J&K:Now Cut the Drift and Intimate Love Affair With The Votes

Kashmiris inured to massive tragedy

In the continuing killings and massacres of innocent persons by Jihadi outfits operating in J&K, mainly in the Valley, June 14 was a particularly bad day. A senior editor of Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, Editor of the daily Rising Kashmir was shot dead, along with his personal security officer. A security guard was also critically injured. Not far from Srinagar, a soldier of a Rashtriya Rifles battalion – Aurangzeb by name, was killed in Pulwama, while he was on his way home to celebrate Eid with his kith and kin.

No Eid must have been celebrated in at least four houses in J&K on 16 June. Should all Kashmiris not join these four bereaved families to condemn the killings of the four who were killed in cold blood by their own Kashmiri brethren? They should, but it is unlikely that they will.

The reason is that killings and maimings’ have become such an essential part of Kashmir, especially since 1989, that the Awam has become inured to such massive tragedies. Those who are responsible for such atrocious actions have been indoctrinated to such high levels that they are now bereft of compassion and value for human lives. Their leaders, motivators and patrons, on the other hand remain unmoved and continue to goad more and more to join the band of zombies, who have no mind of their own, but do what they are ordered to do.

These motivated zombies have no compunction in shooting down their own, only because their motivators want to kill only for the sake of killing, merely to perpetuate their own importance and that of their mentors. When will they and their followers realise that nothing, just nothing will be realised on this path of violence for violence sake? Ultimately, it is only the innocent Awam that will lose everything while those who goaded them will disappear in thin air. Unfortunately, the Kashmiri leadership at all levels, both political and social, has failed them repeatedly.

All the casualties are Kashmiris and all were shot down during the holy month of Ramzan, while a unilateral cessation of operations was in force at the behest of the Chief Minister of J&K, Mehbooba Mufti and endorsed by the Home Minister of the country.

Many, including this writer had cautioned the political leaders about one-sided suspension of operations, but the political mind being what it is, with their entire focus on votes, elections and making money, the only policy they have – ‘appeasement’ prevailed! It may be recalled that the Jihadist had immediately ruled out any stopping or even decrease in their activities and their covert supporters (read Hurriyat) had nothing whatsoever to say.

The public was of course happy but the police, including the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) did not like it at all because the political leaders had tightened their hands even further. Within a few days, their worst suspicions came to life, while the politicians congratulated each other on another hurdle crossed, never mind the continuance of killings and related crimes.

The army, which continues to be the principal instrument in J&K, reluctantly acquiesced in this hare-brained scheme of suspension of operations unilaterally, but remained on an even higher level of alertness, so that it could act quickly. This they did and successfully. However, these were all at a tactical level as quick responses.

On the other hand, while the DMO Pakistan agreed to reciprocate in not indulging in infiltration of insurgents across the LC, this was merely a ploy. In the Jammu-Pathankot Sector, where BSF is deployed as it is an international border (though Pakistan continues to call it as a Working Boundary), Pakistani troops resorted to heavy firing without any provocation and casualties were incurred.

The nation and more so the central and state leadership has to be more realistic in actions to be taken to calm tempers and appeasement is not at all the way to do it. Only about two weeks back, this writer had suggested measures to be taken on this very portal. The link to that is: Classical-Army-Viewpoint-on-JK-State-Has-Lost-its-Moorings.

It is time we quit the drift in Kashmir, formulate both long term and short term policies and strategies that have an aim, the detailed plan to implement it and a desired end-state, with a time horizon. Status quo has neither the place nor any importance in such a policy. In addition, till the political leadership abandons its intimate love affair with votes, elections, power and pelf, we will continue to go round and round but will achieve nothing.

(The writer is a former Vice Chief of Army Staff. This article was written just before Eid, the delay in publication being on The Citizen side)

(Cover Photograph Basit Zargar. PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti addressing a press conference after the BJP withdrew support)