The unrest going on in Kashmir has come to resemble a mobocracy more than an uprising. It’s certainly not an Intifada—as some “liberals”, the local media in Kashmir and some Kashmiri social media warriors want the rest of India to believe—when misled boys start ruling the streets, unleashing violence at will. This mob is going around storming police stations, killing policemen by drowning them in the Jhelum, snatching weapons, attacking Army garrisons, burning down schools and hurling petrol bombs, apart from routinely provoking and seriously injuring the security forces by pelting stones and other lethal objects at them. Perhaps in no other part of the country would such killer mobs be dealt with the restraint that the security forces have been asked to exercise in this case. This restraint is also one of the reasons why the trouble in the valley has continued for so long. The security forces have been sent out with chilli powder, water cannons, slingshots, rubber bullets, pellet guns and sticks, among other things. They have been asked to stand down and open fire only in extreme cases. This is akin to tying one hand behind one’s back. Not that this has stopped the so-called human rights organisations and the sympathisers of Wahhabism from painting India in the darkest possible colours. In the din over the injuries caused by the use of pellet guns, what is being overlooked is that even though over a million rounds of pellets have been fired, relatively few people have sustained serious injuries. In contrast, how many are taking into account the fact that apart from civilians, thousands of security persons too have been injured and maimed for life in this ongoing violence? Moreover, why are children in veritable battle zones for them to be injured by pellets? Their participation in such clashes shows the extent of indoctrination of tender minds that has taken place at the hands of the separatists, most of whom are fanatic Wahhabis, whose reactionary ideology permeates the current violence. These Pakistan-backed Wahhabis, who are channelling the frustration of some youth into mayhem, are in a position to melt down Kashmir’s streets, even as they keep their own children tucked away in safe zones. If they refuse to exercise that control, there is no reason why the Indian taxpayer should fund their plush and secure lifestyle. As has been reported by this newspaper earlier, in the last five years, the Jammu and Kashmir government has spent almost Rs 560 crore for the safety and security of the separatist leaders, including their stay in five-star hotels while in the national capital to attend seminars against India. It’s time to turn off that tap. Mehbooba Mufti too needs to come across as less vacillating and apologetic than she is appearing.
Solving the Kashmir problem can happen in the due course of time, but the priority now is to normalise things to an extent that the daily lives of Kashmiris are no longer disrupted. If the mobs are out on the streets, the CM has to ask her police not to be bystanders, but to control them by the use of required force. For that the state machinery need not, and will not deploy tactics such as Israel or the US, NATO or Russia or China do to control violence. There is no comparison between such situations and that of Kashmir even though many bleeding-hearts would like the world to believe otherwise.