Normalcy tiptoes back to Kashmir

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Predictably, experts are deeply polarized over the impact of demonetization on Kashmir. Some say it has crippled the fake currency funding of the separatists, others say stone pelting had been trending down for the past month anyway so that’s no proof of the separatists having been crippled.

Even the commentators who agree on the general absence of the serpentine queues seen outside banks in other parts of the country disagree on the reason for this. Is this because Kashmiri households are less dependent on cash and have more evolved banking habits? Or is it just a reflection of how four months of shutdown have sapped their economic energy?

Like the rest of the country the true impact of demonetization on Kashmir will also only become clear in the goodness of time. But this week while most of India has been reeling under abnormalcy – one bombshell after another about what it can or cannot do with its own monies – Kashmir has actually seen developments suggesting a grand return of normalcy.

After four months of protests, shutdowns and curfews, the Valley is beginning to report normal traffic, shopping and office attendance. Mobile internet services have been restored on post-paid numbers. School students are taking both board exams and remedial classes.

Of course there is no room whatsoever for complacency. Even as winter hardens shelling is continuing on the border. Schools are still being set ablaze. If peace sustains business will have to claw back four months of lost ground and tourism will have a especially difficult recovery. So both the state and central governments must act with utmost care and responsibility to ensure that nothing of their doing destabilizes the situation again. As the edifying cliché goes, focus on good governance.

Renuka Bisht In TOI


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