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Mainstream, VOL LX No 24, New Delhi, June 4, 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, June 4, 2022

Friday 3 June 2022


Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, June 4, 2022

For months we have seen a steady stream of targeted killings by terrorists in Kashmir. All this has been happening in the new administrative reality of direct rule by the central Government after the revocation of the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 in August 2019. We have been constantly served a standard fare ever since that of the return to normalcy in the state and Kashmir is a safer space than ever. But each death provides more evidence that the authorities’ claim of having brought normalcy in Kashmir is far from reality. The motive of the killers is clearly to spread fear, and insecurity and disrupt everyday life in society, and the heavily militarised and muscular administration has been unable to counter the hit and run targeted killings against people of all communities. The minority community is under enormous pressure and fear, they live with scars and memories of an exodus of a large number of Kashmiri Pundits from Kashmir in 1990. Their representatives have been constantly calling out the failures of the administration to provide protection [1]. All must be done now to pre-empt any new exodus as in 1990. Society must have all social space, democratic rights, access to media that takes up peoples issues, resources, networks, an active civil society, a totally unhindered internet & communication access which is a social necessity, political representatives, and sensitive administrative machinery to turn to & reach out to in face of social adversity, to jointly counter extremist ideas among others. The wide array of public political activity and that once existed in the former state of Jammu and Kashmir as in every other state of India has ceased to exist, the top leaders of the mainstream political parties, the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party among others spent a long time in prison and have not been given much space or an opening to resume regular political activity and full brown public interaction. It is time allow to democratic political activity and allow assembly elections that were promised in Jammu and Kashmir so that all local political parties and trade unions can reach out to society and take up people’s grievances with executive administrative entities, spur much needed social healing and a collective voice to people. Disaffected people with limited democratic space cant be allies in counter-terrorism.

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Tribute: We pay homage to Paul Brass the American political scientist whose outstanding scholarly work on India from 1960 stood out like none other. Brass who passed away recently has left behind a body of solid work on communal riots, and identity politics in Uttar Pradesh that will continue to influence generations to come. It’s a pity, they don’t make scholars like Brass anymore.

June 4, 2022 – HK

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