M Ahseem

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Unlike other states of India, visit of someone of the caliber of PM to the trouble torn state of J&K has to be conceived in its own perspective. People in these states aren’t even aware of such visits, except for a small section of the society. But in J&K, we are given to learn about such events months before, lest we may forget that the state is an integral part of India. The irony of the matter is that young children plan things weeks before for they know the day is bound to be a holiday.

In the first place a kind of a paradoxical impression is created among the locals with the help of media and other agencies. A façade of a smiling angel straight from heavens of New Delhi carrying a panacea for all the local ills with the gun-yielding Kashmiri demons trying to sabotage the moment of blessing is crafted for local consumption. Is it a moment of joy or a reason to fear is the question that every commoner asks himself? Well Kashmiris are tired of asking questions, answers hardly come by and this is how most of the local have learnt to live their lives.

The paradox is quite vital for the establishment here. The fear of life keeps the locals out of sight. No sign of human life, as if for the fear of aliens. Peace everywhere, not a feeble cry of dissent. Purpose served, over and out.

The angel waves his magic band and there starts raining currency notes with the father of Nation smiling as if contented to the fullest. Another purpose served; employment, economic stability, power, infrastructure, roads and what not.

One wonders as to whether the first person has the faintest of ideas of the troubles the commoners were subjected to on his visit. The city just became out of bounds for its inhabitants. Rolls of concertina wires were laid across roads in all parts of the city to prevent movement of public on the first day of the visit, even though separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani had called for a complete shutdown. In fact such shutdown calls help reduce the burden of security agencies on ground to a large extent.

In a democratic setup, how far is it justified to constrain the life of a whole city in the name of security? Thousands of   tourists putting up in the hotels in Srinagar city couldn’t venture out for their PM was in the city to launch a petty postage stamp. In what other democracy do these kinds of things happen? What sort of democracy is this that rather than lessening the troubles of common man it adds to their woes? It didn’t stop there. On the following day the entire National highway was fortified and no movement of traffic was allowed by the security agencies. One can only sympathize with those confined to their seats in the stranded vehicles for hours altogether. Many areas of the city continued to be under undeclared curfew.

While people in general welcomed the opening of a train link, but the way political drama is staged in the name of these events is deplorable. Particularly when a whole population is taken hostage and people are subjected to all sorts of trouble is unwelcome. People at the helm should think before planning such events for the sake of common good.


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