Hurriyat in the Cross Hairs of the State?

Hurriyat in the Cross Hairs of the State?

Even though Director General of Police SP Vaid has called into doubt the authenticity of reports suggesting another anti- India uprising in Kashmir in March 2017, questions remain on the nature of the report. It may be recalled that the Economic Times had, a few days ago, carried an item, which citing an ‘internal police report’, suggested that violence might flare up again in March this year. The feature also quoted the DGP as saying that ‘Hurriyat leaders who lead such agitations would be squarely blamed for the consequences’. It might be that the news item in contention is in the nature of a plant or that the police authorities of Jammu and Kashmir fear such an outcome. Either way, it appears that the Hurriyat might be in the cross hairs of the state and there might be a squeeze on its leadership. If this indeed is the case, then the administration in the state is both behind the curve in terms of the nature and premise of political developments in Kashmir and that the approach that flows from this would entail blaming and then tightening the screws on the Hurriyat leadership. The conflict in Kashmir— especially over the past couple of decades or so—does not lend itself to such facile analyses. The fact of the matter is that there is an overwhelming narrative and sentiment in Kashmir that is bottoms up. It flows from the people—upwards, horizontally and vertically. The Hurriyat leadership is symbolic of this sentiment that, to repeat, flows from downward to upward. The post Burhan Wani killing saga which left Kashmir up in arms, so to speak, and the protests which spanned across many months perhaps best illustrates the point. It might be safe to assume that the intensity of the furore and mass anger that catalyzed the protests might have taken the Hurriyat leadership by surprise. Given this then, the Hurriyat leadership responded to a mass clamour, anger or, in other words, the sentiment that defines Kashmir. In this sense, laying the onus of blame on the Hurriyat does not stand scrutiny. Moreover, on the one hand, the Hurriyat leadership is sought to be reached out (read Yashwant Sinha-led delegation’s overtures) and on the other hand it is sought to be undermined. The two approaches do not add up. All this then means that the state is either being glib or does not understand or chooses not to understand the conditions that obtain in Kashmir. In any case and either way, things look ominous.

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