Irony, thy name is Kashmir

Do people witness stone-throwing as one witnesses a football game or a roadside show, when firing is likely at any moment?

 |  4-minute read |   18-06-2017
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The last few days have witnessed a spurt of incidents in the Kashmir valley. Increased attempts at infiltration have resulted in over 14 militants killed. Junaid Matoo, a known militant with an immense bounty on his head, was gunned down in an encounter.

There was also a brutal ambush in which militants killed six policemen. An off-duty policeman, Shabir Ahmad Dar, was shot dead outside his house. During the encounter in which Matoo was killed, stone throwers attempted to disrupt the operation, resulting in the death of a close cousin of Shabir Ahmad Dar, Naseer Ahmad. Two deaths from the same family, one fighting for the nation, the other against. The irony of Kashmir.

The separatists, who feel that they represent the people of Kashmir, call for a bandh every time stone-throwers are killed. They are innocents in their minds. When their own brethren, including Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, Shabir Dar and policemen doing their duty are killed, there is not a word of sorrow, nor a call for a bandh or even a show of a mark of respect.

There is never any criticism from those who attack the state at the smallest opportunity, live on the largesse of the state, take money from Pakistan and incite the youth to fight and die, while they keep their families in safe areas. The irony of Kashmir.

It is surprising that never have the family members of those killed or injured in stone-throwing admitted that their wards were involved in these activities. They have always claimed that they were bystanders watching the drama unfold when they were shot. They have never explained as to why they were at the forefront of the crowd, after all, bullets fly straight.

The message which the bandhs and protests aim to prove is that innocents were killed while being spectators at the site. Farooq Ahmad Dar, tied to a jeep by Major Gogoi, claims he was an innocent bystander. Do people witness stone-throwing as one witnesses a football game or a roadside show, when firing is likely at any moment. It only happens in Kashmir. The irony of Kashmir.          

The Hurriyat admits in a sting operation that its own people have burnt schools in remote areas to prevent children from studying and choosing a career, as also receiving money from Pakistan to fund violence in the Valley.

They have never explained as to how they afforded to purchase cars worth Rs 20 lakh, without having even worked for a single day in their lives. Yet when the NIA questions them on money laundering links, they claim they are being unjustly targeted. The irony of Kashmir.

               

Parents in the Valley pray daily that their children grow into mature adults, seek a better life and career rather than one of violence, where death is imminent. Recruitment rallies attract thousands of youth, despite calls for boycott, indicating that the mass of humanity in the Valley desires employment and security.

Sporting events and outreach by the Army attract active participation, thus conveying the message that the majority seeks diversion from daily problems. The stone-throwers and militants number a few thousands, the majority stays away, knowing violence would only ruin the little left in their lives. Yet, TV debates involve only hardliners, who spouse the separatists’ line, bellowing venom against the nation state, claiming they are innocent and being subjugated. The nation gathers the impression that the entire Valley is up in arms. The irony of Kashmir.  

Indian politicians, mainly from the opposition, run to Srinagar to meet the Hurriyat and demand the government speaks to them. They are spurned, obtain nothing worthwhile, yet keep repeating their blunders. This is the same Hurriyat which cheers when Pakistan wins in cricket, takes money from them to incite youth to die and fails to criticise the killing of local security personnel while on leave.

Instead of supporting the government and the Army while it handles tough situations, politicians call the Army Chief names and discredit the organisation for its efforts and sacrifices in the Valley. The irony of Kashmir.  

Pakistan sends in infiltrators, many die in the attempt to enter. Those that do, would die here, never to return. It openly supports the breakup of India and the amalgamation of Kashmir with it. It ferments violence through hawala funds. Its troops keep violating the ceasefire and targeting Indian posts and villages close to the border. Yet, National Conference leaders keep stating that Pakistan is the solution to a peaceful Kashmir and India must initiate talks. The irony of Kashmir.

Irony, thy name is Kashmir.    

Also read: How Pakistani army feeds off the Kashmir dispute

Writer

Harsha Kakar Harsha Kakar @kakar_harsha

The writer is a retired Major-General of the Indian Army and author of the book, Harsha Kakar writes.

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