What does summer hold for Kashmir?March 12th, 2011 - 12:29 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, March 12 (IANS) “Khoon ka badla June mein lenge” is a slogan doing the rounds in Kashmir Valley as developments in the Middle East fuel the imagination of separatists. But security forces, bent on bridging the trust deficit with youth, are confident that last summer’s anger has died down.
As the spring heralds the resumption of business, academic and even political activities after the over three-month-long harsh winter in Jammu and Kashmir, many are wondering if it will be another difficult summer for residents.
Fears expressed about fragile peace and tranquillity are not all misplaced. For the last two years, the state has been a witness to troubled summers that literally paralyse all normal activities of life.
In 2009 it was the Amarnath land row and last year it was the death of a student that triggered a four-month-long unrest in which over 100 people were killed in clashes between mobs and security forces.
However, most officials of the security forces and intelligence agencies do not believe violence can be repeated with mathematical accuracy in the valley.
“Yes, the separatists would always remain on the lookout for trouble so that they remain relevant. The militants would also try to instigate public outcry, but youth, who are pushed by these elements into law and order situations, have by far understood the game plans of separatists,” said a senior intelligence officer who did not want to be named.
“I don’t want to ignore the political perspective of violence in Kashmir and yet I firmly believe as long as the security forces continue bridging the gap with people, as is being done this time, it is unlikely that anything resembling last summer’s unrest can be repeated this year,” the officer told IANS.
But then there are the developments in the Middle East that some here are keenly watching.
“In Egypt, they sat at a market square and did not budge till (former president Hosni) Mubarak was removed. Similar public outburst led to same results in Tunisia. Now, whatever (Muammar) Gaddafi might do, his end is already a foregone conclusion in Libya,” said an activist of the hardline Hurriyat group led by Syed Ali Geelani.
“Kashmir has always been influenced by developments in the Islamic World,” he added.
Taking no chances, police have started a pro-active campaign of meetings with the public, besides organising exclusive interactions with youth. Such interactions have mostly focussed on stone-pelters whose names came up in intelligence reports during last summer’s unrest here.
“We have been organising regular interactions with youth, including those who were involved in stone-pelting incidents. Frank discussions are being held with these youth, who are offered counselling for vocational courses,” a senior police officer said.
“The encouraging thing is youth anger, which was seen last year, has largely melted away. More and more of them are now coming forward to share their views with us,” he added.
As the reconciliation process continues with youth, the security forces are also arresting instigators and separatists whose names surfaced during the summer unrest of 2010.
“Youth were mostly pushed into violence by these instigators. Once the trouble erupted, the death of a protester created a self-sustaining mechanism in which violence begot more of it,” said another police officer.
“This has to be closely watched. Loss of life and collateral damage to government and civilian property must be avoided during law and order situations,” he added.
The security forces are being trained in handling pepper ball guns, pump action guns, water canons, non-lethal mob control grenades for crowd control.
Given that businesses, education, social and cultural activities suffered immensely last year with no benefits for those who supported the summer unrest, the possibility of another mindless summer unrest in the valley seems remote. Yet you never know with Kashmir.
(F. Ahmed can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Money was behind Kashmir protests: Militant leader - Dec 15, 2010
- Police interact with 'stone-pelters' in Srinagar - Feb 09, 2011
- How Kashmir managed its peace - Jun 26, 2011
- Geelani demands release of prisoners before Eid - Aug 19, 2011
- Ready to deal with any trouble, says Kashmir police chief - Mar 11, 2011
- Return of the stone rage in Kashmir (2010 in Retrospect) - Dec 28, 2010
- Mirwaiz to highlight last summer's unrest in London - Jan 21, 2011
- Two killed in Kashmir firing, toll rises to 57 (Lead) - Aug 14, 2010
- BJP raps government on Amarnath Yatra decision - May 16, 2012
- Kashmir toll 98 in 100 days of unrest - Sep 18, 2010
- Two more die in Kashmir, toll 59 - Aug 17, 2010
- Spring arrives in Kashmir, bringing hopes of peace - Mar 17, 2011
- Chidambaram to visit mountainous areas near Jammu - Jan 31, 2011
- In Kashmir Valley, the agony seems unending - Sep 19, 2010
- Non-lethal methods to tackle stone-pelters in Kashmir: PM (Lead) - Feb 01, 2011
Tags: badla, doing the rounds, fragile peace, harsh winter, hosni mubarak, intelligence agencies, intelligence officer, jammu, kashmir, khoon, mathematical accuracy, political perspective, president hosni mubarak, public outburst, public outcry, resumption, security forces, separatists, srinagar, trust deficit