Gunfights, abductions, houses torched, is it normalcy?


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It would be naive to say that the situation in Kashmir is peaceful today.

Over 11 relatives of policemen have been abducted by the militants in South Kashmir in last 24 hours, and the police is yet to trace anyone. This tells what is the situation in Kashmir. The development has come as a reaction to the police and army action against the militants’ families – as in the recent months government forces have vandalized homes of militants and thrashed or detained their family members.

Two days ago, families of two militants alleged that the forces set their houses on fire. It was only because their sons are militants. The incident happened in South Kashmir’s Shopian district, after four policemen had been killed by militants. It seems the conflict in Kashmir has turned into Newton’s law of to every action there is equal and opposite reaction.

The war in Kashmir has turned personal. No doubt a few days ago the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo had warned police not to attack their families, calling it “a clear sign of frustration.” But later his father was detained. Immediately after that militants within hours went on to abduct sons and brothers of policemen, including many officers.

Whether there is Governor rule or an elected government, Kashmir remains brewing with conflict. There has been no change in the ground situation, that has slipped to a level where policemen are told not to visit their homes. Politicians from South Kashmir have been away from their homes for months now. Among them the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leaders are finding it hard to look into the eye of people of their once upon bastion – South.

According to the official data till July 31, around 131 youths have joined various militant outfits, with South Kashmir’s Shopian district contributing the maximum of 35 so far. The number of local recruits last year was 126 only. The officials also said that many youngsters are joining the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group that claims support of Al-Qaeda and is headed by Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa, whose popularity has also grown.

In such a charged political atmosphere, the on going abductions, harassment of militants’ families, arrests, killings of political workers or policemen and the continuous killings of militants only unearths the perception of peace that is being build by New Delhi. Without any solid dialogue and initiatives of engagement Kashmir will not see the day of peace, and Kashmiris will continue dying, whosoever pulls the trigger.

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