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  Rashtriya Sahara Roznama Sahara
Dilemma of peace loving Kashmiri youth
Deepika Bhan
Last Updated : 18 Apr 2017 02:24:48 PM IST
File photo
File photo

The two had been talking on the phone for almost an hour now. Watching the changing expressions on the face of displaced 75-year- old Kashmiri Pandit who was talking with his Kashmiri Muslim friend of four decades, one could gauge the anxiety on the other side of line. The conversation mostly revolved around the fear of living in Kashmir. The Kashmiri Pandit, was hounded out of valley in 1990 and his Muslim friend, Abdul Rather, today was ridden with anxiety that a similar kind of fear and subjugation was being faced by those who do not approve of the present bout of violence in the valley.

Abdul lives in Srinagar. He says the fear emanates from the mohalla hooligans who turn in to stone pelters, from the local maulvis who have mostly anti-India sermons to give, from the local ‘intelligentsia’ who guide and influence the thought process through a network of local newspapers, news portals and other social media. Abdul is afraid of them of all which is leaving him with no option but to fall in line. And fall in line he must as otherwise he can be chided, harassed and even thrashed or shot dead for being a ‘traitor’.

Like Abdul there are lakhs in the valley who are fed up of the violence all around but they have little choice to voice dissent. They are forced to toe the line set by a deadly lobby comprising of separatists, terrorists, Muslim religious leaders and some politicians. The fear of the combine is writ large which is keeping all silent.

When Hurriyat gives a call for Bandh, the local news papers publish the dikats willingly, loud speakers from mosques do the needful, and the general public simply obeys and shuts down. Schools and colleges are shut and so are businesses. Says a Journalist who does not want to be identified, “I am not personally happy with this. But then what to do, I don’t want to be killed and my family rendered helpless.” It is this feeling of fear that has become the weapon and the tool for exploitation by the anti-India lobby.

Normally in disturbed or conflict areas, there are soft groups who try to ease the situation by talking and reaching out. In Kashmir, this does not seem to be happening. The political class is too busy politicking and milking the cow for their benefits. In the valley, the power has always rotated among a few families, be they Abdullahs, Muftis or Shahs or Bukharis or Karras, Geelanis or Ansaris and a few others. When Abdullah’s were in power, Muftis were accused of backing the stone pelters and now when Mufti is in power, the National Conference and Congress are being accused. The fact is that the political class in the valley has always failed the populace. They have been too preoccupied with their own schemes to hang on to the power and mint the riches and the general public has been left at the mercy of groups like Hurriyat. When Burhan Wani was killed, the political class should have come together to prevent the situation from sliding.

On the contrary, they only fuelled the fire with provocative speeches and tweets. This includes Mehbooba Mufti’s bête noire and former CM Omar Abdullah too.

Similar is the case with civil society, intelligentsia and activist groups in the valley. All seem to have mysteriously shut their minds and hearts. On the contrary their reactions and activities only fan the fire further. Presently there is no group in the valley which is even thinking of trying to pacify the anger. Even the local media, including the plethora of local news portals present news in extremely slanted manner. If they wish that the situation should calm down, their owners cum editors could at least voluntarily adhere to ethics.

The fact is that not whole of the population in the valley is militant. Kashmiri youth is not deviant. He is by and large obedient in nature but the nefarious politics is brain washing the young minds. There are thousands like Abdul who want a peaceful normal life. There are lakhs who want businesses to run, schools to open, sports to be played, songs to be sung and tourists to flow everywhere.

But a sinister lobby is holding the whole valley to ransom. There is room for talks but the total absence of political will in the valley is painting the whole picture black. Kashmir has scope to come back and people like Abdul are still offering that hope.

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