Evidently, Governor’s Rule in Kashmir has so far failed to push back the tempo of militancy in the Valley which has been energised since July 2016.
The tragedy of the death of a 22-year-old Army jawan in a stone-pelting attack in Anantnag in south Kashmir last week brings out the larger tragedy of Kashmir which underlines for us that the climbing of the death toll — whether of jawans, civilians or terrorist militants, all of whom are men in the prime of their youth — has not abated with J&K being brought under Governor’s Rule after the wilful dismissal of the elected government by New Delhi.
The very basis of the dismissal of the PDP-BJP government was the dubious reasoning that then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s government couldn’t provide the conditions for the security forces and the state police to operate with maximal efficiency against terrorists, whether home-grown or foreign.
Around the same time as the unfortunate death of the jawan owing to stone-pelting, there have been shootings of security forces personnel in sniper attacks in the darkness of the night, which is suggestive of the fact that terrorists may have begun to operate — for the first time since insurgency was recorded in the Valley more than a quarter century ago — with sophisticated sniper rifles with night vision equipment mounted.
The inability to check the diabolic innovations in militant techniques, which are essentially new tactics adopted by Pakistan, has to be laid firmly at the door or the Centre. Evidently, Governor’s Rule in Kashmir has so far failed to push back the tempo of militancy in the Valley which has been energised since July 2016.
The Narendra Modi government and its RSS mentors may pretend otherwise but it is well known that the J&K police, the Army and the paramilitary forces are already doing their best in the Valley. What’s been missing is a conducive brand of politics, which can win the people over to the side of the government and disincentivise their support to the Pakistan-backed ultras.
The political situation is alarming in Kashmir today. The middle ground has all but vanished. Ordinary folk, who have no love for Pakistan (and they constitute the bulk of the people), have been silenced by governmental apathy to their concerns and through the marshalling of terrorist techniques by Pakistan’s hard-line supporters.
The situation cannot be rectified by Army Chief Bipin Rawat’s threatening statements to deploy non-conventional means against Pakistan if the latter does not stop supporting terrorism. Equally, calling stone-pelters over-ground workers of terrorists, and to be dealt as such, is unlikely to change the situation on the ground. The only way out is for the Centre to initiate genuine political moves. There are no signs of this yet.