After witnessing a bloody year last 2016, there seems to be no respite for Kashmir valley even in 2017. The vicious cycle of death and destruction continues on daily basis and everyday a household gets to learn about the tragic death of a loved one.
So far more than 120 militants have been killed by security forces in 2017, most of them local youth who had taken to guns in past two years. Many security personnel too lost their lives during this period. While so far, the numbers we have talked about are combatants, quite a few non combatants have lost their lives in the process as well.
Many protesters were killed during violent protests at many places, near encounter sites or at other locations as well. South Kashmir has been the epicenter of this violence.
Another chunk of these killings are also those associated with a divergent political ideologies. Many activists and leaders of mainstream political parties have been gunned down in last 6 months or so.
The most recent episode saw three killings in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Shopian districts. A village head was shot dead in Anantnag while a local cable operator was gunned down in Shopian. A bullet ridden body of a local youth was also found in Shopian just yesterday.
As expected, no militant outfit has taken responsibility for any of these killings and on the contrary, in case of the killing of cable operator of Shopian, they even accused government agencies for the murder.
However, Police insists that all these killings are handiwork of militants operating in South Kashmir. In some cases, specific names have been put out as those accused.
While perpetrators, no matter who they are-should be brought to book for murder of innocent civilians, the anonymity associated with such killings needs to go. Otherwise, with deniability being available, those responsible go scot free.
Be it individual killings or massacres like that of Chitisinghpora, next of kin of the victims are struggling for justice. There is no closure.
Known or unknown, identified or anonymous, deaths are wreaking lives and families in Kashmir. These must stop.