Today: Jun 19, 2024

Another ‘unrest’ in the making in J&K?

3 mins read

By: Rayees Masroor

The signs are all there- a spurt in violence, separatists uniting to call for protests and shutdowns, large number of civilians attending funerals of slain militants and protestors gathering to pelt stones at the government forces during gunfight. The valley is already going through a bloody spring amid deaths and destruction. Large numbers of militants, mostly local boys, have been killed by the government forces during the last two months. The most worrying part of the story is that the local youth have been frequently joining the militant ranks and even well qualified persons like Assistant professor, Dr.Mohd Rafi Bhat, who was killed in a gun battle recently, have shown inclination towards joining militant ranks and subsequently getting killed in encounters. This is something that has come as an utter shock to the security establishment here.

While militancy and the unrest in the valley has been portrayed as a net result of lack of opportunities and employment by the political establishments in the state as well as at the centre. The same fact was later flaunted by national media in particular in order to craft a narrative around this assumption. However the latest trend suggests something very opposite to this narrative. Many believe that there seems to be a mental unrest among the people especially the youth against the status quo and the absence of any political initiative to address the core issue. ‘Operation All Out’ launched by the forces against the militants has been successful to the extent of killing the number of militants but on the other hand this operation has pushed scores of youth into joining the militant ranks and as per the official data 28 young boys have become militants in April only. As such, there is a strong view that this operation against the local militants has not yielded desired results for the security agencies and instead, has more of a triggering force that has already successfully pushed many youngsters-both well qualified as well as otherwise, to join militant ranks. The increasing graph of the local militancy itself reflects the sheer anger and hopelessness among the youth of the valley.

The narrative that ‘children of poverty and desperation’ become militants or unemployment leads to militancy has been demolished by the death of Dr Mohd Rafi Bhat and the likes of Manan Wani. It is a demanding task to complete a research for doctorate degree and equally sweeter is the fruit of it for those who get an early chance to work in a prestigious university like that of Kashmir. But even all such guarantees couldn’t stop Dr Rafi from opting for gun over pen and even lose his life! One cannot and shouldn’t undermines these details while trying to understand a conflict and its nuances.

The loss of a scholar like Dr. Rafi is irreparable for any society, it only highlights the frustration among the youth against the continuous absence of any serious effort to address the main issue and reach out to the people on the ground. Many scholars are of the opinion that Kashmir has never witnessed peace in its true sense since 1945 and the people at the helm of affairs have continuously been misinterpreting the simmering discontent for peace. Since the Burhan Wani killing the problem has resurfaced in even larger aggravated contours but unfortunately Delhi has been in denial mode as has been the state government.

Mr. Dineshwar Sharma who was appointed as an interlocutor and he has already visited the state few times to talk to various people and parties but his mandate has not been made clear by the government. The Joint resistance leadership has not been convinced by New Delhi to talk to the interlocutor and engage in some serious dialogue. The popular sentiment on the ground is that there is nothing happening on the ground when it comes to the real issues faced by the people.

Unrests on the previous occasions have not yielded any desired results for the masses and have only inflicted enormous human and economic losses on the people. Many have been criticizing the Hurriyat conference for having no strategy vis-a-vis the current situation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and sticking to its old fashioned policy of strikes and protests. Whatever is the truth but the situation seems ripe for another summer unrest in the valley and given the current political dispensation vis-à-vis the mainstream as well as the separatists, one can only hope that situation remains calm.

There is a serious need to go for some confidence building measures and initiate political processes in order to end the imbroglio and let people of this godforsaken state breath in peace. The appointment of an interlocutor by the government of India and simultaneously launching an operation like ‘All Out’hints at the paradoxical approach adopted the government. Bullets and dialogue will never go together and India as well as the state government has to learn that. Also the separatist camp has to undergo an in-depth self analysis and relook their policies and strategies which have not yielded results till date.

Let’s hope that good sense prevails and all parties to this long drawn conflict have some courtesy for the human lives that are lost, for the blood that is spilled everyday and for the tears of the mothers which are shed every instance. Let’s hope that peace prevails!

The writer can be reached at [email protected]