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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 33 New Delhi August 6, 2016

Kashmir, Zakir Naik, Attack on Minorities

Wednesday 10 August 2016, by Humra Quraishi


Though curfew has been lifted in most parts of the Kashmir Valley after 17 days of turmoil which has left 47 persons dead and over 2000 grievously injured, there is no trace of peace. In fact, fresh reports of nine more cases of pellet injuries. Pellet guns in use even after much hue and cry! Extremely confusing signals—what, with several politicians quipping ‘no pellet guns’ but the CRPF’s top brass coming up with an additional one-liner: pellet guns only in extreme situations. Mind you, the very word ‘extreme’ can be turned and twisted in a hundred directions; after all, it is a relative term.

Have the ground realities changed in the Kashmir region in these 17 or 18 days? No. The dead lie still in their graves. The injured lie battling for life in the various hospital wards. Victims of pellet injuries languish amidst hopelessness. Children have aged overnight as they sit surviving in an atmosphere where even the basics are failing. There’s little to hold on to, there’s little to contain, there’s little to consume except sorrow. A strange strain of despair spreading out in an atmosphere riddled with low connectivity; mobile-cum-internet services and train services remained suspended even as the curfew was lifted.

What are the political rulers doing in Srinagar and New Delhi to reach out to the masses of the Kashmir Valley? Pumping pellets and bullets will not help lessen the widespread anger and disgust. The mess lies compounded as the long list of the dead and dying surfaces...

Now what? Few options for the rulers of the day. Realise there exits a stark ground reality. The masses are angry and disgusted. Contain the anger of the masses. Start off a political dialogue with the Kashmiris amidst transparency and accountability. Also, instead of announcements of political packages of crores for the Kashmir region, it will be prudent if immediate relief is handed to each one of the Kashmiris battling for their lives in the various hospitals and in near destroyed homes. After all, a stretch of land is meaningless without its inhabitants.

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