By I. Ramamohan Rao
Srinagar, July 18 (ANI
): The tears never stop, the untimely funerals are endless, the valley never seems to see long periods of peace. Kashmir is on the boil once again.
The cycle of violence and perfidy never ceases of those who do not want Jammu and Kashmir to ever prosper. Many are now saying that separatists and terror outfits are very close to pushing Kashmir back to the nineties.
The anarchy on the streets of Kashmir is alarming. It is reminiscent of that dark period when India was almost losing the battle to keep Kashmir and Kashmiris part of India. It is events following the death of Burhan Wani now; it was the kidnapping of Rubaiya Saeed then.
What a twist of fate that Rubaiya's sister is now the chief minister of the state and what a trial by fire for her! Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's sister Rubaiya Sayeed was kidnapped by militants of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) on December 8th 1989.
Her father Mufti Mohammad Saeed was the Home Minister of India in the V.P.Singh government. As ransom, the JKLF demanded the release of four of their imprisoned comrades. The 23 year old medical intern, Rubaiya, was released from captivity after five days when New Delhi agreed to set free the militants.
As the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had warned, Rubaiya's release emboldened terrorist organizations and it led to the resurgence of militancy in the state with separatists seeing it as a huge victory.
Pakistan trained militants ruled the roost for several years as Jammu and Kashmir hurtled towards political chaos and social unrest. The Hindu minority community left Kashmir in droves and the Hizbul Mujahidin took over the reins of militancy from the JKLF and began calling the shots. Pakistan sponsored proxy war was working against India in Kashmir on the ground and internationally as far as psy-war was concerned India was on the backfoot.
Many of us who were then part of the informtion mechanism to deal with Kashmir proxy war, worked hard to demolish Pakistan's disinformation campaign. It wasn't easy then and it isn't going to be easy now.
On the ground, Pakistan trained hundreds of 'Mujahids' from its own provinces and from Kashmir in the nineties to wage war against India and on the international front, they raised the issue at every forum, exactly as they are doing now?
In one voice Pakistani politicians are today flooding social media and traditional media with pictures and commentary against what they term as Indian atrocities in Kashmir. Journalists from Pakistan are bombarding spokespersons in EU, UN, USA and elsewhere demanding responses to "human rights violations in Kashmir".
They are retweeting and hitting the 'like' button in thousands for any and every tweet or Facebook post that is critical of the Indian government. This naturally gives the impression to journalists, both Indian and foreign, that they are probably doing unbiased reporting.
In Kashmir, journalists are finding themselves stuck in hotels or homes, unable to venture out and report. The people in the Kashmir valley are angry with a slant in reporting by some TV channels and the anger is being vented out on all reporters.
In the nineties too, media organizations were attacked by militants. Reporters were threatened.
All India Radio started functioning from New Delhi. Most newspapers were functioning from Jammu.
There was no internet in those days. Whatsapp hadn't percolated in one's life nor had Facebook taken over the young generation's consciousness. But today with internet cut and cable services down, the youth is even more angered at these freedoms being taken away.
Journalists have to now rely on hearsay and briefings from separatists on the one side and the law enforcement officials on the other.
There are no binaries in the Kashmir imbroglio but reporting often becomes that. There is no one right way of reporting, especially when fact and fiction are so difficult to separate.
However, there are some basics that everybody should be quite clear about. India will never give up Kashmir
Not one inch. No government has the mandate to compromise on that. Not at the state level, nor at the centre. On the security level it will use optimum force if necessary to quell violence. I
t will pull back and allow people to heal. It will provide succour. It will negotiate, placate, cajole, bribe, threaten and do everything in its power to douse the fires.
And on the parallel front it will meet Pakistan at every forum with equanimity and conviction.
There is a feeling of 'been there done that'. The Indian bureacracy has a vast experience of dealing with Pakistan's psy-war tactics. That doesn't mean that India wins in every psy-war battle with Pakistan and Pakistan's proxies. Quite the contrary. India fights with it its back to the wall.
India being a democracy has a din of voices, even when it comes to matters of national security. Its media and civil society will not speak in one voice unlike in Pakistan where now the Army doesn't even need to crack the whip. It is a slow climb from the abyss but climb out we will.
Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer of the Government of India. He can be reached on his e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (ANI