Bilal Bashir Bhat
With the arrival of New Year 2018, the unabated bloodshed has come to haunt Kashmir once again with only in first ten of January some 11 persons were killed in Valley which including 4 policemen, 3 local militants and two civilians. Interestingly, the bloodbath in Kashmir is amid when the state Chief Minister is hitting the headlines for his pro-dialogue statements.
Though the 2017 ended with a bang after militants carried a Fidayeen attack at Lethpora camp resulting the killing of eight persons, however, at the beginning of 2018, when whole of the world was making certain resolutions, the downtrodden people of Kashmir cutting across the political ideologies were focusing, praying for long lasting peace and prosperity. The annual gory statistics based on annihilation, pain, tragedies, anger, suffocation and fear psychosis has become a routine and now it seems to remain continue in 2018 if the sincere measures to end the bloodshed not taken.
On Jan 03, 25 year old Arif civilian identified as Asif Sofi was killed by unknown gunmen in Sopore North Kashmir.
On Jan 06, four local policemen were killed after militants detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Gole market area of Sopore of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district amid shutdown in the area. Militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility.
Jan 08, Three militants among two foreigners were killed in an encounter with government forces in Chadoora area.
Jan 09, A militant was killed in an encounter at Kokernag area of South Kashmir. Besides, a civilian also fell to the bullets on the same day.
The death cycle of 2008, 2010, 2016 summer agitations has had own impacts on the psyche of Kashmir and in 2017 death cycle was unabated with no end in sight even in the year 2018.
The bloodbath in Kashmir is taking place at a time when the state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is hitting the headlines for his pro-dialogue statements in day in and day out.
“Amicable and friendly relationship between the India and Pakistan has a positive bearing on the situation in the State which has seen enough of bloodshed during the last three decades or so. Violence has inflicted only miseries upon the people and the State needed to be got out of this vicious cycle. This was the main objective to stitch the alliance for Government formation in the State and her Government would continue to pursue this goal with all seriousness.” Mehbooba said on 7th January on his father’s anniversary.
Besides Mehbooba Mufti, the visiting Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday stressed upon government for peaceful resolution of issues rather than acrimony or discord.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy that on one hand the subservient partner of the authoritarian ruling regime, the PDP sermonises and uses sugar coated terms of “dialogue” “reconciliation” and “mutual trust building among stakeholders” for the resolution of Kashmir dispute and on the other hand it deals with an iron fist caging banning barring & gagging every voice of dissent and disagreement,” tweets Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while commenting on the CM’s statement regarding the dialogue.
Advocate Yasir Dalaal, a young political analyst, while talking to this writer said, “At large Kashmiri race is being killed .The two big powers India and Pakistan are pitting us against one another as they are shying away from solving the issue of Kashmiris. We cannot change our ethnicity and realities and it is the responsibility of civil societies of both countries to impress upon their respective governments to solve the Kashmir issue to end this humongous pain of the people of Kashmir. The start of the year with bloodshed is a bad omen for all of sane voices in Kashmir.”
Apart from the bloodbath, highly qualified youth in Kashmir are continue to join the armed struggle this time, a PHD scholar from Aligarh Muslim University’s Geology Department, Manan Bashir Wani, hailing from Tekipora Kupwara joined the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit. Though the extreme decision of Manan to join militant ranks shocks Kashmir but government rather taking lessons from the past experiences remain limited to only statements.
Although the Center appointed interlocutor for ‘dialogue process’ but yet it failed to make political impact in Kashmir rather meeting the people who had some day to day apolitical grievances.
Undoubtedly, there is much support to the militants in Kashmir by the local people, but the fact is that youngsters mostly get killed within a period of a month or two after joining militancy. Every encounter ends on a bitter note. Sometimes, civilians also fall to the bullets from the forces. Militant, innocent, policeman or even army at the end of the day, is made up by humans who lose their precious lives. To end the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir, the ruling party has to shun its stubbornness and initiate a process by taking concrete and honest steps for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
The writer is a Kashmir based journalist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org