The massacre in Aripanthan village of Budgam points to the fact that government forces are dictated either by a nihilistic urge to kill or by the primeval instincts of the ruling party in New Delhi that had, out of power, always been demanding a “free hand to security forces” in Kashmir. The four people who were killed had been shot in sensitive organs. The two seriously injured boys—Tauqeer Ahmad Bhat and Farooq Ahmad Bhat, battling for their lives at the ICU of SKIMS, Soura— have griveous bullet wounds in the head, jaw and chest. All the injured who are being treated at other city hospitals had bullet injuries above waist, strengthening a doctor’s assertion that the forces had fired with the intention of killing. Following the Aripanthan killings, Indian home minister Rajnath Singh asked the forces to avoid casualties. Similar statements had been issued by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti after killings that happened after Handwara episode and during the initial days of the raging uprising. Asking the forces to avoid casualties or “exercise restraint” are rhetorical devices meant for public consumption to apparently convey that ‘we are not happy with what is happening’ on the ground. But remember the 2010 uprising. When 120 people had been felled, hundreds injured and thousands arrested and the uprising crushed with brute force and crafty maneuvres, the government forces were actually awarded Rs 5000 each for the “commendable work”. Absurdly, the National Conference government (following a humiliating defeat in parliamentary elections) instituted an inquiry by a retired judge to investigate the killings! The policy to kill to prevent mass protests—always humiliating for New Delhi, especially when a minor protest in Pakistan administered Kashmir or Balochistan is now being hailed as emblematic of dissent against Pakistani rule—was enforced soon after peaceful mass protests in 2008. As each procession grew bigger, culminating in hundreds of thousands of people Eidgah, the government grew restive and unleashed massive military crackdown on the masses. Otherwise, people would form human chains around policemen and CRPF troopers so that they are not attacked during protests and handed an excuse to kill. The 2010 uprising was more forceful and rendered bloodier by the government response precisely because the people had been denied the space to protest in 2008. The 2016 uprising is by far the most defiant despite the unprecedentedly brutal response of the government because the thwarted 2010 protests bubbled under the surface. All indicators point to an even more intense revolt if the raging one is suppressed with military might.