Bilal Bashir Bhat
Srinagar, Aug 06: Excessive military presence in public spaces, a rigid approach adopted by the ruling power in India and, most importantly, the grave human rights violations in the aftermath of the death of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani have increased home-grown militancy among the Kashmiri population.
Educated youth having picked up arms to fight for a cause, lack genuine training and are these days giving a tough time to the highly equipped government forces. Although, the situation exhibits that the current situation in Kashmir is similar to an armed struggle, it can never be compared to the insurgency of the 90s. The popular local support, the seed sown by Burhan Wani and the unrest after his death have motivated the educated youth towards militancy.
They feel that the government of India does not care about their pain and suffering due to the lingering Kashmir issue. In such circumstances, declaring militancy because of lack of economic opportunities and frustration due to high unemployment is contradictory to their demands.
The lack of political space among the youth is also considered as the major reason to force them to join the militancy. The policy ‘to punish Peter for the crimes of Paul’ need to put an end. As a journalist I found many joined the armed ranks because they were being harassed unnecessarily just because their relative and friend had joined the ranks.
Before the 2016 unrest, the Indian army under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) used to cordon off the whole area or village for an encounter with armed militants. After Burhan Wani’s killing, the whole scenario has changed. Now, the local populace come out on the streets during search operations and starts throwing stones to help the militants escape. Many civilians have lost their lives and a large number of people have been maimed. With such obstructions the army has, on several occasions, called off the search operations.
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 New Delhi has to shun its stubbornness and initiate a process by taking concrete and honest steps for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. (KNB)