Mon, Oct 24, 2016 | updated 11:50 PM IST

Restoring primacy of state imperative in Jammu and Kashmir

Updated: Sep 09, 2016 16:00 IST
By Smita Prakash

New Delhi [India], Sept. 9 (ANI): September 13th is Eid-ul-Azha and the people of Kashmir valley need to be able to celebrate it like their compatriots in the rest of the state. But separatists have decided not to give a break in the strike. Kashmiris who have been literally under a siege since July 10th when the strike began have nothing to look forward to, even during the Eid weekend.

The protest calendar of the Geelani-Mirwaiz-Malik trio has not seen breaks for weeks on end. The Hurriyat is adamant not to break the spell of the current strike despite relentless pleas from several people from politics and civil society. The leaders have pushed themselves to a wall and nobody quite knows how to break the detente.

The PDP-BJP government has to re-establish the primacy of the state in the Kashmir valley before it can think of next steps to bring about normalcy. Policemen have to return to the thanas, government officers need to get back to their offices, children and teachers need to be able to go back to school, shops and business establishments need to be able to open their shutters and trade needs to restart without fear of thugs.

The security forces will start using Pava chilly filled shells instead of pellet guns to control crowds if they have to. But controlling crowds is what they will do. Whether one week or the next or the one after that. If it's a war of attrition, the forces will wear down the teenagers on the streets of Kashmir. For sure. Over 5,500 soldiers have suffered injuries in the recent weeks in mob control measures. But the media focus, quite naturally, has been on civilian casualties. Every life lost must be mourned. The violence must end.

The governments in Delhi and Srinagar are in no hurry to remove AFSPA or tone it down from Kashmir. The reasoning is that the police currently are in no capacity to carry out arrests or control the law and order situation in Kashmir if AFSPA is removed or diluted. So first stop violence. Only then can there be talk of reduction of security forces in Kashmir. Those who are snatching weapons from the hands of soldiers are not misguided 'boys' who are throwing stones. The state must and will differentiate between the two types of protestors/insurgents.

The Mufti government has to be in a position to provide governance and that can only be done if the insurgency activity is reduced to manageable levels. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is getting no support from the Hurriyat or the opposition despite pleas from the Centre and her personally.

The all-party delegation that returned from Srinagar last week appeared dejected at the cold reception it got. Nothing seems to be working in Kashmir as far as political solutions are concerned. The Hurriyat can rise to the occasion for the good of the people of Kashmir. In a Wahabi Islamic Kashmir where women are in burkhas and men totting guns, even the Hurriyat leaders will not be accepted. They should know that imposition of an alien culture would not be possible in Jammu and Kashmir. A fatigue will set in among Kashmiris about the glorification of jihad that Geelani continues to peddle. Eid would have been the perfect window for the Hurriyat to call off the strike and thereby remain relevant among the youth, both on the street and with those stuck at home. Will they relent over the weekend? (ANI)