The Saga Continues

The Saga Continues
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Three civilians which include two women have been killed in Kashmir in the month of December. Almost, invariably, the civilian killings appear to be the supplement or consequence of “ Operation All Out”. It may be stated here that “Operation All Out” seeks to kill the vestiges of militancy and militants in Kashmir. If an assertion might be made regarding the premises and rationale of this particular operation, it seeks to kill the emanations and manifestations of the conflict in and over Kashmiris. This, in turn, means that the underlying realities of the conflict remain. “Operation All Out” is an innovation of sorts, in terms of India’s Counter Insurgency(COIN) doctrine whose premise( flawed and faulty) is that killing militants will resolve the conflict in Kashmir and , by extension, the conflict over Kashmir. The conflict is a politico-historical one which goes through various phases, ebbs and flows but, to repeat, the underlying reality and the sentiment that flows from this remains. There’s hardly any conflict in the world that has been resolved by the sheer application of force. All that this particular operation or COIN doctrine does is create a statistical illusion for powers that be in India. Having said this, the saga of death that the operation exacts is tragic. Two women and a man lost their lives just because they happened to be near or around the encounter site(s). No amount, apologia or nature of justification can actually wash away the killings of these persons at the peak of their lives. Moreover, no ex post rationalizations such as the breach of the so called Standard Operating Procedures(SOP’s) and allied themes can serve as a corrective to these gory and tragic incidents. What will actually bring an end to this dance of death is probing and going deep into the well springs of the conflict in Kashmir. This exercise will not only be revelatory but also, if done with sincerity, bring forth the actual nature of the issue and its resolution thereof. The fact is that there is conflict in and over Kashmir and only its resolution will bring peace to the blighted vale and even South Asia- given the interconnections and interrelations that define the region. In the ultimate analysis, force and power cannot be a substitute for conflict resolution. It is about time that powers that be recognize this and begin a process of introspection. This will not only be cathartic but also salutary and salubrious for all.

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