Not by development alone
In yet another major militant strike, three soldiers were killed after militants opened fire on an army convoy at Pampore. Earlier, fidayeen attack on an Army camp in Jammu had killed seven Army personnel. The growing frequency of these attacks yet again brings to light the renewed resort to militancy by the youth in the state. Over the past five months, several scores of youth have joined militant ranks. And many of them have died in recent encounters in parts of South Kashmir. But this has hardly deterred fresh recruitment as more youth are reported to be joining militancy and ready to die in the process. According to security estimates, around 163 militants died in encounters in 2016, a majority of them from South Kashmir areas of Pulwama, Tral, Kulgam and Shopian. The new recruits get precious little arms training, possess little ammunition and fewer guns, some of them snatched from the police men. One worrying factor for the security establishment is the ever-growing number of the people attending the militant funerals. This has created an explosive situation. Each funeral touches off an outpouring of emotion and grief, leading to a groundswell of support for the militancy. And each funeral inspires more youth to take up gun. And each funeral thus spawns many more future funerals. Though this has been a source of concern for the government, its response to the trend has been exclusively military in nature. What is more, Government's own assessment of the situation generally traces the phenomenon to reasons other than political. For example, the government sees the youth taking up the gun a result of the ill-defined and catch-all radicalization and forgets the troubled political context under which the Valley operates. And the solution largely proferred is jobs, economic prosperity which will hardly address the problem. What will address is the political solution to the festering political issue that Kashmir is and has been for the past almost 70 years. So, while the development is certainly needed, the fundamental and the sustained response to the troubled situation in the state has to be political in nature, something that has been largely absent.