Following the unfortunate incident at Hyderpora, both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference gave a shutdown call for November 19 against the civilian killings. Shops and businesses remained shut, and transport on roads was thin. This was a first since the abrogation of Article 370 and the state’s downgrading to two Union Territories in August 2019. After the abrogation of Article 370, Hurriyat had become irrelevant in Kashmir and had turned into a dead horse.
Security agencies in the UT have been working in close coordination to ensure that no civilian killings took place during the operations. This strategy worked well. Separatist voices had no issue in hand to disrupt daily life in Kashmir. It was felt that we had reached a stage where the separatist forces would be isolated now.
Unfortunately, the Hyderpora incident has provided a breather for separatist voices in Kashmir. Some segments of the society came out on the streets to protest, though peacefully. Those who protested were the same people who had raised the bar for violent protests in the past. This time, the protests were of a different nature. They were isolated and non-violent. There were no road blockades. Nevertheless, protests are protests. There is a proverb in Kashmiri. Raechhes doha, chooruss cthuha. The protectors have to be vigilant at all times, because the thieves are forever on the hunt for any slip.
The Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir has done a commendable job on many fronts, particularly in making the apparatus of the UT Administration accountable. The incumbent LG is clear-headed and forthright. Admittedly, the Hyderpora incident has done damage. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that the LG administration has taken major strides and has achieved much, both physically and the positivity in mind space.
The turn of events has posed a challenge before the LG administration. On the occasion of Gurupurab, the LG, who has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the Hyderpora incident, reiterated the commitment of protecting the lives of innocent people. He emphasized that the culprits will be dealt with firmly, ensuring there is no injustice. The LG said that suitable action will be taken as soon as the report is submitted in a time-bound manner.
The LG’s words need to be translated into action. This is important not to appease people like Mehbooba Mufti, but give the general peace-loving people reason to have faith in him and his administration, and feel that they are in safe hands. At the end of the day, what matters for the people of Kashmir is safety of their loved ones. The Government needs to double down on the clean-up operations, both kinetic and non-kinetic. This is vital to ensure the safety of civilians and at the same time ensure that the adversaries have no handles to foment trouble.