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Editorial
Anger over tourist's death
Complexity of the situation in Kashmir after a tourist's killing calls for initiation of a dialogue process with all the stakeholders
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The death of a tourist from Tamil Nadu in Kashmir and injury to a local girl in stone-pelting on a passenger vehicle on Monday has added to the complexity of the situation prevailing in Kashmir. The anger has also mounted over the death of the tourist which goes against the ethos and culture of hospitality towards visitors to the valley. The incident has received widespread condemnation from all quarters including the separatist camps, mainstream political parties and the civil society. Though it is a matter of detailed investigation to find out the truth behind the stone-pelting mobs that resorted to such an action, yet the situation calls for an immediate dialogue process to be initiated at different levels with all the stakeholders in Kashmir. Apart from this, there are certain points that should attract serious attention of the present day rulers in New Delhi. Firstly, stone-pelting that started post-2008 Amarnath Land row in Jammu and counter-agitation in Kashmir is considered an expression of anger by the youth when gun-culture and armed militancy had declined. But the incidents in Shopian in 2009 and killing of 120 youngsters during 2010 protests in firing incidents gave a new fillip to the stone-pelting phenomenon. The stone-pelting mobs were dealt with frequent and brutal firing by the police, para-military and security forces in 2010 summer agitation. The acts of omission and commission by the young protesters appeared to be an expression of anger against the mighty-state and its battle-hardened and war-ready security forces. This was considered to be a weak force of stone-pelters against the mighty state of India and local coalition government. The drift in the situation does not appear to have stopped or waned in the following years at any point of time. Unfortunately, during the past four years since the BJP-led alliance took over the reins of the government in New Delhi, the situation has worsened with the passage of everyday. The youth appear to have been pushed to the wall to such an extent during the past two years post-Burhan Wani killing that youth have opted for armed resistance and ready to die in a big way. The phenomenon has attracted the youth including those, who are educated and well-settled in life adding further to the complexity of the situation in Kashmir in the recent past. This is happening despite the fact that the youth know that their life is at risk and is going to be short after they join the militant ranks.

One more important factor that created stone-pelting groups, who are not under the control or accountable to anybody not even the two factions of Hurriyat Conference, is closed schools and colleges where the youngsters should have been. Majority of the Hurriyat leaders have been under house arrest or under detention cutting them off from the grassroot common masses and there is a free run of the youth in joining the stone-pelters or the armed groups. The general amnesty to some of the stone-pelters and first time offenders also has not worked in favour of the law enforcing agencies across the valley. So in the process, stone-pelting on any vehicle in any part of Kashmir has become a phenomenon while there has been no incident of selective targeting of tourists at any point of militancy. In fact, common masses in Kashmir have gone out of their way to help visitors despite frequent shutdowns, strikes or during curfew restrictions across Jammu and Kashmir. The complex situation definitely calls for a dialogue process to be initiated by the centre. Besides such an initiative, there is also urgent need for resumption of suspended Comprehensive Dialogue Process between India and Pakistan not only on vexed Kashmir problem but also all the outstanding and contentious issues. Though indications are there that India and Pakistan have resumed the Track-II diplomacy, but as such no willingness has been expressed by New Delhi for finding a resolution to the problems between the two countries. Similarly, the situation on the borders with Pakistan has also been unstable except for occasional exchange of pleasantries at select points for exchange of citizens of two countries, who inadvertently crossed the borders. The onus of initiating a dialogue process is on New Delhi in order to restore peace and normalcy in J&K at the earliest.


News Updated at : Thursday, May 10, 2018
 
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