The Union Government has demonstrated a will to take a righteous and justified stand to address the sensitive situation prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir, especially so, in the Kashmir Valley.
Despite pressure from anti-national, separatist and divisive forces, security forces have launched relentless and incisive counter terrorist operations with astounding success. Since the beginning of this year, more than 100 terrorists have been killed. In the process, barbaric acts of terrorism like seen in the killing of Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz and Ayub Pundit, have been avenged. It is a matter of time before Abu Ismail, who is said to be behind the gruesome killing of innocent pilgrims of the Shri Amarnath Yatra, will also be eliminated.
One big reason behind this success is the resilience and determination being exhibited by the government of both the centre and the state in pursuit of a course, however difficult and challenging, that can usher much needed peace in the region.
While pressure is being maintained on terrorists, the government has also declined getting into fruitless talks with divisive elements like the separatists. The government has made it clear in a forum none less than the Supreme Court that it is not willing to talk to the separatists of Kashmir who demand ‘Azaadi‘ (freedom).
The statement was made by the Attorney General, Mukul Rastogi, while the apex court was hearing a petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHCBA). The petitioner wanted the centre to talk to various stakeholders and consider their opinion in connection with its plea against the use of pellet guns in the state.
The stand has been denounced by some with vested interests as a tough posture in dealing with the troubled political circumstances prevailing in the Kashmir Valley. It is, in fact, a step in the right direction and something that should have happened a long time back.
It needs to be acknowledged that the separatists have always maintained a singular agenda of laying seeds of divisiveness and dissension in Jammu and Kashmir. Fortunately, they have received success only in the Kashmir Valley and that too only to a limited degree. The rest of the state is an oasis of calm and wedded to Indian nationalism.
The separatists have been pursuing an energetic agenda of luring the youth of the Valley towards the path of terrorism. These boys have, however, outgrown their masters and become Frankenstein monsters with a radical Islamist agenda of their own.
These have forsaken their age old enlightened and syncretic Sufi culture in pursuit of a wholly alien and repressive Wahabi-Salafi form of Islam. “The objective of the ongoing militancy in Kashmir is imposition of Sharia and not creation of a new secular state.” This statement by Zakir Musa, a Kashmiri terrorist aligned with the Pakistan sponsored terrorist organization, Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM), says it all.
It has laid bare the fact that the Wahabi-Salafi ideology that the Islamic State (ISIS) aligns itself with is dominating the narrative in the Kashmir Valley. The scenario has overtaken the agenda of the separatists who have been left irrelevant due to the changing course of events.
The actions of this set of terrorists have the indiscriminate and brutal signature of the international terrorist organisation that they emulate. The cold blooded and vicious murder of a young Kashmiri Indian Army officer, Lieutenant Umar Fayaz is an indicator of the extent to which these radical forces in Kashmir can go in pursuit of their evil agenda. Kashmiri killing Kashmir is emerging as a new normal over there.
Fortunately, the numbers of such radicalised elements are small, almost miniscule. They, however, have a large presence in social media and other forms of media that is given a big boost by the Pakistani propaganda machinery.
Neutralising this threat to the common man has become an imperative for the government and it is against this backdrop that the decision to press ahead with dynamic and incisive counter terrorist operations gains credence
Demonising of the security forces for doing their job is a part of the overall plan of inimical forces to stoke the fires of dissent and disruption. The idea is to remove fear of the security forces from the minds of the people and replace it with fear of the terrorists and the goons of separatist forces.
The fact that the security forces are exercising commendable restraint and exhibiting a rare degree of humanity in the face of grave provocation is seen and appreciated by a vast majority within the Kashmir valley, the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the nation at large.
All right thinking person’s can see that the Army is carrying out determined counter terrorist operations despite the interference of stone pelting mobs. Respect to human rights is central in the conduct of these security functions. This needs to be pursued since it will reap long term benefit in the sphere of the “hearts battle.”
Very soon the security forces will, yet again, create a stable environment for the political process to be initiated. It is hoped that the government will not lose out on the opportunity this time round as it has on many occasions earlier. Some effort has to be made to obviate the nuisance value of the separatists. A dialogue when the time is right would not be a bad idea but it has to be transparent.
Media will have a large role to play in the process of political reconciliation. It can either pursue the facts or run the path of sensationalism. Presently the bias is towards the later; it can only be hoped that things will take a turn for the better.
The government would be well advised to carry on regardless on the difficult path that it has chosen. It is bound to reap good results that would usher peace and prosperity in the state.
(Jasbir Sarai is an activist of the Aam Aadmi Party)