Situation grave but Mehbooba’s options limited

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The situation in Kashmir can only be described as grave. Already 32 people have been killed and 400 injured since violence broke out three days ago. What’s worse, the situation has been worsening with the attacks by terrorist and killing of policeman. It all began with killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by the police and security forces in a joint operation.
The so-called separatists who seemed to have been itching for a clash with the government fanned anti-India, anti-government sentiments and created the present situation. There is no disputing the fact that anarchical conditions prevail in the whole Valley with government hosting lunches for civil society members and seeking their opinion for bringing an end to the violence.
Nobody can support a terrorist organisation like the Hizbul Mujahideen and if one of its commanders has been killed, it should be treated as good riddance. In fact, that is how most people in the country and even in the state view the incident. But as has been true in many incidents of its kind in the past, the separatist were able to create mayhem, not on the basis of the support they enjoy among the people but because of the fear psychosis they are able to create.
They are exploiting the long-festering feeling of alienation and victimhood. The present situation is the biggest challenge the Mehbooba Mufti government has faced since it came to power. As it claims to have support of the people, being the predominant party in the Valley, and the BJP, which enjoys a groundswell of support in the Jammu region, it should not have much difficulty in controlling the situation but up to this point, it has failed to make any visible impact.
It has failed miserably to prevent the outbreak of violence. It is still clueless about handling the separatists. Keeping some of their leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik under house arrest is not an end in itself and not a solution at all. The so-called separatists have managed to create circumstances where even ordinary Kashmiri is feeling oppressed and seeking an end of the same.
A lot more needs to be done to win the confidence of the people and ensure enduring peace. This calls for statesmanship. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should stand-up and be counted. She should allow the situation to drift. She should bear in mind that it was she who would often be seen with placards seeking justice for those killed in the 2010 mayhem. She cannot escape responsibility of being head of the state. She should not let security apparatus do whatever pleases them to control the situation across Kashmir valley.

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