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Peace amid hard posturing

[ March 09, 2017 ]

Days after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat threatened to treat protesters as collaborators of militants merely for the fault of protesting against the harassment of civilians near encounter sites Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti told a well attended public rally in Ganderbal “Give me peace , I will resolve Kashmir”.

Before advising people to work for peace the Chief Minister should have conveyed her objections to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat over his remark on dealing with the civilians for protesting against the harassment of civilians at the encounter sites. The time when Chief Minister told people to work for peace to let her government work on Kashmir resolution the people in Tral area of South Kashmir were observing a shutdown to mourn the death of two militants. Since both Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and leader of the main opposition National Conference Omar have been equally demanding the resolution of Kashmir issue politically but not militarily the Chief Minister should not have remained silent over the army chief’s remark on dealing with protesters. If peace is to be given a chance in Kashmir the government has to give space to the dissenting voices and allow peaceful protests in Kashmir. Once the government takes some steps to create congenial atmosphere, the people will consequently respond to the reconciliatory measures of the government. Unfortunately the pellets are still used as crowd control weapons to foil the violent protests in the aftermath of encounters and militant attacks. Though the recently retired CRPF Director General has talked about the replacement of pellets by modified pellet guns which according to him would lessen the possibilities of blinding the protesters but the warning to protesters by army chief has not only angered the people but also the politicians of all hues including opposition mainstream and separatist leaders of the state.

To facilitate the return of peace, the Chief Minister instead of delivering sermons on peace in public rallies has to seek the intervention of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister for restraint in crows control policing and anti-militancy operations. Unless and until the Chief Minister does not facilitate the intervention of the Prime Minister and Home Minister on the accountability of the army and the paramilitary forces in both crowd control policing and anti-militancy operations, the change on ground in Kashmir won’t bring the Mehbooba led PDP-BJP government any where close to peace in Kashmir. So nothing would change the situation on ground in Kashmir till the time Chief Minister does not show seriousness in facilitating the intervention of the central government on matters relating to internal security in the state.