THE attempts aimed at communalising the current political upsurge in Kashmir, made by certain parties, individuals and sections of the media are not only unfortunate but condemnable as well. The repercussions of communalizing this situation could be grave – a new wave of radical responses and counter-responses could set in motion a highly destabilising environment. To begin with, the rumors circulated by certain quarters about the damage to a place of worship in South Kashmir’s Islamabad town came in an extremely bad taste. That was followed by the statement by certain communal forces that the ongoing upsurge in Kashmir was ‘basically aimed at disrupting the Amarnath yatra.’ Unfortunately there are constant attempts being made by certain quarters that have clear communal overtures, to communalise the current situation. Such approaches to deal with the current genuine politically-rooted spate of protests in Kashmir may really not help in finding a political solution to the larger underlying issues in the state; of course political.
The spread of the rumors about the damage to a place of worship in South Kashmir, firstly, seem politically motivated. They were seemingly intended to provoke a communal backlash against the current upsurge in Kashmir. J&K government’s concerns and response to this highly irresponsible rumor mongering have to be viewed sympathetically. Viewed in this context, the statement made by the Rashtriya Swayemsewak Sangh (RSS) leaders that they see the Kashmir protests some sort of a ‘ploy’ to disrupt the Amarnath Yatra is simply outlandish, and invidious. It is quite well known that the ongoing spate of protests have, for most part, been led by Kashmiri teenagers who do not share good relations with the security forces on the streets. The main reason being their continuous humiliation and curbs at the hands of security forces on their normal movement. The killings of several teenagers at the hands of the police and paramilitary forces have jolted this age group. The Sopur incident was surely triggered at the time of the killing of two militants there in a gun battle when the Army and Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel laid siege to their hide out. But what, as the ground level reports suggest, prompted the protest there was the complete devastation of a few houses during the gun battle. Such protests in the aftermath of gun battles are a regular feature in Kashmir. As such, the Sopur protests were not unique. The firing on a crowd there, killing two more teenagers was the final trigger. The basic problem relates to the lack of training of security agencies in crowd management. Almost all the security agencies deployed in Kashmir are primarily trained in dealing with militant activities. The kind of arms and equipment security agencies carry testify to that. Worse, security forces tend to open fire right above the chest level, while there could have been any number of crowd management techniques, as used elsewhere in the world. And an angry reaction across Kashmir to those killings was a only natural.
Thousands of tourists remain in Kashmir even at the height of the disturbances now, and yet not a single tourist has been harmed by the otherwise highly surcharged protesters. There has been no incident of disruption to the Amarnath Yatra. Almost all the major separatist groups have categorically stated that the happenings in the Valley have nothing to do with Amarnath Yatra. They, along with Kashmir’s all representative bodies of the travel and tourism sector, have wholeheartedly welcomed the yatris, stating that all efforts shall be made to ensure their safe journey. Logically seeing, there is a clear political message in the happenings in Kashmir, which need to be appreciated as such. Any attempt to the contrary will serve no purpose.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Jul 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Jul 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST
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