The unrest in the Kashmir Valley had calmed down after years of strife, but like hot air reigniting the embers of a smouldering fire, the casual, caustic and thoughtless remarks of leaders and public alike have reignited a new round of violence in the valley.
Fourteen were killed in Srinagar after thousands flouted the curfew and torched a missionary school, as a result of anger in response to the desecration of a Koran.
The news, ‘thirteen people killed in a single day’ fails to raise the eyebrow as it once did. Has the continuous airing of news related to violence, war and death really hardened us to the point where we fail to feel grief at the loss of young lives?
While leaders and agencies around the world turn their backs after expressing their dismay at the violence, the unrest remains a fact. The fourteen dead become another statistic to the world, but the seeds of anger are sown with their deaths.
The political balance is about to tip and the Kashmir Question may become an albatross around this government’s neck, as it has been in the past. In the sixty years of Independence, the government has handled the Valley like a delicate vase – too much pressure would break it and too little will let it slip from their hands. Instead of pouring in military and money, we need to pour in opportunities, education and optimism, channeling them to the empowerment of the people.
The unrest is pushing the government to try different methods to handle the situation, looking for alternatives to just opening the doors for the soldiers. The Indian Army plays an important role in Kashmir, but over the years, it has become the only major group operating there other than the government. The unrest took a toll on education and progress, substantially setting back the growth of tourism, a blooming business of the valley.
It all boils down to the politics of the region. With Minister Omar Abdulah pushing for lifting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Indian Military against it, New Delhi has presently reached a stalemate, taking no action.