The situation in Kashmir is horribly grim and reminds of the early days of militancy when the people would pour on the streets in strength to pitch for the freedom. Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, has admitted that the deaths and injuries to civilians have been due to the indiscriminate use of force and has asked the government agencies to exercise restraint and maintain the standard operating procedures (SOP). Subsequent to the killing of HM commander, Burhan Wani, the forces have not been able to handle the situation properly and the deaths have continued unabated. Though police has said that the use of force has come in the aftermath of the attack by youth on the government properties, however the conditions here remain grim. The police have stated that after the killing of three militants in Verinag on Friday, violent clashes occurred in various parts of the Kashmir Valley. It stated that the mob attacked security forces, civil, police establishments, and vital installations throughout the Valley. At some of the places, the mobs have forcibly tried to enter security force establishments with the intention to seize weapons resulting in large scale violence. Two police stations of Damhal Hanjipora and Achabal tehsil office Kokernag and police post Kund, Qazigund, range office DH Pora, court complex were set on fire. The situation has come to such a pass as the security agencies lack the means of crowd control. There are questions being raised on whether the encounter that led to killing of the HM militant commander could have been handled in a more prudent manner. The fact remains that the message was already written on the wall: South Kashmir has been witnessing massive outpouring and open support for the militancy. The government has failed to address the alienation that is rampant even as the areas which have escalated are the pure bastions of the ruling PDP. The government needs to address the issue more pragmatically and the unlicensed and unbridled use of force by the policemen needs to be curbed to avoid the cycle of violence. It seems the message is very clearly gone out that the rising aspirations of the people can’t be brushed aside. The coalition government needs to seize the opportunity and ensure that the peace is garnered. A saner advice has also come on the issue from BJP leader, Ram Madhav , who termed as “unfortunate and saddening” the loss of lives in clashes in Kashmir over the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani and said non-lethal ways of tackling such protests should be developed. The party General Secretary, who is BJP’s point man on the state, also said the police too suffered heavily, and restraint and calm should be the motto of people and police. More than that dialogue on the Kashmir issue has remained stalled between India and Pakistan. Starting the dialogue will help regain the trust of the people and BJP can cash in on the opportunity and start from where former Prime Minister, A B Vajpayee, had left.
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