Srinagar: Surge in stone-throwing protests in Kashmir is directly proportional to the number of encounters and civilian deaths, the government has confided in a report.
The document, a copy of which was accessed by Kashmir Reader, showed April as having the highest count (above 90) of stone-throwing protests. The first day of April saw the biggest anti-militancy operation in a decade resulting in killing of 20 people including four civilians, 13 militants, and three army soldiers in multiple gunfights in the militant hotbed of southern Kashmir districts. The toll of civilian killings touched a dozen and more than a hundred were wounded by the end of the month.
The report says that protests against gunfights in Kulgam and Shopian districts and also subsequent civilian killings in “law and order” situations are the reason for sharp spikes in the protest graph that month.
The protests, however, waned as soon as Kashmir entered into a month-long unilateral ceasefire, the report said.
The ceasefire or Non Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO) was announced by the Narendra Modi-led Indian government on May 17. It continued till June 16. Three days later, the unpopular PDP-BJP alliance in the state government ended.
The report pointed out that the ceasefire was the “major reason” for downfall in protests that had roiled the Valley.
The situation saw a turnaround, the report said, after Governor NN Vohra took over in June, with protests waning drastically compared to previous months.
The Vohra-led government’s three months saw only 125 protest incidents reported in Kashmir. The month of August, during which Vohra was replaced by Satya Pal Malik, saw protests coming down to as low as 34 incidents.
A comparative analysis of more than two months prior to Vohra’s assuming the gubernatorial assignment showed that above 320 protests occurred in the Valley during the Mehbooba Mufti-led government. More than 30 percent of these protests occurred in Srinagar alone.