The chief of the Indian Army Gen. Bipin Rawat has let it be known to the stone-pelting mob in no uncertain term that they should stop thinking or dreaming about ‘azadi’ in Kashmir. It will never be a reality, it will never happen and it is impossible, Gen Rawat has emphasised. These strong words came from Gen. Rawat after a tourist died in the incident of stone-pelting in the Kashmir valley. The tourist who died in the incident was identified as 23-year-old Thirumani who had gone to Kashmir on a vacation. He was from Tamil Nadu. Thirumani was going to Gulmarg on a fateful day. The nation, no doubt will not allow the separatists to fulfill their dream of ‘azadi’. Those indulging in violence in the name of so-called ‘azadi’ would be annihilated by the Army. There is no hope for separatists. Their defeat is certain; they will be killed. Even China has recognised the strength of the Indian Armed Forces. The entire nation stands behind the Army.
Many questions are being raised after the death of tourist boy from Tamil Nadu. It was said earlier that tourists in Kashmir were not the target of assault by the agitators and violent mob of the separatist elements in the valley. Tourists were revered and warmly welcomed by the Kashmiris since it was and it is a good source of earning for livelihood for them. It is the Kashmiri culture to treat tourists as welcome guests. But the death of Tamil Nadu tourists has exposed this myth. This myth has been exposed earlier also when almost every year during Amarnath Yatra pilgrims are attacked by the terrorists supported by local separatists.
There should not be any hesitation in saying that the stone pelting mobs are digging their own graves by attacking tourists; as it was abundantly clear when the bus carrying tourists was attacked by the stone-pelting mob in which Thirumani died. This happened when tourism gives the economic support to Jammu & Kashmir. Kashmiris seem to have forgotten this fact that their hearth runs on revenue from tourism. Stone pelting mobs are mentally deranged. Only mad people would attack and kill those who give bread and butter to them.
Mob Have No Fear
The stone pelting mob have no fear of authorities because the government attitude towards them have been rather soft in the past. Just look at the story of the leader of the stone-pelting mob Masrat Alam. By releasing Alam, the then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Syed had created controversy. There were solid evidence against Masrat that he had led the mob who pelted stones at armed forces during violent agitation between 2008 and 2010. He was arrested in 2010 from the outskirts of Srinagar. It is known to all that the stone pelting mob were responsible for killing many armed forces personnel and innocent public.
There was public outrage when Masrat, a separatist of Hurriyat Conference was released after spending four years in jail; the outrage was fully justified. Surprisingly, the state police had not registered any case against him despite evidence of offence and crime against Masrat. He was in jail without any case under Public Safety Act. The point to be noted here is when there is no case against an individual how you can keep him in jail?
Ever since the Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed at the hands of Armed forces, the valley has been witnessing widespread violence and protests resulting in casualties of armed forces and attack on posts of police and security forces in the valley.
A big question arises, is there no human rights for our security forces. Are they not Indians? Do they have no family? Don’t they have people who love them? The security forces lost their lives while on duty in the troubled state of Jammu & Kashmir. There have been incidents of women throwing boiling oil on our jawans and sometimes even shooting them dead. These incidents take place on a regular interval. When Police hunt for the accused nobody from public gives any clue to the investigating officers.
The officers and jawans are also human beings and they have right to live with dignity. Far away from home, the security forces on duty in the violent zone also have human rights. Terrorists are attacking camps of security forces, grenades are being hurled. Security forces are attacked when they return from duty with stones resulting in head injuries and damage to eyes. The situation is indeed grave.
How to improve the situation? For any improvement in the situation, the people of Kashmir will have to stand by the government and authorities. People must cooperate with the security forces and not confront them because people in general in Kashmir valley are suffering because of militant strikes and violence. The tourism is seriously hit by the agitation. Small and cottage industry are getting closed as there are no buyers. Time has come when the people of the valley should stop living in the shadow of fear of terrorists and separatist forces; rather people should now fight these elements to end the violent and bloody phase in the valley. This is the only way to come out of the crisis. The violent phase has ruined the lives of three generations of the people of Kashmir. If the people have any grievances against the authorities it can be resolved through dialogue. After all, they are also citizens of India.
R K Sinha
(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)