Handle with care

The divergence of perceptions between the state government on the one hand and the Army and the Home Ministry on the other regarding the security of the Amarnath Yatra has sparked a widespread public debate. There seems to be a strong support to the argument put forth by the state government, including J&K police, that the perception of a “heightened threat” from militant groups to this year’s yatra is an exaggerated one. J&K Police has also made it categorically clear that there is no pointed threat to the Yatra and that the threat perception has actually declined in recent years. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has stated in no uncertain terms that he has made it clear at the Unified Headquarters (UHQ) meeting that he does not share the “high threat perception” view. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, on the other hand, has echoed what the Army has maintained – that this year “militant groups could target the yatra.” The fact of the entire matter is that while Jammu & Kashmir state is far from being normal, there is little reason that a new security system will be created on the basis of a mere threat perception. J&K Police is always believed to be in a constant process of receiving generalised intelligence inputs and their analysis throughout the state. It has made it clear that there are no specific threats pointing to a particular plan to disrupt the yatra. The unfortunate part of this situation is that it would unnecessarily create a fear psychosis. That fear psychosis has three dimensional negative repercussions. At one level that damages the reputation of Kashmir as a tolerant society that has been facilitating Amarnath yatra in most of the difficult times. At another level that fear psychosis puts the yatris in psychological and physical discomfort. At the third level, such fear psychosis results in unnecessary militarisation of the yatra that does not serve the cause of democratisation in J&K state. That unfortunately also ends up creating a security environment that a religious yatra can definitely do without. It is the responsibility of both the centre as well as the state government to act highly responsible in this matter and be very careful about public statements and posturing on this sensitive matter.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Jun 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Jun 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Jun 2013 00:00:00 IST

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