Kashmiri Has Become A Fair Game

If anything, the picture of the youth Qaiser Amin Bhat lying crushed under a security vehicle in downtown Srinagar once again attests to the banality of the violence in Kashmir. It is the second such case in a  month of the security personnel running over the protesters. Earlier, another security vehicle had mowed down a protesting youth Adil Ahmad Yadoo at Safakadal area of the city. And predictably enough, police has yet to trace the driver of the vehicle, in fact the vehicle itself. In its FIR, the police has written ‘unidentified vehicle and unidentified driver”. Similar fate likely awaits the new killing. Nobody would know the identity of the driver.  

Bhat’s killing touched off a protest in the area. J&K Police filed two FIRs, one against the CRPF, while the other against the stone-pelters. All this seems so predictable and familiar. This is how the cycle of death has been going on for the past three decades and how it will go on endlessly unless the conflict over the state is resolved to the satisfaction of all the parties, particularly the people of the state. Another tragedy with killings in Kashmir is that they hardly arouse a selfless, across the board outrage. At best, they arouse a selective political outrage depending on which side of the ideological fence you stand.   

The state government has been complicit in this tragic state of affairs by repeatedly failing to fix the responsibility. One could raise questions about the circumstances under which Bhat was crushed by a CRPF vehicle, but this is of little use. It would change little on the ground. Soon Bhat’s death will lapse into yet another insignificant statistic in the routinization of Kashmir violence, as did that of Yadoo.  It will do nothing to break the silence over Kashmir at local, national and international level.  

As for the killing of Bhat, it is a news and will die as a news,  spawning some local politics and some political reactions in the process. One important factor in this is the impunity for the security forces and the helplessness of the political class.  This lack of accountability, in turn, breeds a deeper sense of alienation which lends a fresh rigour and rationale to the longstanding separatist movement. The cycle will go on. A political outreach is certainly the need of the hour but the credibility which is needed for such an initiative is sorely missing in both the state and the central government. More so, in the state government which seems to have little to offer now even by way of words. And even if the words were offered, there will be no takers for them, such has been the drop in the credibility of the leaders helming it. This is such a desperate state of affairs. Here is hoping against hope that the centre understands the grimness of it and thinks of more humane and meaningful ways to address it rather than continuing with the militaristic approach.


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