Militants, Their Mentors In Pakistan Focused On Keeping The Conflict Going , Common Kashmiris Suffering 

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Kashmiris are largely confused over the recent happenings in the Valley. Viewed from a common perspective, one finds confusion. It is sad and tragic to see people dying – be it non-locals, locals or security forces. There is bloodshed. Militants have their mission to kill. People don’t know why anyone should be killed in the name of the majority community. In October, there have been 46 fatalities in the Kashmir. These include 17 security force personnel (11 in combat, 6 in non-combat), 17 militants (all local boys) and 12 civilians (six are locals from J&K, four are from Bihar, one from Uttar Pradesh) have been killed. Out of 12 civilian killings, 10 were killed by militants and two were shot dead by the paramilitary forces.
Men standing in a long queue waiting to get frisked by security forces. Photo credit’- kaiser Andrabi

Militants, their ideologies, and their mentors across the border seem to have no confusion. They are focused on keeping the conflict going. It is the common Kashmiri who is at the receiving end and hence is confused. Uncertainty and fear have started to permeate the Kashmir valley. Ordinary, day-to-day life seems to be degraded. Pakistan is benefiting from the conflict. The mainstream politicians are also benefiting. And then we have black sheep like the BSF jawan Mohammad Sajjad of Rajouri, who was arrested for sending secret information to Pakistan through Whatsapp.

Confused Silent Majority Needs To Wake Up

Kashmir is trapped in an armed conflict. We are also trapped in a psychological conflict. This is as dangerous as the first one. We are the “Confused Silent Majority”. We don’t raise our voices when we should. For years together in the past, Kashmiris went for shutdowns following the killing of militants. This was done on the order of the separatists, be it six months-long agitation in 2016, or the earlier agitations in 2008 or 2010.

Bikers waiting for their keys confiscated by police. Photo credit:- Zainab

These shutdowns may not have been voluntary, but we were part of them anyway. We let our families starve, the education of our children suffered, but we never raised our voices. Those who spoke ran the risk of being targeted by militants. The shutdowns forced Kashmiri daily wagers to sell their utensils to feed their families. During the 2010 unrest, DNA carried a news report titled Unknown Victims of Kashmir Unrest: A Boatman, a Hawker. The news report revealed how shutdowns were forcing daily wagers to sell their utensils to feed their families. The 2016 unrest made J&K suffer phenomenal losses, pegged by an agency at over Rs 16,000 crore.

We were confused and silent then, we are confused and silent now when innocents are being killed. We are failing to put up a definite response as a society. There are no hues and cries over these brutal murders, no wailings. No one is taking a stand against it. Why can’t we call spade a spade and speak about what is wrong? Where are we heading towards as a society? Are we evolving as a society? We don’t know.

Saving Kashmir and Kashmiriyat 

We forget that our speaking up is not just to secure the safety of others. It shall secure our own safety. Today if we take a stand against the killing of minorities and non-locals, tomorrow we will be saved. If terrorism does not face any social opposition, it shall continue and strengthen.

It is foolish to assume that the terrorists will stop at killing only the non-locals. If no minority and no non-local stay here, the terror actors will start targeting the majority community. The conflict industry is their source of income – they cannot shut it down for anyone. This is the reason why we need to call a spade and spade, and challenge that which is wrong. If today we not raise our voices, support the security forces, it will weaken the enemy. Our positive action will save Kashmir, Kashmiris and Kashmiriyat. Martin Niemoller’s quote fits best with the current scenario of Kashmir. “First they came for the communists and I didn’t speak out because I was not a communist, then they came for the socialists and I didn’t speak out because I was not a socialist, then they came for trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

The Viral Video And What It Conveys

The Boys Know They Are In Safe Hands. They Are Conveniently Eating Apples During The Security Check

Would The Boys Feel Equally Secure If Militants Had Stopped Them?

Recently a video went viral on the internet in which security forces were checking two boys near Clock Tower in Lal Chowk. Both boys can be seen eating apples, not much bothered about the checking. This casual attitude of the boys revealed two truths. One, they know that they are innocent. Two, they know that they are in safe hands. The boys are completely unstressed, knowing that they are being checked only for security purposes. Imagine what would have been the condition of the boys if the militants had stopped them. Would they still be eating the apples casually? The checking is to ensure that Kashmiris don’t have to endure the wrath of the terrorists.

Some people have been complaining against the checks by the security forces. They complain that women in the security forces check the bags of women. What is wrong with being stopped for a few minutes for checking? This checking can save many lives. It can save Kashmir and Kashmiriyat.

Security Agencies Must Follow SOP For Seizing Vehicles

Everything was normal before the civilian killings. There was no checking of locals at any point. But when the killings started, checking was consequential. Security forces face huge responsibility. They have to keep a constant check to prevent militant attacks. And all this has to be achieved without making the life of locals oppressive.

Stopping and checking people at every checkpoint is understandable. Security agencies must strictly follow Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) regarding how to trace, track and target those involved in killings. If vehicles have to be seized, these too should have some standard protocol. Vehicle seizure cannot be random. Seizing vehicles of people without giving them any proper reason and misleading them for days is not acceptable. Hundreds of two-wheelers were seized by J&K police in the last few days. The owners were told that their vehicles would be released after the Home Minister’s visit on 25th October.

On the other hand, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir zone) Vijay Kumar said that seizure of bikes and shutting down of internet in parts of Kashmir “are not related to the upcoming visit of Union Home Minister”. According to locals, this is harassment in the name of security. They are facing difficulties without being involved in any crime

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