In a day of unmitigated violence, six civilians lost their lives on Sunday during a clash near the site of a firefight in Kulgam in which three militants were killed. According to officials, the civilians were killed when unexploded explosives at the site went off. In another incident on the Line of Control, three soldiers and two militants were killed. A cop also lost his life in a grenade attack at Tral. Suddenly it seems yesterday once more. Civilian killings have once again become routine. .
The reaction to these killings has been predictable. Hurriyat called for the shutdown on Monday which was completely observed The state and the central governments have played down the carnage. A section of the media has similarly ignored it and tried to distract the attention from the real issue.
While these deaths may not have make an international or even a national headline which a single death in other conflicts spots like Palestine does, it is cruel to expect people not to be angry about them. And angry they are.
More than anything else, it is this anger that in the first place is responsible for the spread of unrest through the Valley. While scapegoating separatists would serve as a convenient excuse for the government under the circumstances, it doesn’t detract from the fact that the successive governments have singularly failed to protect lives. In any other state of India six killings of the youth would have made the very survival of the government impossible. But in Kashmir like always it is the exceptional that passes off as normal. The standards that are duly followed in the rest of country are only observed in breach in the Valley. Here, it is not the long oppressed people who need to be provided a healing touch but the security agencies who have been, to put it mildly, singularly unthoughtful in their response to the situation.
More tragically, the deaths in Kashmir mean little beyond the Valley. Let alone in the rest of India where the media has pretended as if nothing has happened, even around the world. This raises a larger question about the truth of the diverse unfolding realities in the world: that is, their interpreted truth and the intrinsic truth. What our world needs is more informed and evolved parameters to reflect and make sense of its bewildering complexity. Whether we like it or not, the news follows its own caste system. News about a particular issue, subject or a people is more a function of the power than the reflection of the reality.
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