As Kashmir is managed through curfew restrictions more often, bring back the memories of early 1990s. The stakeholders are multiplying. Gone are the days when separatists claimed that there are three parties to it. Now every other actor thinks they have stakes in Kashmir. At one stage, top security officials insisted they have stakes because they are the ones who are fighting with insurgents and making efforts to normalize Kashmir.
Regardless of the tons of scholarships that scores of NGOs are producing, the new stakeholder in Kashmir are the TV channels. Very choosy about what they report and how they package, they have started effecting policy shifts in the routine systems. The government is keen to oblige them. This is a sorry state of affairs. Elected government have right to decide their priorities and evolve the system they must follow.
Various channels holding literal courts every evening have had a lot of impact on ground. Now politicians (not leaders) are preparing themselves to see what the anchors will ask them and how better they will be able to appease them. No more do they think they are answerable to the voter. This could have an impact on the status and stature of the ruling or opposition leaders in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the aftermath of the recent militant attack in which five paramilitary men were killed and six others injured, there was a lot of hue and cry over why the politicians did not visit them. Ideally, in any governing system, it is a routine that the leaders visit and console the respective units that have braved such attacks. Almost every time a cop or a paramilitary man died fighting militants, a minister would be there at the official funeral.
But this has rarely happened that an absence will be packaged in such a way that the jawans would be permitted to go on air. This has never happened in any uniformed force because every force follows a stiff and strict discipline. Usually, such things are being conveyed through formal channels of communication within the system. It is all right that the coverage led Omar Abdullah to drive to airport and lay the floral wreaths on the coffins.
But Kashmir is unlike other states. There are consequences. Promoting jawans using media might and bypassing the leadership of the respective forces does not auger well to ensure discipline for managing challenging situations that exist in Kashmir. It can become unruly any time. There were two instances in recent days when policemen had to take the bashing for preventing situations get worse, one at Bemina itself.
Kashmir witnessed instances when the paramilitary men adversely contributed to the situation when they opened fire on buses and in markets in reaction to sonic booms and mild firing incidents in the neighborhood. Series of those massacres could get repeated if adequate discipline is not maintained. Let the stakeholders of Kashmir stay limited and accountable.