None of us sitting in the cushy armchairs supported by the hefty salaries can imagine what transpires in the troubled parts of the country – especially in Kashmir. And still, strangely though, everyone has an opinion to offer – from thoughts of the stone-pelters being PDP paid workers, to docile suggestions of a cabinet reshuffle; from the inability of the government to successfully ‘suppress’ the ‘violent’ movement, to (and this was one of the strangest suggestions I’ve heard) thinking ways to capture back the Kashmir territory under Pakistan occupation (PoK), as the whole Kashmir is legitimately India’s!
It is not so much as the lack of astute thought, but the inability to empathise with the ordinary Kashmiri at such a time of peril, that is snowballing into what could lead to a violent uprising that no one would be able to ‘suppress’. It is not possible for an ordinary Indian, cut off from the state of affairs in this precariously placed state, to fathom what goes on in the mind of a Kashmiri when he goes ahead and throws a stone towards the very people who have vowed to protect them. Do you think he believes that he can really harm the police-wallah? Or is his puny stone any match to the bullets and tear gas shells of the armed policeman? No. He knows he is no match. But still, he breaks a curfew, endangers his life to throw a harmless stone. He wants to make a statement with this action of his. A statement that simmers with resentment against the state atrocities. The Kashmiris want the CRPF and the Army out of the state, to put it plainly. How can they feel protected by the very people who have raped their daughter, killed their father or taken their son away from them? In the past 2 months, 55 unarmed civilians have been killed in the police and CRPF firing. Not a single police personnel has been killed by the hurled stones. Doesn’t this say something about the state of mind of a troubled youth, full of anger against the state that he wants nothing to do with? He does not want to kill. He wants to be heard, and throwing a stone has been the best, and the most liberating act of defiance that he can register.
But sadly, the power hungry honchos at the centre do not see the big picture yet. They do not see this resentment boiling over and giving way to something much bigger than what happened in 1990. Even the Prime Minister should bow his head in shame if a person from his party now mentions a possible hand of Pakistani terror outfits behind this whole ‘exercise’. It is very obvious to one and all that Pakistan has nothing to do with what is happening in Kashmir today. And if the people at the centre refuse to repeal, or atleast majorly amend AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act, that gives extreme autonomous powers to the armed forces – an Act which is being grossly misused and which is at the root of all heartache), and go and talk to Kashmiris and listen to their pain, make them feel that they care - unless this is done, and quickly, something unprecedented might happen after which it would not matter which Kashmir should be on which side of the border.