However, after a month of Guru’s hanging, Abdullah is proving to be right, at least to some extent. Kashmir, if not in flames, for sure is simmering with anger and discontent not just against Guru’s hanging but with what state government is doing with its people. The unabated curfews, restrictions, arrests, cable TV ban, Internet ban and now, of late the bullets are being fired on unarmed protesters.
After 25-year-old Tahir Ahmad Sofi was shot dead by troopers of 46 Rashtriya Rifles of Indian Army on Tuesday last in unprovoked firing at Baramulla, the situation has only exacerbated. The Kashmir Valley has been put under even stricter curfew. People are suffering immensely because of the situation arising out of this lockdown. People, especially residents of downtown Srinagar, are facing shortage of essentials and medicines. Police and paramilitary troopers on roads didn’t even spare medics and thrashed doctors for “violating” curfew. The sporadic incidents of protests in downtown and elsewhere are met by firing of pepper bombs, which are proving a dangerous health hazard for the populace, mainly children and old.
These tactics of the state government—which is only worsening the situation and pushing Kashmir into 2010-like vicious cycle of protests-killings-more protests—are no remedy at all. Confining people to their homes, choking and muzzling them will only result in more pent-up anger.
In this entire scenario, the blind eye turned by New Delhi to Kashmir is condemnable. What is New Delhi waiting for? Is it that it will intervene when a particular number of people will be killed by armed forces or when they think the situation is going out of hand?
It should intervene at an earliest and ensure that the spate of curfew and restrictions do not extend to the coming summer months. New Delhi should also pull up the state government for its inability to handle the situation time and again and ask it in no ambiguous terms to get its act right. This has become all more germane and necessary given that Omar Abdullah—who happens to be the head of the Unified Command—has expressed in the state legislative assembly at Jammu his helplessness before armed forces and to deal with the situation.
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