Views from Srinagar
Slay, Scare and Smear strategy
WE are the victims of 3-S strategy. It’s so rife. We all are well acquainted with it. It’s Slay, Scare and Smear strategy. The inversion of reality around us is so pervasive that 3S has turned unquestionable. In fact, it deconstructs and counters the veracity of things in a way that is very crafty and difficult to figure out.
In 3-S strategy, slaying is a routine response to dissent. Scare is an offshoot of clampdown. And smear is the eventual tool to demoralize and denigrate the opponent. The 3S strategy is reinforced by conspiracy of silence that intensifies the prevailing pandemonium.
Kashmir is a lab of 3-S strategy. The voices are muzzled by slaying them. The population is scared by setting the deterrent. Smear campaign is unleashed to demonize the very social values that hold the people together. From Shopian rape and murder in 2009 to recent Handwara incident, the elements of 3S strategy of counter-insurgency have been almost same. The truth has been constantly turned upside down and inside out. And, paradoxically, it hasn’t worked out well thus far. It has only fomented the fierce ferment. The growing alienation has been deepening. The crevices of trust deficit are widening. Every generation is feeling betrayed and threatened. The dimensions of pain and loss are terribly turning colossal.
In such a scenario, the ‘denial’ of reality is actually leading to the mutiny of subjugated understanding. People in Kashmir, especially youth, are asking some urgent questions. A powerful narrative is emerging. It breaks the shibboleths about socio-political realism that has plagued Kashmir issue over the decades. The same is also ‘facilitated’ because of misinformation by state apparatus as well as non-state actors. The disillusionment is mounting and taking newer forms of expression like cyber-resistance and hard-line politicization.
Something whose simmering manifestation is still unimaginable and unthinkable for the people at the helm of affairs. Ironically! The Irish muckraker Claud Cockburn said, “Never believe anything until it is officially denied”. The ‘official denial’ comes as the verification of covered up reality. It strengthens the notion of pseudo-nationalism that is deemed unruly when it comes to silencing of ‘unpopular’ ideas and ‘inconvenient’ facts.
Kashmir has been the crucible of pseudo-nationalism, where meanings vary and benchmarks revise rapidly. The standing operative procedures from military to media undergo thorough alteration. No set of guidelines is permanent except the rules of counter-insurgency. This is the final truth about Kashmir. As such, there is no point dabbling and debating the doublespeak of Indian politicians, intelligentsia, military or media vis-à-vis Kashmir. As for their approach and mindset, little has changed since last two decades of turmoil in Kashmir.
Bottomline, as such, remains of Slaying, Scaring and Smearing. We continue to be slayed, scared and smeared. And it may continue for long. No one can foresee the end of this dark night. From talented cricketers to geniuses like ‘Einstein’ from South Kashmir, the young breed of this horrible heaven is gobbled up by the miasma of unending darkness.
No amount of mourning can alleviate the marathon bereavement we are facing. It’s no less than a horrendous holocaust. A scandalous slaughter. It’s an expedition towards extermination. We are heading forward, step-by-step—life after life gone, agony after agony heaped up. The burden of wailing is bundled. The loss of life is lost. So is Kashmir: slayed, scared and smeared. Viciously.