Thousands of students, male and female, across Kashmir valley protested on Monday in the same manner, for the same reasons, demanding the same things as those the state police, the other armed forces and the governments of the day have called ‘miscreants’ and ‘misguided’ youth ‘instigated’ either by Jihadists of an enemy country. Numerous Bogeymen have perpetually been deployed to obfuscate the reality of Kashmir, but the deceptions have and could never work for the very people, the Kashmiris who have been at the receiving end of all violence committed in the name of the nation or a certain ‘acceptable nationalism’. Students in Kashmir, like anywhere else in the world are perhaps the most politically aware lot. Monday’s protests should be understood as an outcry yet again from Kashmir that the status quo is not acceptable. The question is; who is listening? Politicians in opposition today, like former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq Abdullah have been making the ‘right noises’ about the obtaining situation in Kashmir, particularly after their rival, the PDP tied up with the ruling BJP.
One of the forceful demands of the father-son duo, and indeed their party has been for imposing Governor’s rule in the state. This demand makes the rest of their political statements somewhat spurious. A political party in opposition in Kashmir would press for such a demand as a step towards regaining state power just like the current ruling regime did when it was the opposition, and makes their most recent commentary about the state of affairs in Kashmir today as empty rhetoric for the purposes assuaging the actual public sentiment and nuetralising the real content of the ongoing protests!
If the lot of the ‘mainstream’ politicians were ever sincere about what they publically say during the time of strife in Kashmir they would publically dedicate themselves to the resolution of the dispute over Kashmir and work towards representing what for example Farooq Abdullah recently said about the protesting youth and militants of Kashmir; that they were fighting for their nation!
As the middle ground in which politics of deception worked until recently is fast vanishing the battle lines in Kashmir are becoming sharper. On the one side are the citizens, including the students, and on the other are the state, its institutions and the people working them. Honest politicking would mean to represent this reality for the world rather than use it for rebranding it for the same old defeated purposes of obfuscation. The current scenario in Kashmir and how New Delhi is responding makes clear that it is a saturated situation where only confronting the reality squarely for the purposes of dispute resolution has a chance of genuinely working. The Bogeyman appears to have died for good!