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A young man was shot at and many bore the brunt of the Indian Army’s fury after a patrolling party was subject to stone pelting in Hajin area of Bandipore. Many parts of the area were vandalized and people subjected to the ire of the armed forces. Given the nature of the incident, that is, stone pelting, the “response” or more accurately, over-reaction by the Army was and is uncalled for. Admittedly, Hajin is a tense area where there are multiple layers of tension between the armed forces stationed there and the locals. But, this neither constitutes a reason nor an excuse to go after the locals even after what the forces have called a “provocation”. Among the reasons that account for these kinds of incidents is the rather heavy presence of the forces and their allied personnel in many parts of Kashmir. This is a clear invitation for tension, hostility and its corollaries in these places. It may be also be stated that the Hajin incident happened at a time when New Delhi has appointed an interlocutor for Kashmir and the Government of India(GoI) has gone whole hog in stating that normalcy has descended in and over Kashmir. But, on the ground , the conditions tell a different story. In any case, the victims have been and are the people of Kashmir. Over reaction by forces cannot be justified and should not be countenanced. In the ultimate analysis, real reasons why these incidents happen accrue from the conflict in and over Kashmir and its militarization thereof. No number of commissions, or enquiries,( which , usually , in Kashmir, do not yield any results), to deal with incidents of this nature, will not obviate these unless and until the conflict, in all its dimensions, is resolved. The real issue then is the conflict in and over Kashmir, at the risk of repetition. Interlocution which omits and ignores important and salient dimensions of the conflict, and merely focuses on “outreach” programs and which happens when incidents like the Hajin one happen, is a mug’s game. That is, it is futile as is corroborated by the cynicism and indifference it has been met with in Kashmir. The real name of the game is resolving the conflict in and over Kashmir, in all its dimensions. This calls for a paradigm shift and out of the box thinking. Let the nettles be grasped and this paradigm be instituted.

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