New Year New Hopes

Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed yet another year with memories of death and destruction. The perpetual conflict inflicted severe damage in terms of loss of life and property in the Muslim majority Kashmir. The regional division of Kashmir is more Stark in this case. South Kashmir is emerging as continuum of most unstable regions in whole country. The continuous use of strikes by security forces under operation all out cover has wreaked havoc especially in case of civilian damage. This year (2018) proved too worse as it subverted whole narrative of previous decade and leads in causality card of Kashmir. The year 2018 turned out to be the bloodiest years in over a decade, figures released by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) as 587 incidents took place in which 238 militants were killed while as forces too sustained a major jolt as 86 forces personnel and 37 persons were killed.“Forces launched concerted anti-militancy operations resulting in significant gains. 238 militants were killed in as many as 587 incidents while 86 security forces personnel were martyred and 37 civilians killed this year as on December 2, 2018,” the report released by the MHA stated, a copy of which is available with the KNO. But the report card of latest civilian killings is horrific among whole statistics. The unusual narrative of correlated civilian causalities with incidences of militancy related operation is evolving as novice web series. The killing of seven civilians in Pulwama after security forces opened fire at protesters accused of helping trapped militants is yet another witness of failure of muscular policy to tackle the originally political dispute. Can mindset change in near future? Can new year put a break on series of killings? Can the MHA report mention no civilian killing for New year ?

The state is reeling under political mistake of unsettled boundaries in 1947. The proxies and counter narrative has taken the lives and comfort of teeming millions from thereon.  On the one hand India claims integral part while as the Pakistan is engaged in muscular policy of fire and furry. This topsy turvy approach created the atmosphere where the innocent civilians are killed, maimed, injured etc oft repeatedly. The spare of post Burhan habitual incidences where number of civilian causalities happen in the pre and post militancy operation of security forces. The bleak incidents in the preceding year were far more than past decade. The reason is known to everyone in and around the globe. The consequences of the political mistake committed by Britain  at the time of Indias independence is sown dragon teeth biting innocent kashmiris every day in and day out. The armed struggle wage in later 90’s is the manifestation of this arrogance by subsequent central governments to not accord due respect to UNSC’s back to back resolutions. This struggle intensified in 90’s decade and took thousands of innocent civilians. The recent year on year protest periods with severe human rights violations is new story. The killings spree started right from 80’s seems unstoppable. There’s a steep rise in the domestic support for militancy on one hand and the two countries seems uninterested to solve the dispute amicably. The insistence on certain principles from either side are unworthy of the mechanism to solve the internationally recognised dispute. Presently the after the appointment of novice government under the charge of Imran Khan in Pakistan and incumbency stage of PM Modi led government isn’t ripe for the resumption of dialogue in near future. However the dialogue in the past has successfully proved to be a spoon full of optimistic solutions. The question nowadays in the larger parlance is “ Is there any possibility of resumption of dialogue in foreseeable future?

What lies ahead of us in new year? Is it despair, gloominess, wait for more and more civilian causalities, more shutdowns, more CASOs , more educated youth joining rebel ranks , more harassments , more internet shutdowns and stuff like that? These things have become part and parcel of every kashmiri. The most talented intellectual cadre also feels despair due to continuous onslaught on internet and stability of state. It seems Human rights are a phobia in vain for citizens. Everywhere you go especially in South ,you are supposed to clarify at intermittent stages prying of security forces for various maters. The new strategy of night raids to pick local youth and charge them for militancy related issues has made the life of community miserable. The locals feel displeasure when sun starts to set due to fear of security forces who at times don’t hesitate to ransack property of worth lakhs.  All these events on ground have evolved horrible atmosphere for civilians who live in constant fear and suppression. The innovative strategy of pellet guns couldn’t stay away to take the lustre of even teenager Hiba Jan. While as the solution as per Army commander Northern corps lies in political process in perpetuity but the process ipso facto is in limbo. There’s a complete paralysis on dialogue front but the intensity of conflicts can be staved off due to some shorterm measures. Can state adopt such tactic ? Can killings of innocent civilians from either side be averted? Can SOP be implemented in letter and spirit ? Can highly educated cadre be persuaded not to join militancy?

The novice year adopted a rather unhealthy atmosphere with security forces involved in intensive operation albeit mammoth civilian causalities. There are possible predictions for unhealthy atmosphere for dialogue between India and Pakistan before Indian general elections due to domestic compulsions. Therefore the shortest possible route that new year is expected to adopt could be so called Standard Operating Procedure.  The statement of justifying security forces action to Wade the protesters from encounter site is nothing but fools logic. There can be various means as adopted in other areas of country like tear gas shelling, water cannons , counter stone pelting, or if firing that too to prevent the loss of life i.e below abdomen etc.  General clemency for all those behind bars for petty cases of stone pelting if not of grave nature. The ways and means for involving educated youth into development of state rather than adopting repressive measures as in Manan wani’s case and Burhan Wani’s case. The confidence building measures to enquire illegal action of forces shall be strictly adopted and if any illogical ground is proved required action be taken to regain confidence of people. The strict code of conduct for security forces is in dire need to prevent the harassments at daily basis. However all these things can’t change the status of dispute but can bring insight of peaceable atmosphere for local people which are urgent need of hour. The worrying trend of reaching encounter sites without caring for one’s life is dangerous narrative. The political dialogue is sole panacea for novice hope entrusted in leadership. This needs commitment, smart leadership, domestic support, international pressure etc. All these factors seem elusive by far. Thus the New Year could only made us to hope but couldn’t guarantee a better future. Let’s hope to get some bolt from blue.