The past two days have come as a replay of the extraordinary situation that prevailed in Kashmir through 2016. There is thus a sense of dead-end as to the direction of Kashmir. The deaths of the local militants and the civilians have plunged Kashmir into deep sadness. But the security agencies, on the other hand, see in the killings of militants a reason to celebrate. They believe the killings of so many militants in a single day will deal a blow to the militancy. More so, when all the killed militants were local youth. And it is no doubt a setback. It won’t be easy for the militant organizations to replenish the loss. But at the same time such hopes in the past have been bitterly belied. In 2017, militants suffered their heaviest loss in seven years. According to an estimate, 218 militants lost their lives last year. But despite this, the number of militants this year remains more or less the same. Besides, a drastic reduction in the number of militants has hardly lessened the challenge of militancy. On the contrary, a constant replenishment has kept the militancy alive and kicking. And that too when Valley had no more than hundred militants a figure of 2012-13. And South Kashmir which now boasts of around 110 militants had just 15 of them. Every year, over the past ten years, the security forces have killed an average of 100 militants a year. But the militancy has still continued, replenished earlier mostly by the foreigners, now largely by the local boys. The pattern of the replenishment has only strengthened since the killing of the popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
This hero-worship has inspired more local youth to join the militancy. As a result, despite the increased killings of the gunmen, militancy has continued. In fact, the killings have so far fanned rather than deterred the militancy. In past also this ebb and flow has continued. As the history of the past thirty years shows the militancy has gone on. And it will unlikely die down as long as the conflict over Kashmir lingers. And for militancy to end India and Pakistan need to resolve Kashmir once and for all.
But this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Kashmir is too complex an issue to be resolved in a certain timeframe. So, the situation in Kashmir seems set to follow the pattern of the past three decades. And this is such a distressing prospect for the state. It means the suffering will unfortunately go on. And this war of attrition will have no end. So, rejoicing over the death of the thirteen militants and expecting it to reign in militancy is a futile hope. This, on the contrary, only gives more reason to people to resist the existing state of affairs. Yes, resolving Kashmir is a long term project but this is the end towards which all the efforts should be geared. And these efforts have to be predominantly centred around politics than a military approach which hardly yields a solution.
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