Mehbooba, the bold woman of the counter narrative, is finding herself at the receiving end at the moment. She had started speaking in black and white terms on terror, turmoil and pain of Kashmir. She fearlessly identified those responsible for the trail of political, economic and social tragedies visiting Kashmir almost regularly from across the border via those who survive in the quagmire of chaos.
Protestors, who claimed to be mourning killing of Burhan Wani, have systemically attacked police stations and looted arms and other instruments. As per reports, security forces have not been able to trace the large cache of arms and ammunition, including over 60 rifles, that went missing from a police station in south Kashmir following a mob attack. Among the arms and ammunition that are still untraced are INSAS rifles, SLR rifles, AK 47 rifles, Light Machine Guns and Carbine Machine Guns. The Police Wireless Communication Code (PWCC) document, the coded language used by the department for relay of information, is also missing. Case diaries and some other records are also not traced yet.
There were funeral processions at 40 places, Hindu and Sikh houses were attacked, even the house of BJP MLA from Kulgam Ghulam Hassan Jargar was attacked. Besides government establishments and offices, 70 ambulances were burnt. Udhampur, which generally remains calm in such situations, there also pilgrims of Amarnath Yatra were attacked, which led to the suspension of the Yatra for three days. All these developments suggests that the actions were premeditated and the killing of Burhan was just an excuse to execute the plan.
In 2016 itself, more that 80 terrorists are killed by the security forces and separatists tried their best to use all funeral processions to show their strength. The reality is most of the people gathered in such events are spectators and very few actually get into violent acts.
Shockingly, the main stream parties of J&K, especially opposition National Conference (NC) too has tried to fish in the troubled water despite the fact that its leadership was aware that Buhran Wani was a terrorist. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s tweet after Burhan’s killing was more or less provocative. “Alas Burhan isn't the 1st to pick up the gun & won't be the last. @JKNC_ has always maintained that a political problem needs pol. Solution,” Mr Abdullah, who is the working president of main opposition NC, wrote on micro-blogging site twitter. Omar claimed that no militancy related incident was attributed to Burhan during his tenure as chief minister. He also said that the killing of the top HM commander means some tense days in parts of the valley.
Those, who have been observing such turmoil in Kashmir since 1990, are of the opinion that present unrest is an outcome of the deep rooted conspiracy aimed at targeting many things with stoke. Gen Hasnain who has served as the Commander of 15 Corps in Kashmir strongly stated that Pakistan’s hand is behind it, as is evident from the speed of response on ground and in the streets. Reaction of Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif only authenticates foreign hands in the on-going turmoil in the Valley.
Nawaz Sharif’s “shock” over killing of Buhran Wani and his “concern” over use of “excessive” force against civilians in Kashmir Valley has exposed that on-going violent protests in the Valley are not simple reaction of a militant commander’s killing but a bigger game-plan of some foreign agencies. Pakistan Prime Minister’s utterance is an indication that on-going turmoil in Kashmir Valley is instigated and sponsored from across the border because the protests were well planned and attack on security forces, especially of J&K Police personnel were made in a systematic manner.
After putting the whole Valley on fire through agents, Pakistan Prime Minister is now trying to add fuel by expressing “deep shock” over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who has raised armed revolt against Indian State. What is more shocking, Nawaz Sharif has dubbed dreaded terrorism Burhan Wani as “leader of Kashmir”. This clearly underlines the role Pakistan has been playing in creating Burhan’s from the valley. It is also a sign of frustration as infiltration from cross border is halted by vigilant and retaliatory actions of the armed forces.
Union information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu was right in accusing Pakistan of influencing sympathisers of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, who was killed in Kashmir, and warned it of a policy rethink on Delhi’s part. Some people, inspired by our neighbour, are trying to create disturbances. This is not going to help, the minister said.
Though such disturbances are not new to the valley, there are some factors that are added to the usual story. As Gen Dhruv Katoch, expert on terrorism related issues says, “Violence in parts of the Kashmir Valley in the form of public protests reflects a change in strategy by separatist groups. Successful Army operations against terrorists has whittled away their strength and now their strategy is shifting to shows off perceived public support by getting crowds to attend the funeral of dead terrorists. It is also an attempt by groups like the Hurriyat to regain relevance in the Valley, where they have been marginalised.” The growing radicalisation of youth in the valley has got momentum with the global trend in similar direction. Countering that has also become a challenge. Another important aspect is, it is the police in Jammu and Kashmir State that is handling the situation effectively along with the CRPF.
On the issue of dealing with the situation, Gen Katoch suggests, “the government, while dealing with the situation with a firm hand, must also reach out to the people to assuage their anger. It must also ensure accountability in the state administration, so that development funds are properly utilised and benefits trickle down to the common citizen.” General Hasnain argues that the approach has to be political and by consensus. That will ensure no diversions by anyone for political gains.
Jawahar Kaul, an eminent journalist and President of Jammu-Kashmir Study Centre insists on evolving a grand strategy to counter this trend and minimise the role of middlemen in delivery and dialogue.
It is widely believed that situation in Kashmir after gunning down of, Burhan Wani, is running a traditional script. There is sponsored upheaval, disorder and disruption. The so-called liberal media, both electronic and print, is going all out to play the separatists against the nationalists.
Newspapers being published in the Kashmir Valley, which are getting huge advertisement from State and Central government departments, are, as per norm, talking about “martyrdom of Burhan Wani,” lack of will of the central government to engage Kashmiris in talks, burgeoning local flavor of “militancy in Kashmir,” atrocities being committed by security forces, oppressive policies being followed by the government etc. The script is emotionally charged and designed to ignite a violent reaction blood-soaked streets, battered bodies and so on.
The difference is, governments both in State and Centre are on the same page in dealing with the situation. Though turmoil with stone pelting phenomenon is not new, whether this difference of state response strengthens the nationalist voices and ensures that Jammu and Kashmir join the participatory growth story of India, only time will tell.
By arrangement with the Organiser English Weekly, New Delhi