The killing of seven more civilians during the encounter at Pulwama has once again underlined the continuing grim fallout of the state of impunity prevailing in the state. Three days after the killings, the situation has returned to normal. Hartal has once again served as a ritual tribute to the deceased. And at the end of it, the Valley has returned to its uneasy routine, waiting for more tragedies to relegate the massacre into oblivion. This is an endless cycle and in this, the killed men and women are soon forgotten and taken over by the mourning and a hartal for the fresh deaths. In the process old guilts and griefs are taken over by the new ones. These killings do not make an international or even a national headline which a single death in other conflicts spots like Palestine does. No matter the scale of atrocity in Kashmir, it means 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 nobody seems to care.
State government, on the other hand, non-chalantly puts the killings down to the law and order problem. The killings of seven civilians has once again underlined, that the government response to public protests has changed but little in Kashmir. Firing remains the preferred recourse for the administration even if the mob to be controlled does not exceed more than a few scores of youth.
Worse, the government blames the killings on the victims themselves as they were throwing stones at the security personnel. But the truth is contrary to this. The recurrent public protests near the encounter sites are the manifestation of a much larger and a long-festering political problem in the state. While it is nobodys case to expect the state government to take steps to resolve the problem as this is far beyond its remit, this realization needs to inform and nuance its response to the deteriorating security situation in the state.
But it is absurd to expect anything different from the government. Having resolved to address Kashmir through a hard-fist approach, killings come easy to it and also without any accountability, neither institutional nor political. Let alone condemnation and outrage the massacre didn’t generate any empathy from either the politicians or the civil society in the country. This is such a dreadful state of affairs. Far from leading to forced peace, killings are only further fanning the alienation and anger on the ground. And militancy which is sought to be wiped out is only getting stronger by the day. And this endless war of attrition is likely to continue until the need for a true resolution of the festering issue in the state dawns on the powers that be in New Delhi and Islamabad.
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