Two More Killings

TWO more people, including a police officer, were shot dead by militants in Srinagar in continuation to a series of targeted attacks in the recent past. On Monday evening, Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, a resident of Astengo in Bandipora district, was fired near a grocery shop in Bohri Kadal area of downtown Srinagar. Earlier on Sunday evening Tauseef Ahmad, a police official, was killed outside his home in the Batamaloo neighborhood.

The targeted killings began more conspicuously on October 6 when the suspected militants killed prominent businessman Makhan Lal Bindroo. On the same day, a Hindu Bihari street vendor was also shot dead in downtown Srinagar. And the following day a Kashmiri Pandit school teacher and a Sikh woman principal were also killed. Days after, a Hindu and a Muslim Bihari street vendors were gunned down across the Valley followed after a week by the killing of two more Hindu Bihari labourers in South Kashmir.

This is when a tipping point was reached triggering the flight of the laborers. Ever since hundreds of migrant workers have started leaving the Valley, making it the second exodus of its nature in the last three decades of the political turmoil that has so far led to the loss of over 70,000 lives.

The two persons killed now belong to the majority community. But unfortunately, the killings of this nature don’t generate much outrage outside Kashmir where it is largely the minority killings that get noticed. In fact, selective outrages have been an invariable feature of the tragedy of Kashmir. And there is hardly any section of the population who can claim a moral high ground. Even those who bemoan selective outrage are often themselves guilty of it. The killing of civilians has been the single-most agonizing feature of the life in Valley over the past so many years. It is  not unusual for the security personnel to fire at protesting youth and get away with it as it is for the militants to do so. Over the last month, two civilians who allegedly jumped a checkpoint were shot dead by the security personnel. There is no introspection as to why it is that jumping a checkpoint, if at all, it is true, needs to be responded with bullets

The parties might condemn, they might wring their hands, but it hardly generates a deep sense of outrage over the state of affairs. Beyond a day or two after the incident, the state of affairs returns to normal. No action follows. In Kashmir, like always it is the exception that passes off as normal. The standards that are duly followed in the rest of the country are only observed in breach in the Valley. 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.

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