That so many educated Kashmiri youth have joined militancy here of late is a big cause of worry, not for New Delhi and its security establishment only but for one and all. And the biggest worry is that this new breed of Kashmiri militants, if the reports are believed, are far more radicalized in the world-view about religion and politics as also the sacrifice than their counterparts of yesteryears. This is what makes them more lethal. Now the question is: who is responsible for this latest trend? Should it, like in the past, be blamed exclusively on Pakistan?
Much of Kashmir’s troubles actually lie in the successive governments’ complacency about the situation here. At a time when military measures should have been complimented and followed up with political initiatives, nothing of the sort was done. Any doctor worth his/her salt will follow up any surgical procedure with the requisite dose of antibiotics so as to stem out chances of any infections. So if military means are taken as surgical actions, the post-surgical follow up with antibiotics will be the political initiatives, which have to follow in the same order if the intention is to heal the body. But this is not how the situation was handled here and today the results are staring us in the face.
“By using excessive force, New Delhi is pushing the new generation to the wall like it did in 1989 and the youth had no option but to take up arms.” This warning was repeatedly aired by many a fertile political brains during the peak of each bout of street agitations right from Amarnath land row of 2008 till date. Even though there was lot of merit in this counsel, but unfortunately the political as well as the security establishment brushed it aside with absolute disdain. Not only was no political initiative worth its name started in Kashmir to address the popular anger and alienation, particularly among the youth, but by relying overly on the policing techniques to keep the angered population at bay, even the minimal of political space was tactfully denied to the population here. And what is even worse is that both political and security establishment wouldn’t tire patting their backs for their ‘success’ although in doing so they were only mocking at the popular collective hurts here.
Today when the regional outfits of NC and PDP, after having been ousted out of power are crying wolf about the “deteriorating situation” in Kashmir, one can’t help but laugh at their “fake” show of concern. Actually they are the ones who are responsible for having brought the situation here to boil. Neither of the two groups has no reasonable locus to pretend as being worried, for they do not have much under their belts with which they could hoodwink ordinary Kashmiris into believing what they want them to believe.
By deliberately refusing to look at Kashmir beyond the issues of ‘law and order’ – security paradigm – both New Delhi and its extensions in Kashmir have repeatedly and without any fail pushed the successive generations here to the wall. And the results of this policy are now here for everybody to see. What is still more unfortunate is that even when the authorities acknowledge their fears about the emerging situation here, they are not prepared to move beyond their traditional rhetoric. While there is once again constant naming and blaming of Pakistan for the troubles in Kashmir, not much is actually said about the conditions which are of their own making, and which are indeed the big contributing factor for the growing radicalization of youth in Kashmir.