Kashmir on life support: Aftermath of Burhan’s killing was avoidable
While situation was contained during Afzal Guru’s hanging, the Valley is facing a humanitarian crisis this time.
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Kashmir is on the boil. At least 23 people have been killed so far and hundreds injured in action by government forces against protesters, who took to streets following the killing of Hizb "commander" Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
The collapse of law and order has resulted in the “biggest humanitarian crisis of the decade”.
Could the bloodbath have been avoided?
When Parliament attack convict Muhammad Afzal Guru was secretly hanged and buried on February 9, 2013 at Tihar Jail, it was feared that the Valley would emerge in a major uprising.
But the then Omar Abdullah government, already aware of the execution plans, managed to contain the situation. Though three civilians died and several were injured, the situation had remained largely under control.
The speedy restoration of normalcy was largely attributed to policing by the then inspector general of police Kashmir SM Sahai. Earlier too, he remained the government’s “last resort” in bringing the situation under control during the street protests of 2008 and 2010.
This time chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the home minister, was aware of the mission to neutralise Burhan Wani. But the government failed to tackle the expected aftermath.The collapse of law and order has resulted in the “biggest humanitarian crisis of the decade”.
The incumbent IGP Kashmir, SJM Geelani, couldn’t take his success story beyond the killing of 100 odd militants, as if ensuring normalcy was a secondary priority.
In response to Burhan’s killing, SJM Geelnai’s plan to impose curfew in some areas, restrictions or free-movement elsewhere, proved to be a recipe of disaster.
Now that ADGP Sahai cannot be demoted as IGP Kashmir, it’s high time for the government to replace Geelani with some other experienced hand. Here his predecessor AG Mir can be the best bet.
Mir, who replaced Sahai in March 2013, ensured normalcy for two years till his transfer in 2015. As per a report published in Valley’s influential daily Greater Kashmir, he holds the distinction of being the only IGP who ensured two peaceful elections (Parliament and Assembly) in 2014, a first in the past over two decades of turmoil.
Even as Union home minister Rajnath Singh has extended support to Mehbooba Mufti’s government, and senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has asked youth not to resort to violence, the situation in Kashmir needs to been seen beyond New Delhi’s backing or Geelani’s mood swings.
In reaction to government spokesman, Naeem Akhter’s appeal, Hurriyat M chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq wonders how separatists can be of help to authorities to restore normalcy when they are labeled as a "threat to peace".
So, let there be no more of hit-and-miss because if not the future of the PDP-BJP alliance, precious human lives are at stake.