Summer Stew

July 5, 2017 0 Comments EDITORIAL 84 Views
Summer Stew

The summer 2017 in Kashmir is seen as “hot” and volatile in security terms. This ‘hot’ is about the likely upsurge in militant violence with more local youth taking up the gun followed by some uptick in the infiltration. Several militants, which the Army said, were infiltrating into Kashmir have been killed. But Kashmir’s summers have also become known for the tumult of another sort. It is the massive public groundswell that Valley witnessed over the past year following the killing of the popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. After the mass protests broke out in Kashmir, following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani in a controversial encounter with forces, Kashmir had been under a strict curfew. And with every day, rather than offer some relaxation to the more than 7 million people were under an unprecedented lockdown, the government further toughening the security measures. It was worse in South Kashmir which has witnessed the largest and the most demonstrative public display of the anger and grief over Burhan’s death. The unrest stretched right through the season, with excessive use of the force claiming around 100 lives and blinding several hundred. The six month long unrest was all-encompassing, for once echoing the ferment of the early nineties. The level of anger and defiance on display in the streets was unprecedented. The hordes of youth heaved through Kashmir’s streets with stones in hand to protest Burhan’s killing. They were angry, rebellious and willing to die. Now will this year be any different? Signs so far give little cause for hope. The last two months have witnessed outpouring of the massive protests across the Valley, with for the first time, the college students including the girl students venting their anger on the streets. Besides, there is ample evidence that the various agencies charged with keeping peace in the state are going to mess it up again. Another major provocation, could yet again trigger a Valley-wide tumult. And like sorcerer’s apprentice, once mobilized this mass anger has proved difficult to control. To achieve a peaceful summer, government will need to ensure zero tolerance for the human rights violations, contrary to what the Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s directions to the force seem to indicate. The trigger-happy security personnel which went on a killing and blinding spree last year will need to be taken to task and in a way that generates confidence among people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will need to pay more than usual attention to the behaviour of the forces in the state. But as the use of a Kashmiri youth Farooq Ahmad Dar as a human shield would tell us, harbouring such a hope seems unrealistic now. Dar’s tormentor Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi was given a commendation medal by no less than the Army chief pending an Army enquiry into his conduct. The centre has also made it known that it won’t go beyond an iron-fisted approach to tackle the deteriorating situation.

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