Kashmir on the boil

12 Jul

Who had thought that a tear-gas shell fired over a crowded street on 11th June in Srinagar’s Rajouri Kadal area would land with utmost precision, on Tufail Mattoo, ripping apart the seventeen year olds’ skull.
Since then, Kashmir’s cities have seen a wave of murderous clashes between Police and protestors. Following particularly intense clashes in early July, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Government asked Army troops to stand by to assist civilian authority in Srinagar.

For the young men who have been battling Police, Mattoo was a martyr for their cause. His loved ones don’t seem to see it in quite the same way.Mattoo, the accidental martyr’s father, gently argued with protestors who wanted to march in procession with his son’s body to a graveyard where hundreds of those killed in the separatist movement are buried.His father said,his son wasn’t seeking martyrdom,just trying to make his way home from school.On national television, he disapproved of the rioting that broke out after his son’s death.
The parents of at least some of the men who have died since, seem to feel the same way. Even though Muzaffar Ahmad Bhat’s family were furious at the Police, who chased their son into the stream where he drowned on July 5,they rejected pleas from leaders to have their child buried at the Mazhar-e-Shauhda. So did the family of Fayyaz Ahmad Wani, who was killed a few hours later.

The violence that has torn Kashmir apart this summer. However,the truth is that the violence has been concentrated in small urban pockets, not even the entire Kashmir Valley.Langate,between volatile Srinagar and Baramulla, has seen no violence. Neither has Kupwara. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s home district, Ganderbal, saw just six clashes in which only one civilian was injured. In Kulgam, Geelani’s supporters have, despite the backing of elements of the PDP, failed to spark off any significant unrest.Similar clashes have claimed lives on a regular basis since 2006. J&K’s decision to call in the Army was driven by fears that protestors might target an on going Amarnath Yatra(started on 1st July). The Army’s presence, the State Government hoped, would persuade public opinion in Jammu that it was taking all possible measures to end the violence.

Few though, have paused to ask the important questions: who are the protestors? What are their aims? Who are their leaders? And what, if anything, can authorities do about the problem?
Indian authorities have intercepted conversations, which suggest local activists of Islamists groups have paid small groups of agitators to initiate protests by throwing stones at the Police.Officials say funds for this uprising have come from Pakistan-based organisations sympathetic to Islamists in Kashmir and jihadist groups have backed the protestors. On ground, though, it is the public of Jammu and Kashmir that is facing lathis and bullets of police. And if the intelligence agencies have intercepted such converstions then why dont they arrest such poeple for creating unrest against country??
Kashmir’s politicians are struggling to find a language with which to address the problem. “These young people”, said the state’s former Deputy Chief Minister, Muzaffar Husain Beigh, last week, “they listen to no-one”.
The State and the Center are yet to find a concrete solution to the upheaval that has ripped apart the Kashmir Valley.Indefinite curfews, and army flag marches,barring of bulk sms are few of the temporary solution. But what is needed is a permanent solution, the which atleast stays for a year or two. The Home Minister ,who i  personally feel is on the verge of failing to tackle the naxal issue, has made a statement asking parents to control their teenage children and not to let them out during curfew. Statements are not what are required here, that too a request.

An all party meet was called by J&K CM Omar Abdullah to find a way out of the crisis in the state. The decisions taken were not very impressive.The decisions taken were:
1. To bring PM’s attention towards the cirsis(as if PM isn’t already aware of the crisis).
2. An appeal to all parties irrespective of affiliation, to help in the peace process.
3. Inquiry should be held on the killings of civilians by secuirty personels in the recent violence.
4. The last point of the meeting urged upon the government to strengthen the on going peace process .
It took four hours to decide upon these points which everyone like us must have already thought about while watching tv at dinner time.

Since I have started writing this blog, I read news more often and  the only thing that I have  realized again is that Indian lives are expendable – Bhopal gas tragedy, naxal attacks and now lives lost on streets of Kashmir.

7 Responses to “Kashmir on the boil”

  1. deepak July 15, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    nice…i really like it

  2. Aparna July 15, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Undoubtedly loss of life in any form is very is very unfortunate and condemned in all forms.But somebody has to look into the conditions in which security forces operate.Stress,pressure and frustration.There is no personal enmity of security forces with anybody.Such unfortunate things have been occurring and continue to occur because of pressure to perform and control the situation.humble request to agitators to appreciate the constraint of security forces and refrain from creating a situation leading to ugly and unpardonable- unforgetable situation

  3. Devil's Advocate July 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    Spare a thought for the policeman/Army jawaan who is fighting a war
    just because. I did not even know until a few years ago that all
    India-Pakistan wars have been fought in the name of Kashmir. But,
    now I know.

    Having given it a lot of thought, I do not know if a political
    solution is possible unless the people want it. The Khalistan
    movement comes to mind. I firmly believe that the movement
    flourished, not only because of the fear of the movement leaders, but
    also because the people supported it. However, as soon as the people
    got fed up, the movement fizzled (Operation Blue Star, for all its
    ugly aftermath probably brought out the facts that were available
    for all to see).

    Similarly, India has to win people’s hearts in Kashmir. It may
    happen by building infrastructure, providing education, building
    infrastructure (e.g. rail link — admittedly an epic task), capitalizing
    on tourism, etc. If all of these fail, I do not know what the solution is. I wish I knew.

    What I really fail to understand is except bragging rights, how would
    Pakistan benefit from having a few more hundred square miles of one of the most difficult terrains in the world. Do their political leaders not realize that spending all the money on maintaining an ongoing hostility is such a drain on their meager resources? Or is it the only way for Pakistan to stay in the limelight and continue basking in political and financial sunlight just because of its strategic geographic location vis-a-vis current political hotbed situations? On the other hand, India’s position is rather clear and easy to defend but, of course, the Islamic world does not see it that way.

    • chilicheesetoast July 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

      True, spare a thought for the security forces that are trying to maintain peace in J&K . they stay away from their families and relatives risk their lives for people who themselves are confused they want to stay with INDIA PAKISTAN or have a SEPARATE ENTITY.

      India is trying to win the hearts of kashmiris but then again i want to say, these people are confused. They should look at POK and pakistan itself, the country which has become a pet dog of USA and is going to be one of CHINA.

      Hospitals, roads , railways everything the(Indian) government is giving them(Kashmiri’s). only because of the terrorism existing in the state there are restrictions on the few of their fundamental rights.

      Pakistan has been a politically confused state and will remain to be one. Its only because America and China are funding Pakis for their own use, they are able to sustain themselves.

      • Devil's Advocate July 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

        I lost you somewhere in your response. What I got is Kashmiri people are confused but the POK people are getting a lot of facilities; albeit, at the cost of being labeled a dog of the USA/China. Well, if you are one of the dogs, do you really care who your master is? In other words, people in general want these facilities, so if POK has these, the Indian side Kashmiris would naturally covet and expect the same. Is that what you are trying to say? And what do you think needs to be done differently besides just calling the people confused. If they are confused, how do you propose we clear their confusion?

        • chilicheesetoast July 16, 2010 at 4:06 am #

          Really sorry, i re-read the reply , it was a bit confusing…

          The Indian government is really looking into the development of the State, be it railways, hospitals and other various basic necessities which i guess was earlier read by you as the people in pakistan and POK are enjoying these facilities.

          According to Kashmiri(POK) nationalist Arif Shahed :
          Ninety per cent of the PoK people want to end Islamabad’s control but have so far failed to launch any operation to this end because the Azad Kashmir leadership is a Pakistani stooge.
          Comparing the conditions on either side of the Line of Control, Kashmiris on the Indian side enjoy the same economic and political freedom as the people living elsewhere in the country whereas the situation is just the opposite in PoK. Industries are being set up in Pakistan whereas no industries are allowed in PoK.
          School students are made to learn Pakistani history, sing its national anthem and respect its leaders and generals as their heroes.

          The condition on the other side of the LoC is terrible(as i could read on different websites). The government at Islamabad doesn’t really care about the common people living there. There arent any functional hospitals, public transport facilities.Pok, actually for Pakistan is a sort of base training area, where the innocent teenage boys are camped, brainwashed, trained and made into a Jehadi.

          • Devil's Advocate July 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

            OK. Thanks for clarifying; even though it was confusing, I pretty much understood what you meant (and clarified later). Are there railways in Kashmir (the upper part)? Anyway, if the Indian government is giving them all this, why are we failing to win their hearts? Why are they still confused? How do we make them less confused? I know these are questions so easy to ask but impossible to answer. But my point was (is) that there has to be some genuine resentment among the people; else, there seems no logical reason for them to continue supporting the unrest in that part of the state.

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