Let me first quote some lines of Charles Dickinson from his book “The Tale Of Two Cities”:
It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair…
Kashmir is generally regarded as paradise on earth. Bestowed with natural beauty, babbling brooks, snow-clad mountains, rippling lakes and serpentine rivers, Kashmir has everything in store to offer a delicious treat to the visitors. Friendliness and hospitality of people adds to the beauty overall.
Lakhs of tourists visit Kashmir every year. Kashmir is also known as Switzerland of Asia, that for obvious reasons. Places like Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Verinag, Kokernag etc are a treat to aching hearts and a therapy to the psychological disorders. Outsiders find solace in this part of the world. But this trend has changed now, changed for the worst.
Not going into the details of when the gun emerged in the state and became a rallying cry, for that’s known to one and all. Since 90’s Kashmir has undergone a rapid change. In place of lakes and rivers, blood flows. In place of spring, the winter of death has engulfed the state. Thousands lost their lives, hundreds were widowed, as many houses destroyed and what not. Though militancy lost its ground in Kashmir, and Kashmir was limping back to apparent normalcy, but in 2010 a moustached boy emerged from nowhere, whom we today know as Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
Burhan used social media as his weapon to fight the virtual war. Burhan’s chief motive, as evident from his videos, was to drive out Indian forces from Kashmir, without causing least harm to the J&K Police. And that’s why over time he gained a cult status among the people of Kashmir. Later, when he was killed in a fierce encounter in Anantnag district, a new wave of protests began which lasted for 6 months. This wave left nearly one hundred people dead, two or three hundreds visually impaired, and over fifteen thousand injured. Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister of the state, said that Burhan will recruit more youth from his grave than he would have ever done being alive. To utter surprise, his words are proving true every day.
Following in the footsteps of Burhan, Hizbul Mujahideen made it clear to the state police that they should do their duty in police stations and not impede or became a hindrance in their way. According to Hizbul Mujahideen, as is told in the videos that surfaced on the internet, the police is involved in beating and harassment of youth, thrashing the family members of militants, and loot and plunder of houses. This only worsened the matter and led to a new fight between Kashmir Police and militants.
Today the very tactics of this guerilla warfare have changed. Hizb accuses Police forces for being on the forefront of every encounter, slapping PSAs, ransacking houses, torturing inmates and what not. Also the militants on the other hand, after issuing many warnings, have now resorted to the same tactics as followed by police forces. Now the war is not with Indian forces but with the state police.
Recently, after arresting the father of a top Hizb Commander, the state police faced some heat. In response to that arrest, militants picked up at least seven family members of police officials, recording their videos, and later released them on the condition that if anything happens to the family of militants they won’t be spared too. Yesterday three SPOs were shot dead by alleged militants in Shopian district. What was the cause for which they paid a huge price remains a mystery. As a backlash to this incident, at least six SPOs resigned from their jobs chiefly because of family pressure and a threat to life.
This is a worrying trend. Where are we heading as a society? This marks a new low in our society. Intimidation of families of militants, ransacking of houses, torturing of youth by forces needs condemnation from every corner of society, but at the same time abduction, intimidation of families of state police, and killing of SPOs cannot be simply overlooked. As a civil society, we need to condemn such acts and voice our opinions. Otherwise, it will only show our hypocrisy to the world.
The writer is currently pursuing his +2 from Aligarh Muslim University, India.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.