Asem Mohiuddin Mega
With only few weeks left for the upcoming Pancyhayat and local body elections across the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the violence has witnessed an unprecedented spurt especially in south Kashmir. Five cops were abducted in just one day on Friday and later were shot dead.
Officially no militant group took the responsibility for their killings but it triggered a spree of resignations from the cops and especially SPO’s from the highly infested south Kashmir who feared for their lives. Earlier the top militant commander who replaced Zakir Musa, the successor of slain Burhan Muzaffer Wani, Riyaz Ahmad Naikoo had released several audio messages and warned cops to resign from their jobs or face action.
His warning was more against the SPO’s, a temporary police force in Jammu and Kashmir Police preferably recruited for the counter insurgency operations. His threat was wielded on to the people intending to participate in the elections of Panchayat and Urban local body.
“India is planning to conduct the Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir. It is using these elections to divert the attention of the international community with those exercises.
Naikoo said that even they have already purchased the sulphuric acid to sprinkle on those who may come out to vote or contest. While these threatening messages didn’t deter the government to delay or cancel the elections, however, the killings of the cops and subsequent resignations by serving cops on Friday put tremendous pressure on government though it still maintain its position to hold the elections on time.
“These polls would give all parties an opportunity to interact with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. And the polls would be held as per schedule though this is not the time when the dialogue with Pakistan shall be held,” said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday.
India even called off the talks with Pakistan on the sidelines of United National General Assembly session at the foreign ministry level before they could take off.
The talks were supposed to happen after the newly elected Pakistan Prime Minster Imran Khan shoot a letter to Indian counterpart and urged for the resumption of dialogue.
The attempt which could have turned significant Confidence Building Measure (CBM) between two countries was sabotaged by twin attempts. When the diloague was planned to happen at UN, the Stamp was released in the name of Burhan Muzaffer Wani by Pakistan terming him as local hero.
A top militant commander was killed in government forces action in July 2016. The second sabotaging attempt to the talks was the killing of five cops in south Kashmir by suspected militants. India accused Pakistan of sparring violence in the troubled region and said that violence and talks cannot be held together.
While the spurt in violence in Kashmir has derailed the talks between the two countries, the elections to be held in the Kashmir region are emerging as a bigger challenge. As many as 32000 Panchs and Sarpanchs are to be elected in the Panchayat elections alone and their safety and security shall be of paramount importance for the state and centre government.
“We are expecting further escalation in the violence in Kashmir since the militants and separatists are hell bent to sabotage the democratic exercise in the region,” said the senior police official. The official wishing not to be named said that though all measures would be in place to ensure the elections culminate successfully, the more causalities with coming times could not be ruled out to defy the process.
Contrary to this fear, the government in New Delhi has a different game plan for the elections. New Delhi believes that few districts in Kashmir region where the militancy is at highest level has pushed the entire state to the wall. It believes baring some districts in Kashmir the other two regions Ladakh and Jammu are very much peaceful and crave for the development including some parts of Kashmir. So it is unwise to punish the whole state for few troubling districts.
“What if five to six districts will not vote or participate in the elections. We have still 15 to 16 districts left where the people will participate enmass. We have to ensure whole state is not punished for the trouble in few districts,” said a senior official to The Legitimate in New Delhi monitoring Kashmir situation.
What Game Plan is all about?
While the BJP had a sweeping majority in the Jammu region in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it is planning to retain its power in the region in upcoming 2019 elections.
Followed by the successful culmination of Urban Local body and Panchayat elections in state New Delhi is mulling to launch mega socioeconomic developmental schemes for the region where not only the infrastructure will be build up, however, will also launch mega start up schemes for the youth ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
“In those areas where the election process would be successful, some major schemes would be launched to target the youth. As of we are focusing on the Ladakh and Jammu region and in case the elections go peacefully in Kashmir it can be included,” said the sources.
“But we are clear about our idea that we cannot punish people enmass for the mistakes of few”. Mega Mega Mega Mega