By Anjum Husain
The restive region of Jammu and Kashmir is about to complete one full year of it being at its volatile best. There seems to be no end in sight even as we approach the next holy month of this year. The joyful moon of the previous Eid was eclipsed and overshadowed by the dreadful clouds of death and destruction, blood and gore. This heaven on earth has remained overcast with clouds of uncertainty ever since.
Amidst this chaos, mother Kashmir lost over a hundred of its dear sons and daughters, witnessed with her sorrowful and weary eyes the losing of the vision of scores more whose lives have become tantamount to being the living dead. Thousands more remain and continue to be kept behind bars away from their loved ones thus they too losing a considerable a part of their lives if not all of it to the walls of their prisons.
The powers that be handled this entire season with utmost ruthlessness and showed total disregard for human principles and values. The measures that have been taken to rope the restive situation in have had a very negative bearing on the general psyche of the people especially of Kashmir. The utterances from time to time by the members of the ruling coalition have only been designed to intimidate and send the already bruised psyche of the common Kashmiri. The current regimes both in New Delhi and Jammu-Srinagar seem to be sharing what they call in political parlance as ‘the common minimum programme’.
The only programme they can boast of is to curb and crush every non-conformist voice. The way events have unfolded since the uprising last year clearly indicate that the powers that be are just not interested in bringing in even a semblance of stability in this region. A very unstable and volatile situation serves their purpose. Holding elections for two parliamentary seats despite warnings from different quarters against this phony exercise is indication enough that the authorities are bent on seeing the valley up in turmoil. The result of one phase of this election should serve as a rude awakening in the corridors of power. The alienation and simmering anger and dissent is quite palpable from this result.
The suppression and oppression is no answer to this long pending dispute. Even cosmetic measures like economic packages here and there will do no good to any of the stakeholders in this quagmire of crises. The rolling back of 3G and 4G Internet services is another big folly which eventually would only result in solidifying the feeling of ‘otherness’ in Kashmir. This step affects the interests of students, professionals, various institutes and businessmen alike. Besides, this gag isn’t going to stop the atrocities on the general public. This gag isn’t going to stop the forces from tying a man to their vehicles and using him as a human shield and isn’t even going to stop people protesting this gruesome act. This gag won’t save young boys and girls from getting hit brutally by bullets and pellets. Yes, but it will hit badly the education and businesses in the state. And, this too is going to fuel the anger more and more.
Nowadays it’s the age of the student rage. The provocation came from the security personnel themselves. In every nation, students and teachers are the most respected lot of society. But Kashmir is a different case. The students were dealt with in a very inhuman and ruthless manner. Even the girl students were not spared and many of them lie in different hospitals recuperating from the injuries they have received. One would like to ask if this is the practical implementation of “Beti bachao, Beti padhao” or the “Ladli beti” schemes ? Not a single politician has come forward to think of something which would placate the anger and hurt in students. Instead, some top rung politicians of the ruling regimes have advocated for bullets to be used against them. This speaks volumes about the fascist mindset of the current ruling class in Kashmir. True democracy gives room to wider public opinions, criticisms and voices of dissent.
The resistance has turned a corner in the Kashmir valley and has assumed new dimensions, meanings and ways. The budding generations know no fear. What they have learnt and practically witnessed over the years is that the people of the state are being hold against the wall by politicians who make way to the corridors of power with the help of the franchise exercised by the same people. It’s high time that the who’s who of the ruling class feel the pulse of the wider public and not shun everyday protests and demonstrations as being fuelled and financed by outside forces. The blame game and time-kill tactics are archaic ways of making the issue of Kashmir hang in the balance. The loss on all fronts (educational, economic, social etc) has an effect. It’s the 21st century in which people don’t forget and forgive. The tyranny doesn’t go unaccounted for. A stable Jammu and Kashmir is going to make a good part of the world free of strain which has consumed thousands of lives and threatens to gallop many more in the days to come if left unattended.
—The Author, a school teacher, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org