While acknowledging the fact that many educated youth of valley are resorting to violence by taking to arms, chief minister, Omar Abdullah’s recent statement has created ripples among the thinking circles of the state. Many believe the statement has deeper connotations and may be indicative of the resurgence of militancy in the state. The statement gained certain credibility with the army too showing concern over the joining of educated youth in militant ranks. Commenting on the issue, senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani has maintained that it is a direct consequence of prolonged oppression that highly qualified young boys are again resorting to violence by joining militant ranks.
Over the past year or so many meritorious young Kashmiri boys were being reported to have engaged army and other security forces involved in anti-militancy operation, in tough gun fights. In the recent Pulwama incident the security forces engaged in the gunfight had to deal with furious public who tried to break the cordon. At other places as well the public sympathy towards militants has been tremendous.
The domino effect created among social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is more significant. Glowing tributes have been paid to these boys on the pages created in their names on Facebook with epithets like ‘martyrs of Kashmir’ and the like. The ‘likes’ of these pages go in thousands. Lengthy debates have been initiated on these sites with local youth engaging users from mainland in tough war of words.
Is Kashmir really witnessing a resurgence of militancy or is it a hoax? The AFSPA debate set rolling by the incumbent CM some years back hasn’t been concluded so far. However, the determination shown by Umar Abdullah in his efforts for the partial withdrawal of the draconian act from the state has been diminishing over the years. New Delhi never took his request seriously in the face of army’s vehement opposition to the move. With the state elections approaching, the issue has the potential of being exploited by other political parties. The remark may serve the ruling NC a purpose in the upcoming elections.
Eruption of militancy in the late eighties of last century has been attributed to the mass rigging in the state assembly elections preceding it. Frustration among the then youth has also been cited as one of the reasons.
If at all there is a resurgence of militancy in Kashmir and educated youth are taking up arms yet again, what is the response of New Delhi and the local government? Can it be fallout of the repression the valley witnessed in 2008 and 2010? Could youth frustration again be a cause of the renewed interest in gun and violence? If the trend sets among youth, what could be done to prevent nineties like situation?
Umar’s remark is posing some serious questions, questions for which he or New Delhi doesn’t have any answers. Before the state is again pushed into nineties like situation, Umar and his team should seriously think of a solution.