Pakistan appears to be hell bent on internationalising the Kashmir issue yet again, particularly by highlighting the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani by Indian security forces as a case of human rights violation. Unfortunately, Islamabad’s nefarious designs seem to have the tacit support of several separatist groups in the Valley, a matter which should make New Delhi wary. The happenings in the strife ridden border state have already claimed nearly 40 lives and a fresh attempt is being made to demoralise our brave soldiers, who have been doing a commendable job in safeguarding the nation’s interests. Srinagar and its surrounding areas have been witnessing high voltage tension, which is likely to escalate if quick remedial steps are not taken by the authorities. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is a partner in the coalition government, is caught in a severely embarrassing situation, with several of its supporters unhappy with the manner in which the issue has been handled. It is a certainty that the developments would have far reaching ramifications so far as the ongoing Amarnath Yatra is concerned. Some of them have already started urging senior leaders to make a push for the abrogation of Article 370, which provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP had decided to put its long standing demand for the scrapping of the controversial Article while negotiating an alliance with the PDP. However, it is inevitable that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) may put pressure on the BJP to review its decision of continuing with its association with the PDP, which has, in the past, been an extension of pro separatist elements in the Valley. What has worsened matters are statements of senior leaders like Muzaffar Hussain Baig, Lok Sabha MP from Baramullah, who has stated that Wani’s killing was not in accordance with the norms laid down by the Supreme Court and this was evident from the fact that the entire operation was over in less than three and a half minutes. What he needs to be told is that when an encounter takes place, it is not always possible to conform to laid down guidelines and those who are on the spot are better equipped to effectively deal with the confrontation. The US Seals did not take anyone’s permission nor followed any guidelines of their Apex Court or Amnesty International while tracking and eliminating the world’s most dreaded terrorist Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad some years back.
Pro-Pakistan elements within the state as well as outside are desirous of making Wani’s death as a case of extra judicial killing. This is something the governments at the Centre as well as in Jammu and Kashmir should have been prepared for. The first signal of this matter getting amplified beyond comprehension was evident from the massive crowds that took to streets following his slaying. Wani was not a mass leader, but a misguided young man who had been brainwashed by the Pakistani sponsored terror groups to take up arms. Obviously, the crowds in the valley had been mobilised through a well conceived and firmly executed strategy. Therefore, it was hardly surprising when sections of this crowd, prodded by emotion stirring propaganda by separatists, took to violence. It is here where our security forces and those who handle law and order situations should have been more careful while anticipating the fallout of Wani’s killing. Several videos being circulated on the action by police personnel indicate that most of our courageous jawans have had to deal with stone pelting by bloodthirsty youngsters, with little support from the local administration. Announcements over a public address system in the local language cautioning the protestors to retreat are apparently not being made at crucial places. The security personnel thus are pushed into situations where they have to retaliate to defend themselves. It should be mentioned here that no jawan would want to direct his rifle at his own countrymen unless the provocation is very grave and threatens to escalate into a bloodbath. The latest is that there are widespread reports regarding the youth being blinded by pellets fired by armed contingents patrolling the streets of various towns in the valley. It is being demanded that the CRPF personnel should cease to use pellets yet no one is guiding the wayward youth that they should remain indoors and not participate in the mayhem being instigated by pro Pakistani forces. The soldiers are under instructions to fire at the lower limbs and it is possible that many who have sustained pellet injuries on the face and eyes could have been hit while bending down to pick up stones to hurl at the security forces. The state government has to roll up its sleeves to quell the violence. However, contrary to doing so, leaders are making statements aimed at distancing the two political parties from the action of the security forces. Baig is not a political novice and knows how politics operates in the valley. He is also an ambitious man, who somewhere nurses the secret ambition of leading the PDP at an appropriate time in pursuance of his desire to one day be the Chief Minister. At the moment what he needs to do is to defend his party’s government and the security forces, who are seeking to bring some semblance in the state which is on a boil. The BJP, of course, is caught in a political mess of its own making. Its leaders should have realised that the two allies have diametrically opposite ideologies and thus could have only walked a short distance together. The time has perhaps come to review this arrangement with the PDP if the saffron brigade wants to continue with the vision of the Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. Kashmir is a difficult and complex matter. Between us.