J K News Commentary
Kashmir has transformed . Since August 5, when the Centre had revoked special status of Jammu and Kashmir and announced the state’s bifurcation into two union territories- one each for Ladakh , and the rest of Jammu and Kashmir.
There is a significant decline in the terrorism-related violence , almost negligible incidents of stone throwing and the recruitment of local youth into militant ranks is zero. It has to be appreciated against the backdrop of what was happening in the Valley prior to August 5- unprecedented level of unrest , demonstrated through stone throwing almost in all parts of the Valley, particularly south Kashmir. More worrying was the aspect of the local youth, some of them highly educated, and hailing from well to do families , picking up guns as the only mode to vent their anger and achieve “ freedom.” That was an illusive goal, but the level of misinformation and radicalization was so overpowering that they could not think reasonably.
A cap had to be put on this ill-motivation . But the ways were not available . The experiments were being undertaken in plenty to tame the violence, and more than that the mindset of violence being the only way to come out of the morass in which they found themselves.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Kashmiri youth had become a tool in the hands of the exploiters. There were channels of disinformation and disaffection working overtime to pollute their minds . Their attraction toward the gun culture was a net result of so many things happening around them. The political environment was inclined toward corruption , patronage and discrimination. That was one part. Second , was more poisonous , they were being shown the unrealizable dreams and political goals were being shown as their final destination . Not only the separatists , but also the so-called mainstream leaders had joined hands in provoking the youth to pick guns . This atmosphere of gun violence , had another version, too. A substitute of guns was offered in stones. The stone throwing was deemed as an act of bravery and sacrifice as much as engaging in gun fights.
Stone throwing served better purpose for the exploiters. Guns and stones were distinguished , as if the guns alone were lethal . the stones were more deadly. The gun fight had its limited area where militants would fight with security forces . Contrary to that , stone throwing could stretch up to streets after streets, villages after villages. It could intervene in the military offensive against the militants, and also cause deaths and injuries to soldiers and civilians alike . Stone throwing mobs had perfected the art of capturing streets and brining in all signs of anarchy . It was becoming difficult to handle that challenge .
Now, all this has fallen silent. Streets are free of stone throwing, people are going about their routine work. There are no disruptions in normal life . It is the net result of the revocation of the special status under Article 370 that was used as a shield to protect the violence-oriented elements.
This kind of pulling Kashmir out of the stone littered mindset is no mean achievement.