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Summer Heat in Kashmir’s Winter


Summer Heat in 's Winter

Satwant Singh Rissam

Finally, it's winter in Kashmir. But still we are witnessing some heated actions which started in summer of 2016. The social this year in Kashmir was quite contrasting as emotions ran higher and above all. Many shades of decade old events were witnessed. Though uncertainty prevails in Kashmir since decades now but this summer everything seemed so rigid. So who do we blame this year? Surely, for some it's the government and for others it's the public who have again lent the support to this year's unrest. Now with onset of winter, various analogies are being drawn in last some days to show that unrest has ended and is settled. But ask people living in narrow lanes of Srinagar and you catch the same summer heat in Kashmir's winter.  For these people unrest is unbroken. Hurriyat though has started issuing some relaxation but that is for convenience of local people. An uneasy calm still prevails and bandh crossed fourth month which is longest ever in Kashmir. Since July this year, Kashmir has been witnessing various deaths along with uncountable injuries.

After having written few weeks back about the prevailing matter I believe that issue is still frozen and no melting point seems near. Moreover, there happened many odd instances in past some weeks which made me write again over this problem. When was the last time we heard of schools, buildings, cars and auto rickshaws being burnt in Kashmir? I am sure it takes us all decades back into our memories. Also let me remind you that this year we witnessed women pelting stones in some areas of Kashmir. The role of Kashmiri women changed drastically. This change signifies a lot if it is observed from social angle along with its social repercussion in near future. In addition to this all, did you ever hear of efforts being taken on large scale to create a sense of cohesiveness between Kashmiri militants and Sikh militants of ? If not, then we had that too in Kashmir this summer. This all appeared when Zakir Rashid Bhat successor of Burhan Wani alleged that government was planning to take action in Kashmir valley in an operation similar to ‘Operation Blue Star' in Punjab. It didn't end here; Zakir Rashid Bhat also claimed that his organization is planning to raise an exclusive group for Sikhs in their outfit. It's so terrifying to think of such motives of these anti- national elements. The Sikhs in have already suffered a lot because of militancy in Punjab and I shall never-ever want my community to go through that phase again.

The incidents this summer signified how minds of Kashmiri people are burning with anger, when we saw petrol bombs being hurled at J&K Education Minister, Nayeem Akhtar's house. Many shops and vehicles too were targeted this year in this newly adopted strategy. Situation in Kashmir this year is very threatening as with every passing day new kind of attacks has taken place. Earlier, bandh was considered a conventional mode of showing anger but rifle snatching events, one after another, this year showed traits of guerilla warfare. All of a new stratum appears to have risen this year in the society of Kashmir. This all is being supported by people who want things to be so much interlinked socially and religiously that it doesn't get easy to unwind this whole mess later. Besides this, unrest of 2016 witnessed eruption of a new colour flag in some areas of Kashmir. Did you guess it? I know you must be still thinking of green. No, this time we had red colour flags of China which were waved and cuddled by the angry young boys on Kashmir roads.

The inference to high intensity of this year's unrest can be drawn from another angle. A three ban was imposed on publication of newspapers in Kashmir to stop certain things from coming into public domain. As our country is seeing tremendous campaigns to convert India into ‘Digital India' yet Kashmir saw ban of 133 days on post paid mobile net services.  This year's overall situation made present Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to plead before centre government as well as separatists in Kashmir to give peace a chance. The opinion of Chief Minister seems to have fallen on deaf ears as both centre and separatist want their supremacy to exist. This all has proved that the agenda of development of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has failed to impress Kashmiri people. ‘Strategy of sentiment' won over the ‘agenda of development' and this fact cannot be ignored as the level of response to bandh is enormous. Modi government is more burdened because of this unrest as BJP is in an alliance in J&K with PDP. Once again, it appears Pakistan has been successful in exploiting the Kashmiri youth during unrest. On the other hand, this time central government left nothing to the imagination as all those involved were picked up in night raids across Kashmir. Nevertheless, the truth is that this picking up won't give any result as the youth in Kashmir has taken it up as their job to maintain unrest every year. At this moment as winter has set in, unrest as well as militant violence is bound to decline on similar old pattern. The state and centre government should involve all stakeholders and bring some permanent solution to this problem. All that is crucial for Kashmir issue is ‘good-intent' of all stakeholders as a replacement for ‘track-I' & ‘track II' diplomacies or will come another summer after a bitter winter.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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