Views from Srinagar
FOUR civilians and an army person were killed in south Kashmir’s Khudwani area, Wednesday, during and after the gunfight that erupted between militants and armed forces. While violence raged in the south, its ripples reached most of the districts of Kashmir triggering protests, mostly held by students in colleges and outside the campuses. The reaction to civilian killings in Kashmir is prompt and decisive, as has been seen in the past incidents also.
The way the whole episode unfolded on Wednesday in Khudwani, an area also famous as a militant sanctuary, it should ring the bells from Kashmir to New Delhi on the intractable phase the conflict is entering, once again. After hours of heavy gunfight, the body bags this time were not for militants, but civilians mostly. This has happened despite the warnings and advisories issued by state police officials and army top brass. Participation of civilians in protests against any armed force’s action or operation in Kashmir is increasing day by day.
While at encounter sites the civilians in complete defiance and not even budged by safety concerns have been trying to disrupt the armed forces operations, the mass participation in funerals is also being read as people’s referendum. In a bid to eliminate militancy by sheer military power than resolve the crisis with political engagement and dialogue, New Delhi is responsible for pushing the people to wall. Kashmir is on the brink of a civilian revolt with mass support for militants becoming acute as days pass. From facing bullets of armed forces and defying all restrictions and impositions to picking up arms, the gap has been considerably reduced.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who has visited Kashmir several times in the last couple of years, has been quite adamant while declaring that peace will be restored in the state and that the Government of India has been working on it. Last year, while defending the popular sentiment on Article 35-A, he said that the government’s solution was based on 5Cs – Compassion, Communication, Coexistence, Confidence building and Consistency. With the C of civilian killings becoming the order of the day in Kashmir, none of those ideas (5Cs) seem to be put to practice in Kashmir.
Amid the uproar on civilian killings in Kashmir, the opposition parties have gone to the extent of accusing the BJP-led union government’s Kashmir policy as being driven by bloodlust. Is Kashmir heading towards mass uprisings? That’s not the question for armed forces who do as they are ordered. If the answer is anything but No, all those alleging that New Delhi has lost Kashmir case stand vindicated.
—Courtesy: Rising Kashmir