Pardeep Singh Bali
It would not be perhaps wrong to say that the political uncertainties in Jammu and Kashmir have resulted into prolonged unrest in Kashmir Valley, which was triggered after the death of Hizbul Commander-Burhan Wani.
It has been a month since the current unrest began in the Kashmir Valley, shattering years of relative stability in a state, but the coalition government did not do anything concrete to fizzle down this dissent.
“The coalition government, at the first instance, is altogether divided regionally. The BJP, at large, did not do anything to bring peace but issued statements, which were too controversial and partial,” said political observer- Gautam Singh, adding that the BJP subtly, ‘for the sake of commenting’ issued such statements which were ambiguous and anti party.
Similarly, the ruling PDP led by Mehbooba Mufti failed to take any strict action in the initial hours of the violence. “Chief Minister retrieved her conscious after four days of extreme violence on the roads. At least half dozen deaths and damage to property crores, CM realized the need of curfew,” said observer, adding “Being amateur, Mehbooba had not expected this unprecedented violence on the death of a terrorist, so all this was shocker for the first woman chief minister.”
On July 8, when security forces gunned down Wani, nobody imagined that the turmoil triggered by his killing would be so widespread and extend this long.
But exactly a month since, the valley remains on the edge. The pro-freedom demonstrations and clashes between protesters and security forces have become routine. Over 56 persons have died and more than 5,000 have been injured — many are still in hospitals.
The valley is seething with anger, with many terming it as a “new phase of freedom struggle” and a “now-or-never” situation.
The valley has suffered huge losses with businesses, schools and offices shut amid continuous curfew by the government and shutdown by separatists.
The protests erupted spontaneously after the killing of Wani — a 22-year-old social media-savvy Hizbul Mujahideen commander — who had a huge following among younger Kashmiris. Tens of thousands of mourners, who later turned violent with stone-throwing, rallied across the valley.
Wani was not the first militant commander killed by security forces in Kashmir. In fact, he is considered no match for early armed militants like Ishfaq Majid, the founder of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, and others, killed in the early years of militancy that began in the late 1980s.
Besides the killing of terrorist, what more catalyzed Kashmiri youth was the coalition. “The people in Kashmir are unhappy with the decision of the PDP to make government with the BJP and this outburst is the simmering discontent,” said observer, adding even among politicians the “unnatural ruling alliance” of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remained larger reason for this unrest.
“The PDP brought the BJP and RSS (Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh) to rule a state where they could only dream of getting a foothold. Now they are ruling us,” said observer.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP had also promised to initiate a dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris to resolve the 70-year-old territorial dispute stemming from the India-Pakistan partition in 1947. But the BJP has been continuously ruling out any possibility of talking to Kashmiri separatist leaders or even to Pakistan.
In the last 31 days, over 56 people died and many got injured, including security forces. All sections of the society castigated use of pellets, even high court and Supreme Court asked the state as well as central government to respond on the use of force. Indian parliament had series of discussion on Kashmir situation, but at the ground level nothing changed.