Army Chief Confident of Normality Returning to Kashmir Valley Soon
Even as the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat believes the situation will return to normal in the Valley soon, it has never been as bid as this in the last two decades.
Nevertheless, he had no doubt whatsoever that people will get to experience normal life soon. “They are our people…we know what is hurting them and how to swab their wounds inflicted by violence,” the General added. At the same time the Valley has sunk to such depths that last Thursday on June 22 during the night of prayers in the holy fasting month of Ramzan, it was brutalisation of the worst kind.
The victim was Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohammad Yusuf Pandith from the security wing of the state police supervising security arrangements at the grand mosque from where the chief cleric Mirwaiz Umer Farooq delivers his sermons.
The officers and men from his wing do not wear the uniform. What is unfortunate is that soon after being lynched he was being given the tag of being a non-Muslim from the intelligence unit. The gambit of the terrorists was to pass off such barbarism against non-Muslims as acceptable.
The Kashmiri seems to be badly shaken. The lynching is not only a blot on Kashmiri society that prides itself on human values of following the path of peace and love in keeping with Islamalic scriptures.
Targeting policemen is a well known strategy but the people joining the lynching of a cop on one of the holiest days of the Islamic calendar is a pointer to how far the dehumanisation of Kashmir has proceeded. It is time that all the conscience keepers of Kashmir, particularly the separatist leaders and clerics among them, stem this rot threatening to tear apart the already overstrained social culture of tolerance.
“The line between humanity and bestiality has been blurred. The man who was protecting them was lynched,” observed state DGP SP Vaid. J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti regretted what can be more shameful. “J&K police are one of the best in the country. They are brave and showing maximum restraint. The day their patience wanes, I believe things will be difficult,” she cautioned.
Pandith was killed when he opened fire in self defence. It brings to the fore the intolerance that characterises the scene in Srinagar. Barely a week ago six policemen were butchered by terrorists who ambushed them.
One fails to understand why the enemies of the state like the Mirwaiz are provided a battery of bodyguards at public expense when the role they play is of traitors. The protection given to them must be withdrawn so that they are left to fend for themselves.
It is difficult to understand why the central and state governments have been pandering to anti-national elements by offering them all kinds of allurements. By giving them the status of being mass leaders which they are not, the authorities are only lending respectability to the nefarious activities of these men.
The killers of Pandit must be brought to book. The perceived alienation echoes in villages where mothers mourn and sons find a rebel within for a cause they are not sure about. The Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama axis is turning out to be the new hotspot of home grown militancy.
The Centre’s security centric approach coupled with its policy of a bullet for a bullet has failed in J&K. This is also on account of the pull of radical Islam from outside adding a new dimension to the protracted problem.
Lack of leadership in the sensitive border state has compounded matters. The other unthinkable aspect for the Kashmiris is the coalition government of the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s PDP and the BJP overseeing the sensitive border state in a coalition arrangement.
The imperative need is to restart the dialogue process with all the stakeholders to end the continuing turmoil going out of hand.
(T R Ramachandran is a senior journalist and commentator)