What Is The Road Ahead ?

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What Is The Road Ahead ?

The Spectacle That Unfolds Daily Makes Makes Me Wonder Whether The Stakeholders In The Conflict Are Serious About Resolving The Issue. Those Who Can Resolve The Matter Are Prolonging It And Giving Pakistan Full Space To Fish In Troubled Waters

Bashir Assad

In the wake of the latest killing of a Kashmiri Hindu in a Shopian village, we witnessed the blame game by politicians. We have heard their usual noise earlier too –the hullabaloo is deliberately put forth by the contending political forces to further their political agenda.

In such a scenario, it is the political class – both ruling and the opposition – who are trying to score brownie points against each other. Both are doing politics over the dead bodies. This makes me wonder more and more whether the stakeholders in the conflict are serious about resolving the issues. It is dejecting to see that the stakeholders who can resolve the matter are prolonging it and giving Pakistan full space to fish in troubled waters.

The unfortunate part is that the killings of civilians in Kashmir, particularly the targeted killings of minority community continue unabated. There are pauses, but the design of the terrorists is consistent. The sole motive behind such killings is to force the members of the minority community to leave Kashmir.

We have reported in an earlier edition of Kashmir Central that post abrogation of Article 370, one the most focused strategies of the terrorists is to target the members of minority community to ensure that they leave Kashmir. This is not something which the security and intelligence agencies of the country are not aware of.

Days after the abrogation of Article 370 and the split of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, terror groups in Kashmir and their progenies in the Kashmiri diaspora called for targeting the members of minority community and non-locals. A campaign was run on social media not to engage non- local labourers and hound them out. The campaign continues.

The pretext of the campaign is that the Indian state is steadily executing its plan of changing the demography of the only Muslim majority region of the country. The local politicians too endorsed the campaign by sowing seeds of suspicion in the minds of the people.

What made matters worse was that the UT Administration and also the central government went on issuing some controversial orders in row. This created more doubts and confusion in the minds of the people.

That said, the majority community in Kashmir is somehow ready to reconcile with the ground realities and move on. But the contending political forces within the union of India and the hostile neighbour Pakistan do not does not allow the people of Kashmir to leave the past behind.

 The statistics clearly indicate that the killing of unarmed civilians has risen since 2019. That reveals that the militants are working on a well thought out strategy to create fear among the members of minority community in Kashmir and force them to flee. As part of this strategy, the militants choose their target at will, indulge in the heinous act and escape from the scene.

Nobody can deny that this chilling strategy has registered the desired impact. Fear has gripped people. Especially those from the minority community do not feel safe.

It is here that politics comes into play. The anti-BJP forces hold the BJP government at the Centre squarely responsible for its failure in providing security to the members of minority community in Kashmir. Whatsoever the context of such blame game, BJP is to be held accountable – particularly in the context of its claims of “normal Kashmir”, post the abrogation of Article 370.

The ground reality is that it is not just the Kashmiri Pandits who are living in fear. The spectacle of violence has vitiated the environs of the valley. Members of the minority community feel insecure because they become soft targets. The majority community has its own fears sowed into their minds by the popular political narratives.

I have consistently maintained that the conflict in Kashmir is of very low intensity. I have also been steadfast in my opinion that despite provocation and incidents of violence, Kashmir is normal. It should be seen as so.

This is validated by an examination of the ground situation. Study Kashmir, and you shall find that people behave the way you will find members of any normal, peaceful society behaving. Life is going on, and people stay engaged in their normal economic and social activities on daily basis.

That said, the problem persists. The fact of the matter is that Pakistan and its strategic assets in Kashmir will not allow Kashmir to be normal. The mishandling of any particular political or security situation by the government further aggravates the situation. In other words, the state and non- state actors together don’t allow peace to prevail.

The intention of the non-state actors is clear. Unfortunately, the state unintentionally creates such situations which are the antithesis of what it claims. The recent killing of a Kashmiri Pandit in a Shopian village has been condemned by one and all. It has again triggered the familiar blame game by politicians.

The whole opposition is blaming the BJP for its “failure” to provide security to the minority community in Kashmir. The local political class in Kashmir is up in arms against the administration for its failure to create a peaceful environment in Kashmir where people of all faiths can live peacefully.  There is no let-up in such incidents. The militants will continue to assert their presence by killing soft targets. Amid the spurt in targeted attacks on the members of minority community, hundreds of Pandit families have fled the valley in recent weeks.

The government is trying hand convince the members of minority community not to leave Kashmir. The government is also making adequate security measures to avoid such dastardly acts. But fear continues to haunt the civilian population.

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