Ahead of Rajnath Singh's visit to Kashmir, the Union Minister from J&K remarked that the militancy in Kashmir is in its "last stage". Trying to secure Brownie point and substantiating his statement by the statistics of more than 600 militants being killed during the PDP-BJP rule, he proudly claimed it to be "much higher than the number of militants killed during the UPA-I and UPA-II (governments)". By this logic, if the stages of militancy in Kashmir are to be measured and evaluated by the number of militants killed during the four years rule of PDP-BJP coalition government, then peace in Kashmir should have been a reality by now. Which, in fact, is at a Worst Stage, actually! It also fails to answer some pertinent questions about the number of youth joining militant ranks relentlessly in Kashmir and the brutalization of growing estrangement here.
Besides, going by the literal meaning of "last stage", it connotes the concluding phase of any process. However, the reality on ground reflects an antithetical view. There are absolutely no indicators of any end to the violent happenings in Kashmir. The state continues to be on edge even after the announcement of unilateral ceasefire. Several infiltration bids at LoC; Killings of militants, army men and civilians in firing incidents along the border; Numerous grenade attacks across the valley, injuring dozens of civilians and security forces; nonstop lethal clashes and stone-pelting cases; and, astonishingly, rising incidents of suicide attempts by security personnel during the last few months—the "last stage" is nowhere in sight. There is only death and doom prevailing. Amidst this, putting up the number of deaths to the point where they are framed as 'peaceful projections' or 'statistical predictions' for something quite nonexistent and conjectural amounts to bizarre de-humanization.
Against this backdrop, New Delhi's 5Cs approach towards Kashmir, as proclaimed by Union Home Minister in his presser at the end of his two-day visit to the state, comes as a sardonic parody of its painstakingly 'reconstructed narrative' on Kashmir. Compassion after neutralizing 600 militants; Communication through willingness to dialogue after four years of rant and rave coupled with unilateral ceasefire following huge surge in militancy; Co-existence through fatal restrain of civilian protests; Confidence-building by not budging an inch about draconian laws and use of pellets; and Consistency in negating the political nature of Kashmir dispute since day one—the whole discourse smacks of classical Orwellian doublespeak!
The statements and speculations made over Kashmir land are nothing but a part of wantonly wrecked escapades. Of politicians and players. Reiterating claptrap. With an alienating shrillness. Utterly and unrealistically. And, for all intents and purposes, striving to narrow down the count of causalities in State to only those whose deaths can be conclusively proven through the cloud of combat, and in doing so, risk misrepresentation and manipulation of 'others' by a substantial margin.
The reality remains that Kashmir is going through the worst stage of its turbulence. The agonizing grief surrounded by uncertain living is so dense that the strategic choices of rhetoric emerge plausible because of the situations structured by politicians and players in a way that their preferred outcomes are more likely to occur. This is the nastiest stage of all that ever happened in Kashmir!
Bottomline: As long as the body bags, uniformed or otherwise, and worst politicking over them overshadows the Kashmir discourse, the stories of tyranny and torture will get replicated on daily basis. Fighting the falsehood would take much more time than a one-time decision. It would mean to choose to fight again and again till the collective level of bereavement becomes greater than our national pride to make true healing happen. The two seem interlocked possibilities. But they also contain the propensity to herald of something very horrendous. Paradoxically.