Be wary of these vultures & vipers

The culture of touts and conmen cheating common people by showing their
photographs with government officials has now become a monster to the extent that the
Srinagar police has had to issue an advisory.

THE cultural touts, conmen and cheats in Srinagar are so popular that the Srinagar
district police has had to come out with an advisory asking the common people to be vary
and careful of this ‘special human species’ that bites fellow humans like vultures and vipers. The Srinagar police tweeted on April 20, “Activities of some touts have come to notice wherein they cheat common people by showing their photographs with officials. It is advised that citizens be wary of them as civil servants are public figures & any photo with them in offices or in other functions is a normal thing”. Almost a year ago, Kashmir Central wrote extensively on this culture of touts being wittingly or unwittingly promoted by senior government servants. True that officers being public servants cannot stop people from visiting their offices but identification of touts doesn’t need rocket science to understand. Earlier it was promoted by politicians and elected representatives as the circumstances were such that a politician in Kashmir would remain surrounded by rogues and socially discredited elements since the noble and gentle people would stay away from politicians and political activities for fear of reprisal and reprimand by terrorists and their overground workers and supporters. The rogues, patronised by the political class, would exploit and blackmail the common masses, indulge in extortion, sextortion and every kind of immoral practice. But powerful as they were, enjoying the confidence of the political leaders and through them, getting acquainted with government officers and government offices, the politically patronised touts would unleash a rein of high handedness.
The abrogation of Article 370 and annulment of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in
2019 led to suspension of politics and political activities for more than a year. As there was no popular government in place and the government officers were in pressure to build a
connect with people, a new breed of blackmailers, exploiters, fraudsters, extortionists and sextortionists became active. And as is famously said in Kashmiri, ‘Petre bochhi, hoon kochhi’, the officers took it as short in the arm that people, especially youngsters, approach them on their own to endorse every action of the government. However, the officers, mostly the ones who managed to serve in Jammu and Kashmir on deputation, had no idea about the dubious credentials of those visiting them and seeking favours on the pretext of being ‘nationalists’. The culture has now become a monster to the extent that the Srinagar police has had to issue an advisory.
In the mid 1990s, after the onslaught of renegades, many active militants or militant
sympathisers either opted on their own to be journalists for the rest of their lives and promote the same “cause” through a respectable medium, or were asked to intrude, to control the mind space of the Kashmir media. The ex-militants were mostly under educated and illiterate but a conducive environment was created where they could work as journalists, though with a purpose. History was repeated after the events of 2019, though in a different way. The insane people did instantly find a purpose to live. As there was a complete vacuum, they jumped in to seize the opportunity. Now, this has assumed alarming dimensions.


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