Malik Zahra Khalid
Senior Assistant Professor,
Media Education REsearch Centre,
The current unrest has entered into fifth month with business as usual for police and protesters. Hurriyat has punctured the balloon of government that they were giving protest calendars without talking to stakeholders.
All layers of society including educationists has requested resistance leadership to continue agitation for the final
resolution of Kashmir dispute.Deep seated resistance and its visible fallout on Kashmir’s political horizon may seem unrealistic to policy makers at New Delhi.
Fact of the matter is that there is no normalcy on the streets of Kashmir even after pumping lot of iron and pellets in the local population. Each passing day is making unrest irreversible and Kashmir knot more layered. Dr Farooq Abdullah is right when he recently said that Kashmir is slipping out of the hands of union government. His analysis
is based on pure statistics. Over 20,000 people arrested, hundreds kept in police station without any warrants and FIR’s including women.
Mothers in some rural areas kept in police confinement to force their stone pelting sons to surrender. Over 18,000 injured with bullets and pellets. Insha a young girl has become symbol of visionless new generation literally and physically in Kashmir. Ninety-six people killed and unrest entered into fifth month with people giving all support to the resistance camp to continue agitation with protest calendars.
Realization is dawning in the intelligence and political set-up of union government that dialogue with Hurriyat is the only way out to break the cycle of violence and unrest in Kashmir. They have realized that it is equally important to engage Islamabad in an insulated and irreversible dialogue process which should be immune to Pathankot attacks and surgical strikes. The doctrine of A K Doval to wear out Kashmiris and to hold no talks with Srinagar and Islamabad has now few takers in the Modi government. Post- surgical strikes scenario on the borders has proved once more that eye for an eye will make both blind and take the two hostile neighbors to the path of destruction.
Dr Farooq Abdullah is undoubtedly one of the tall political leaders not only at the state but at the national level. Given his political experience his latest request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an unconditional dialogue with Hurriyat and Pakistan is apt and close to ground realities. You cannot ignore a political heavy weight like Farooq Abdullah when he argues that Kashmir is slipping out of hands.
There is no semblance of government in the rural areas of Kashmir even after five months and Mehbooba’s dispensation has failed to heal the wounds so far. Her political utterances so far have added fuel to the fire and her politicization of education has resulted in torching of three dozen schools so far.
In pursuit of showing to the central government that she has the capacity to restore normalcy without bowing to Hurriyat leadership, she along with her advisors has tried all tricks of the trade to do so. Police officers in Srinagar city were tasked to bring out vendors out on the streets, some autowalas to ply on the roads. The vendors obliged for two reasons.
One that they are the part of huge underbelly of abject poverty Srinagar is witnessing by continuous trouble and
unrest. Secondly, they were reportedly promised by police that they would be given these places where they have temporarily placed their beds, carts and kiosks. Similarly, three auto rickshawalas which were torched by stone pelters for defying the hartal call were immediately compensated by the Mehbooba Mufti with cash to buy new auto rickshaws.
The message was clear to the huge underbelly of the society that if they defy resistance programs government will come to their rescue. Even after such measures, finally Mehbooba dispensation focused on schools and examinations to hide behind them for restoring normalcy. Without caring for the quality education and for the career building
of the students, the state government doled out 50 pecent cut in the syllabus for the 10th and 12th examinations so that the participation of the students will show a visible buzz on the streets of Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir.
Past four months have proved that the real power lies with resistance leadership and it was reflected by leader
of opposition Omar Abdullah in his tweet when he said that people should request Geelani for lifting of ban on internet services instead of Mehbooba. After all what is wrong in holding unconditional dialogue with Hurriet as the Modi government has to pick the threads from the four rounds of talks already held between L K Advani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
With Pakistan they have a draft ready only to be signed by he heads of two respective countries. When the dust settles down post current unrest and surgical strikes, all the stake holders in Srinagar, New Delhi and Islamabad will feel that they have only wasted time in being hostile to each other.
(The author teaches at Media Education Research Centre University of Kashmir)