Happy New Year: Nothing Changes in Kashmir

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2021 has ended on a peaceful note, more or less like 2020 had. That is if can the call the deafening silence prevailing in Kashmir as peace. Both years followed a more or less similar trajectory, starting with dire predictions of public unrest  but concluding normally. An undercurrent of unease, or a public perception of it, continued to linger. But as for the militancy, there was no change, despite the killings of around 400 militants in the last two years. The number of active militants in Kashmir hovers close to 200, the same it has been over the last six years.

The two successive years of social peace have hardly reduced the uncertainty of the situation in the new year. The predictions for 2022 can hardly be any different. Once again we stare at a year that holds the prospect of a potential turmoil. It seems unnatural not to expect it, even while the two years of so-called normalcy should have brought us around this expectation.

This brings up the question as to what is it about Kashmir that makes it compulsively abnormal, uncertain and unpredictable at the best of times. Or what is it that keeps the state precariously teetering on the edge? The answer to this is that the underpinnings of the political situation remain unchanged while narratives are tweaked here and there, sometimes invented and enforced.

This doesn't mean Kashmir hasn't changed. It has and very profoundly so after the August 2019 revocation of Article 370. The fallout of the far-reaching constitutional makeover of J&K is still playing itself out. It is difficult to see where it will end.

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Riyaz Wani

Riyaz Wani is the Political Editor at Kashmir Observer

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