More Killings

EVER since the prominent businessman Makhan Lal Bindroo’s high-profile killing, several non-local labourers have been shot dead. The situation is turning from bad to worse and building up to something really ominous. The killings can certainly trigger yet another exodus of minorities if they don’t stop and the government is found wanting in its efforts to halt them. There is also a call from some sections of the society as well as the minority leaders that the majority community in the Valley should come out strongly against these killings. While this is understandable, this is also a fact that everyone in Kashmir, be it the majority or minority, is horrified by these killings. People and some organizations have reached out to minorities. But it is a cold comfort in the evolving dangerous situation. In the fraught place that Kashmir is threatening to become, the majority community is as helpless as the minorities. The stock condemnations will do little to make a redeeming difference.

One can’t help but be pessimistic about Kashmir. There's little hope of peace in the near to medium future. This hasn't happened over the past thirty years. And nor, if this long duration is any guide, will it in future. The militancy and the state’s response to it will go on. True, the state tackles the unfolding violence institutionally, so will not tire of it, but this unrelenting state of affairs is taking a disastrous toll on the people of the union territory, our new and the future generation - the majority, the minority and the non-locals. The most rational and effective response to the lingering turmoil is to address the factors which keep it going for decades now. But this is something that is and has been last on the minds of the ruling leadership of this country.

There is little hope for the future. As the lingering nature of the situation underlines, even the harshest use of the force has done little to address the turmoil in the former state. If things are becoming brutal in Kashmir by the day, the government has too has shown a singular lack of empathy to deal with the situation. We need such empathy now, not another round of trying to use a harsher force to create a semblance of peace. We need political outreach. We also need dialogue, not only with the people of Jammu and Kashmir but Pakistan also. A peace process that leads to some kind of an understanding between the two neighbors on Kashmir will be game-changing for the situation in the union territory. It will be great for Kashmir if India and Pakistan were to ever live as friendly neighbours. As of now, we can only pray for this elusive future.

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