians.
What is however, missing from this entire dissertation is the involvement of the government, both at the state level as well as the federal level to engage with the voices of dissent and try to get some sanity restored at the ground level.
The strategy to deal with the upsurge of discontent in Kashmir has been purely law-and-order centric. Whether there is a need to rethink the strategy to deal with the situation is a question for the policy makers. But since the political class has been harping on the rules of engagement and treating the young men as misguided youth (whom they claim to be our own), then the strategy is not befitting the requirement.
A question, how long will the security forces go on killing the unarmed civilians and what are the achievements of such a strategy and is it helping to douse the flames of dissent and hatred or letting them to get more shriller, needs an answer.
The argument is simple and the ruling class needs to ponder over this. The sooner they find an answer, the better it will be for us.