Engage Youth


As newspapers reported violence re-emerging as the new tool of communication between the young and the government, security set-up of J&K played it down. Now three months after and a series of bloody encounter later, the realization has dawned that situation is not as rosy as they would like to project.

Expected to offer reasons, the security apparatus is dishing out confusing statistics about the apparent recurrence of militancy with their resolve to fight it out. The situation has already witnessed the return of the annoying drop-gates, concertina barricading, frisking on the roads and, most importantly, the ‘crackdowns’ knocking at the doors in the periphery at dawn. Panic displayed by the security set-up suggests sort of an alarming situation.

While the security set-up is busy finding its ways and means to tackle the emerging situation, it must, however, force the political dispensation across treasury and opposition benches to try to find out answers for the crisis. With youth engagement completely missing, neither of the political parties is in a position to offer any specific reasons for the upsurge. Reports of youth leaving careers to take up the gun make the situation all the more different.

But certain things are starkly visible and may not require any research. While Delhi has continuously skipped engaging Pakistan, apparently to sell its hawkish stance to its vote bank, the dispensation in Srinagar is unable to adjust itself with the ground realities. Possibly, an alliance compulsion has prevented PDP from conceding some space to the separatist sentiment. Most of the separatist leaders are either being kept in detention at home or prevented from visiting the flashpoints. Youth activism in the educational premises is still banned. While top universities in the mainland conduct best research on Kashmir turmoil, the same is denied to the society that is embroiled into it.

Whatever the reasons, Kashmir is gradually entering into a phase in which the governance structure and the youth are facing each other. There have been a number of incidents in which commoners assembled to prevent cordon and search operations. Instances in which security men are directly engaging youth with no buffer in between is something that does not auger well for either side. It has already led to many casualties in last few months.

Though militancy had thawed and the numbers of killings on either side reduced considerably in the last ten years, Kashmir already has its cemeteries full. Some have actually reported no more space. A generation is buried in its most productive age. Kashmir will ill-afford pushing another generation to crisis at a time when the destitution is still an issue to be tackled. It must force the political leadership across the ideological divide in Kashmir and in Delhi and Islamabad to understand the crisis and evolve ways and means to engage Kashmir positively. NSAs of the two countries are meeting later this month and the policy makers in Kashmir must seize the opportunity and ease the tensions. Creating a pressure cooker situation will harm the overall polity.


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