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Editorial
Breaking the cycle of violence
Oscillating between violence and deceptive calm, Kashmiris need to be reached out to
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As Kashmir, barring Pulwama and Shopian, is limping back to so called normalcy, New Delhi once again should sieze this opportunity of calm to understand why Kashmir erupts again and again. Without a reasonable assessment of the causes and genesis of the periodic flare-ups, even the employment of best of military might to crush the popular rebellion would be worthless. It might even be counter-productive. It would also serve to come face to face with the horrifying brutality of treating both the militants and the civilian population, despite the enormous difficulty of tackling the law and order issue that is generated by their anger, on an equal footing by spraying bullets and pellets on both. In the last one week, more than a hundred people have been injured alone, besides 5 killed by security forces. According to latest reports, over 35 people hit by pellets are still recuperating in the SMHS hospital. Majority of them have been hit in the eyes and fear losing vision fully or partially. That state's agencies, who should protecting human lives are deliberately involved in killing civilians or blinding them in large scale is a horrifying reality. The unending atmosphere of restrictions and suffocations, besides such spiraling human rights violations need to be recognized as contributing factors in the ongoing turbulence in the Valley, and pushing the youth to the wall, leaving them with no option but to retaliate with violence. It is important to understand how the continuum of brutal action against civilians is resulting in the multiplication of militants. An article by Bharat Bhushan, noted journalist and member of the Yashwant Sinha led Concerned Citizens Groups, illustrates this point very well by highlighting the journey of the recently slain militant Zubair Ahmed Turay, from a stone pelter to a gun wielding insurgent. The author recalls Turay's father coming to one of the meetings of the group in December 2016 where the latter spoke about the 19 FIRs lodged against his 23 year old son for pelting stones. Soon after his release, the following summer, Turay joined the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. This is only one of the many cases which go on to show that any amount of curfews, jackboots, killings, torture, arrests, restrictions and banning the cyber skies are not enough to address the problem.

The anger and alienation of the Kashmiris, particularly the younger generation which has tasted only vicious cycles of violence, is too deep and too disproportionate for military methods to tame. That after every phase of Valley coming to a boil, educational institutions are shut for days to ensure that students do not pour out on the street to give vent to their outrage reflects the hopelessness of the situation and also demonstrates the failure of the government. Nine days after the bloody Sunday encounters in Shopian, during which 4 civilians were also shot dead and over 100 injured, a huge fraction of schools and colleges still remain shut is indeed a worrying sign and reflects the inability of the government to control the situation. If New Delhi fails to heed the extremely dangerous and chaotic descent into which Kashmir has slipped, the situation is further going to embolden a generation of people who have been born and grown up in the conflict, have seen atrocities and human rights abuse as a part of what has become normal in Kashmir and have completely lost their sense of fear of the security forces they see as a brutal force. This youth anger is not only increasing at a fast pace, the harsh reality is that it can no longer be suppressed. Having been pent up for years, this anger now unfolds itself not only in reaction to oppression by security forces but also in the operations of the security forces against militants. Clearly, military methods alone are not sufficient to check both the militancy and public unrest. There is need to begin a process of engagement. But New Delhi appears to be in no mood. The genesis of Kashmir issue is political and human rights violations or other socio-economic and political conditions faced by people on a daily basis provide it the necessary fuel. The government can no longer abdicate its responsibility in resolving a long pending conflict while continuing to treat the people of Jammu and Kashmir as dispensable and disposable. Instead, there is need for political initiatives, not as time buying efforts but ones that are aimed at final resolution of Kashmir dispute. This is the only thing that can have the potential pof breaking this cycle of violence.


News Updated at : Tuesday, April 10, 2018
 
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