This is the time to fix and rectify what all went wrong in the previous year
- Syed Maajid Rashid Andrabi
The valley of Kashmir which was simmering with turmoil for over five odd months is limping back to normalcy. Those months were a cruel reminder of the dance of death which has taken place in the past too and is still prevalent. The valley though had witnessed several turmoils before but what was unique in the turmoil of 2016 was the overwhelming response of the people towards Burhan Wani, the symbol of modern resistance, which prompted them to cross all the barricades of resistance which were put before them, to register their love and affection towards him. Longest spate of curfew, hundreds killed, thousands maimed and injured, complete blackout of telecommunication- all testify the fact that the turmoil of 2016 was like no other. While criticism was pouring in continuously from all corners regarding the governments’ stance on maintaining law and order at the cost of violating the basic human rights, their adamant behavior left everyone aghast and invited the wrath of the people instead of earning their co-operation to bring about peace and normalcy. What was more gruesome was the use of pellet guns which were earlier used to hunt and later banned to be in use but still dominantly playing a part in crowd control in the valley. Horrifying tales of pellet victims and shocking pictures of their injuries could have easily encouraged its discontinuation but the state being hell bent on its citizens even didn’t bother about the repercussions and held it to be an important weapon to control crowd. How unfortunate!!! On one side being a sympathizer for those who lost their loved ones and on the other side unable to take any corrective actions to control losses marred the narrative of the administration and weakened its position to fare well in controlling the protests and restoring the normalcy. What remained the most sought-for thing in the entire turmoil was the weekly calendar which used to get issued by the United Hurriyat faction that included the directives which were to be followed for the coming week. Calendars became the routine in the turmoil which in other words signified and justified the different protest programs. Though the state administration in collaboration with the Centre did tried its level best to get things in order, by calling a joint party to have talks with the United Hurriyat faction, but what was witnessed, hardly bore any fruitful results for the state and eventually resulted in an unsuccessful attempt. On one side dealing with the law and order problems and on the other side some anti-social elements that burnt down the school buildings thereby adding to the woes of the administration gave rise to a hostile environment that was too difficult to manage and reminded people of the horrific past of the valley. Everything proved to be an uphill task for the administration as there was no end to protests and consequently things went worse with every passing day. Not only the administration but the people of the valley too suffered from all aspects during this turmoil. Psychologically as well as economically the people were set aback. Being caged in their homes for days took a toll on their mental psyche. A report of the research released by the MSF reads that “Nearly 1 in 5 adults (19%) in the Kashmir Valley is living with significant PTSD symptoms, representing 7,71,000 individuals, with 2,48,000 (6%) meeting the diagnostic criteria for PTSD,”. Also about 1.8 million adults equaling 45 per cent of adult population suffer from mental distress in Valley and a majority of people have experienced or witnessed conflict-related trauma. The report reveals that depression is the most prevalent disorder in the valley with 41 per cent adults showing its symptoms. Such is the impact of the deadly past the people of the valley have been living with. Proceeding further with the implications of the turmoil, it is quite evident that the whole economy was in shambles and the tourism sector which is the main contributor of the valley’s economy settled for nothing as the valley had been witnessing the worst of all the times. As the valley is already plagued with unemployment, the recent turmoil has multiplied the sufferings of the people and has pushed them to grave crisis by giving a huge dent to the already distressed economy which by any means is although difficult but not impossible to overcome.
Having said that it becomes imperative for the government that is in control to get things aligned and alleviate the sufferings of the people. There has always been a great hue and cry among people for want of justice to the injustices suffered by them but still justice remains unrewarded, which gives rise to a feeling of discontentment and hatred towards the administration. It needs to be taken care of at any cost and justice should prevail under all circumstances, which only could produce the desired results of peace, progress and prosperity. This turmoil once again reiterated the need for effective crowd control measures as this attribute has been responsible for major casualties. Furthermore, the confidence building measures that were promised to the people at the time of elections need to be followed diligently so as to generate the feeling of trust among the people. Unemployment that is troubling the populace needs to be brought under control by recruiting the educated but unemployed youth of the valley through various employment schemes. There is a dire need to devise such policies which while dealing with law and order problems don’t allow any human rights violation thereby uphold the dignity and magnificence of the basic human rights. There should be no more political gimmicks to lure people for nothing. Instead what is being promised should get delivered without fail to acknowledge the aspirations of the people while they are made to cast their votes.
P.S:- The valley though had lost its sheen owing to the turbulence and unrest but –
Flowers will Bloom, yes they will yes they will
For you who are here or yet to born
They’ll bloom, yes they will and they bloom again until
There is no reason left to mourn
The author is working with Vodafone and is B.Tech-MBA from Lovely Professional University. He can be reached at email@example.com