In Kashmir Valley, not a single day passes when some violence is not reported. Citizens are harassed and harried. Their everyday lives are in tatters. Students are protesting. There are questions on every face. They had handed over the responsibility of their state to PDP government. But it had to join hands with BJP as it lacked sufficient majority in the Assembly. Still, citizens were relieved to see that the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, was a PDP representative.
But even she could not take the situation in her hands and bring about the sorely needed peace in the state. Her lack of experience in politics might be a reason of her ineffective leadership. She might not be at par with her late father Mufti Mohammad Saeed’s political expertise. His political insight was beyond criticism. She is going through this terrible test on his death and the world is watching how painfully she is failing this.
Mehbooba Mufti is in direct contact with the central government and when required she even meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. But no good has resulted out of all this. During this time, the government restricted interaction of citizens and residents of Kashmir on social media that reduced ways of contact with the rest of the world. 3G mobile service was already banned in the valley.
During this time some controversial and conflicting images also surfaced from the valley, like the use of a citizen like a human shield by the Army. A Kashmiri youth was tied to the front of an Army vehicle as a human shield and the police drove through violence stricken areas like this.
The degree of the Kashmiris’ anger and disillusionment came in full glare when the majority of citizens of Srinagar boycotted the Parliamentary elections and refused to cast their votes. In the last 30 years it had never happened when only 6.5 to 7% votes were cast in Srinagar.
The polling percentage made the country sit up and take notice of the condition in the unfortunate state. It can now be clearly said that the valley has not been able to recuperate since the death of Burhan Ahmad Vani last year. The separatists are also taking advantage of the worsening situation in Kashmir and raising their demands for separation of the state from the country in ever louder protests. Besides these, those groups that are influenced by Pakistan are also gaining power in such tumultuous situation. These factors are further complicating an already complicated matter.
Whenever the issue of worsening situation in the Kashmir valley was raised as a topic of political debate during the rule of Congress or UPA then BJP would always claim that Congress government is a weak one and it does not have any proper framework of action to deal with the Kashmir situation. But now that the tables are turned then BJP is unable to show it’s own plan of action.
The Prime Minister had quipped that Kashmir is in need of tourism, not of terrorism. But to bring this alliterative statement of the Prime Minister to reality he needs to first get rid of the terror strikes in the Valley. And then even to promote tourism a lot would need to be done, that concern the state’s financial condition. But before all of this, it is necessary to alleviate the pain of the citizens of Kashmir and empathy with their pitiable condition. And then winning their faith and support. How much effort has the government made in this direction? There is no reply to this question since nothing has ever been done.
All this is very much possible and if the people of Kashmir are taken in confidence then they know very well that they are better off when their betterment is connected with the betterment of the country. So their connection with India should be a source of solace and support, not it’s opposite. This can be done paying heed and taking genuine care of their basic needs of security and sense of belonging.
Translated from Inquilab by Nabila Habib