HootSoot official

The two sides of the Kashmir coin: Is there an end to this mindless violence?

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As we surf through our social media accounts, we are confronted with videos that depict two contrasting realities about Kashmir. One reality is of a CRPF jawan being heckled by boisterous Kashmiri youth shouting slogans, “India Go Back”. The incident was recorded in Budgam, Kashmir when the jawan was transporting an EVM machine. The soldier can be seen keeping his calm in the video. He chooses to not react. He displays exemplary patience and fortitude while dealing with this uncalled-for provocation. Social media took no time in bringing out the fact that the energies of Kashmiri youth are blatantly misguided and such actions should be retaliated with an apt, deserving response.

 

 

The storm had not even settled when another video came into the fore. A civilian can be seen tied to an Army jeep ostensibly to prevent stone-pelters from damaging the vehicle.   This again was responded to with a great deal of hue and cry from the political class, human right activists and everyone who felt that this blatant misuse of power from military was condemnable.

 

 

We are flooded with media that forces us to nurture two divergent opinions about the troubled state of Kashmir. The first one features a disoriented local population harbouring feelings of anti-nationalism and displaying a strong disregard for law and order. A democracy, its institutions mean zilch to them and they think it is fine to stomp over the state’s authority. The second facet is that of an intoxicatingly powerful Army who sees it fit to use the ordinary Kashmiri as a pawn in their struggle against the hostility they face. They have no sense of human rights violations or the decorum that come pinned along with their badges they so proudly wear on their uniforms. Whichever side you look at, you cannot escape the sheer decadence the state is entrapped in.

 

If we are to take sides in this mad tit-for-tat cycle of violence, we will end up becoming perpetrators of this endless disaster ourselves. The state is struggling for normalcy even after being in the realm of AFSPA for years. Armed Forces Special Powers Act gives special powers and privileges to the armed forces in “disturbed areas”. The special powers include arresting any person who has committed or even about to commit a cognizable offence without a warrant on even on a reasonable suspicion. That normalcy still evades the state is evidence of the fact that violence is not, and cannot be the answer. People of Kashmir are feeling alienated and this is a worrying sign for the Indian republic.

 

If you sympathize with one of these camps the two videos belong to, then you are part of the problem. Rooting with one type of violence over the other can never be the solution.

 

 

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