Total Control: Past tense, Future Imperfect

Total Control: Past tense, Future Imperfect

India’s Home Ministry, in a report made public by the Indian Express, and has called for stringent measures to “control” Kashmir. These include control of mosques, madrasas, print and TV media and revival of the police’s counter insurgency unit SOG (Special Operation Group). The report also calls for controlling changes in political atmosphere, strengthening intelligence set-up and reaching out to the “moderate faction of Hurriyat” to deal with the current situation. There are essentially two interpretations of the report: one, is an implied or implicit admission by the Home Ministry that things are not “under control” in Kashmir. In other words, the conditions that obtain in Kashmir are not to the liking of the said ministry. This implicit admission goes against the much touted peace and normalcy mantra touted by the Government of India(GoI) at multiple forums. Second, the thrust, tone and tenor of the report cuts into the democratic façade that is employed, more to obscure than enlighten about Kashmir. The reasons pertain to the controls sought- over mosques, madrassas, media and a form of co-optation of segments of society. If at all , the report is enacted and implemented in Kashmir, the ensuing condition that will obtain here will be a split society which would have a Kafkaesque ring and resonance to it- all validated and sat atop by a “Big Brother” – in the sense of a surveillance state. Or, perhaps, even a deep state. This deep state would complement the already extant policy paradigms, which , accord wide latitude to the police and other allied apparatii of the state. The obvious thrust of the report is on control and given the wide areas it covers- control of the people. While it is tempting to assert that pacification of people through control is ahistorical in the sense that control and coercive measures invariably backfire historically but the implications and consequences of the report are alarming. A cursory reading of what has appeared in the media suggests that dark clouds hover of Kashmir. This has both short term and long term consequences. In the short term, security ( a state centric perspective of security) appears to be elevated over politics. Viewing Kashmir from a mere security oriented prism and approach and dispelling the political means and entails a Kashmir whose past was tense but the future will be far from perfect. All in all then, things look ominous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.