Thursday, 11 August 2016

Is Kashmir heading towards a civil war? By Sameer Showkin Lone

Is Kashmir heading towards a civil war? By Sameer Showkin Lone  
Aug 08, 2016
Despite repeated calls by separatist groups to stick to the joint leadership’s calendar and not to harm anyone unnecessarily, the situation in Kashmir seems to be slipping out of their hands and instead heading towards “a civil war”.

Some elements are seen damaging the public and private property by throwing stones at shopkeepers, private vehicles, Ambulances, even during the “relaxation time” without any reason.

It all started when thousands of people in south Kashmir’s Kokernag area, where Hizb Commander Burhan Wani was killed on July 08, chopped down some four thousand high density apple trees in an orchard of a well-known entrepreneur at village Bumdooru.

The locals, who destroyed this model orchard, had the only reason to cut down the apple orchard that the owner of the apple orchard, Khurram Shafi Mir had close proximity with former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. Ironically, the same area polled 70 percent votes in the last held elections and also elected a PDP leader as their MLA.

Mir later said the experiment orchard was ground zero for economic empowerment of farmers. “I spoke with people of the area and told them that it (the orchard) has nothing to do with government or politicians and that it is owned by three farmer families from Shopian and Anantnag. It is a big tragedy for us,” Mir had said.
Similarly, a senior editor of a local daily had a narrow escape while his car was heavily damaged by the protesters when he was on the way to his home from office during the late evening last Thursday.

Similarly, a medico, Dr Sajad Ahmad Bhat, who works as a Casualty Medical Officer (CMO) at SMHS hospital was quoted saying, “I had gone home to get my parents, who are leaving for Hajj, vaccinated. At Railway Bridge near Mochow, someone hurled a stone at me and hurt my hand. I couldn’t see the person who hit me for there was a huge crowd on the bridge. So it was difficult to go near them and look for the person,” he said.

Adding fuel to the fire, the paramilitary forces especially CRPF have been seen ransacking public and private property. Several amateur videos have surfaced showing CRPF troopers breaking window panes of houses and damaging cars and bikes on roads. CRPF men are also under scanner for killing an ATM guard in a “cold blooded murder” when he was riding on his two-wheeler late evening of August 04.
Bilal, a Facebook user posted, “My uncle opened shop after 6 pm at Goni-Khan, some boys came and threw stones at him,” he posted. 

“These youths don’t listen to anyone. They won’t ask you to switch off the lights, even when there is no blackout call by Hurriyat. They will just come, throw a stone, break the glasses and will leave,” said a resident at Nowgam.
The situation has turned grave forcing many to write letters to newspapers narrating the ordeals of their areas. 

Owais Wani writes: “There are few people who are creating lot of problems in Pulwama town. It is impossible for a person to reach Srinagar from Newa - Nowgam or Kakapora - Pampore road. During late hours, some people stop vehicles, mostly carrying patients and people with some emergency, thrash, harass and break their vehicles etc. If all these things persist, there will be a civil war in Kashmir very soon. Who will go out in this situation? It is people who are somehow in emergency,” he has written in his letter which appeared in a local daily.

Civil Society member and wife of senior Hurriyat leader, Hameeda Nayeem said some people are trying to lead the present movement towards a civil war. “We appeal people to nab these elements and expose them at whose behest they are doing it,” she said.
“Those unnecessarily creating nuisance and harassing people without any reason are the agents of agencies who have been fighting a different war in Kashmir,” she said.

Noted political expert professor Noor Ahmed Baba said the government forces are curtailing the movement of people and when the people do the same and not allow people with emergencies to move; then you are alienating your own people, which will surely lead to a Civil war.

“It is not a two days movement, we have to sustain it. When we attack our own apple orchards, stop milk supplies, medicines, then how will it sustain. Azadi itself is an idea to move freely with dignity and sense of security...when we don’t allow people to do that, then we are harming the basic cause. People should understand it. It is not we will curb peoples’ movement when they are on the need,” he said.

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