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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Army On Srinagar Streets : Will It Be Effective?

Team Being Cynical
One great gentleman not long back suggested - Want to earn some real quick bucks in business? Head towards Kashmir. According to him there are in fact industries of stone manufacturing going on for some time. There are companies who either make or steal stones from the railway tracks, polish them so that it becomes handy. There are another set of companies which take the pain of transporting them to their customers (like the PDP or Huriyaat) on demand and of course there are these last set of young stars who are paid stone wise (the number they throw at the security forces multiplied by some x amount) for pelting them. It is good money and I can choose either of the three industries to invest my dough- Manufacturing, Transporting or Consultancy sort of job of providing manpower to hurl those stones, he added.

If the gentleman is delivering even one percent fact then no wonder why Omar Abdullah carries a perpetual sorry face (more expressive than Alok Nath) without any credible help or suggestion coming from anywhere. Even the senior Abdullah is more busy in Delhi and with his membership with IPL, leaving the kid Abdullah turning a cry baby quicker than any Saazish can erupt in those Ekta Kapoor serials. Our able
CRPF and state police did what they best could do while the Abdullahs, the Mufties and the Lones did what they are best capable at - blaming each other and at times even bringing the Pakistani hand into the mess. The result of all these acrobatics did manage to kill 14 people in as many days. The Army was finally brought in yesterday looking at the sorry face of Kid Abdullah and grim situation in the valley which turning grimmer by hours.

Honestly I have got mix feelings on the news of Army being brought in to control the situation. Kid Abdullah can make his face more sorrier but the whole idea of Army back on Srinagar streets after a decade could just misfire or worse can backfire.

Traditionally Kashmiries feel alienated- thanks to our policies and our politician's attitude to keep the Kashmir topic alive for their own gain. If you look at the video footage, it is really disturbing to see teenagers barely in their twenties are hurling stones at the security forces. On a micro analysis you would realize that these are the same guys who would have born when Kashmir was at peak of it's boiling point and their whole life till now has gone through violence, atrocities, negligence, no governance and of course the terrorists. The volatile anger these chaps might be storing in their hearts for quite sometime just needs jokers and hawks of the likes of Huriyaat leaders and Mehbooba Mufti to catch fire in a catastrophic way. And that what exactly happened. I am sure the majority of these teenagers who are seen protesting violently might not be knowing for what they are protesting or on whom they are pelting stones.

Last year around this time when I was there in Srinagar on my way back from the Amarnath Yatra, it felt really refreshing seeing Daal lake at it's
picturous best as shown in Kashmir Ki Kali. The lake full with rowing tourists and smiles somewhat back on the faces of those House Boat owners. For a change me and my wife decided to stay in one such boat where I got a chance to realize the first hand agony of a Kashmiri- the boat owner. The story of the gentleman stretches to the time of 1980 when he had to sell off his property to build this house boat to earn a living. No sooner the boat was on the water and operational, all hell went wrong with the first instance of cross border terrorism. Within months Kashmir was dried of the tourists and Srinagar streets being marched by Kalashnikov wielding individuals- either the security forces or the terrorists. Without any tourists or any other source of living in hand the gentleman at one point was in the verge of starvation and the irony was there were none to purchase his house boat even if he wanted to sell it off. I am not going to the details of his other hardships and how he just managed to brush aside death on close ranges on few occasions. But trust me the smile that was back on his face is worth a million.

Now, won't the re-entry of Army would wipe out that smile from his face? Does anyone can guarantee that the Army presence is just for a small period? Does anyone believe the Army could effectively trash away the stone
pelters without resulting in more deaths? Even if the answer to the first question is definitely a 'YES', I am skeptical on the other two questions.

Doesn't the then government assured the Army presence would be for minimal days when they first were brought in early 1980? But what resulted is for all to see. They were kept there for twenty years throwing the general populace of Kashmir out of gear and thanks to our bad government policies which created enough mess and deaths in those twenty years which would at least take three generations to clean up. We are cleaning it for last 20 years and let me assure you it is far from being over. To be assured of the effectiveness, you don't need a better example than Israeli Army. They are trying to neutralize the stone
pelters on the Gaza street for last couple of decades and I would be optimistic if I say, they have managed to curb down 5% of the nefarious elements. So how effective our Army would be is any one's guess.

So why this fuss Kid Abdullah and Mr. Chidambaram? Rather than bringing the Army to the streets which is not their job, can't you guys just drag out all the hawks and separatists from their habitats and punish them with utmost sincerity? Army can temporarily diffuse the tension but for long term stuff we need all the trouble makers to be brought to the book. As in there is no short term solution to Kashmir but only long term as 30 years is definitely not a time which you can call sort.

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