Media Duplicity and Lawlessness in Kashmir: To the Editor, The Times of India PDF Print E-mail

KK Kak
21st April, 2017

This refers to your editorial "Srinagar Live" (ToI 17/4/17, http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31808&articlexml=Srinagar-Live-17042017012024).

It is ironic that you blame inflamed tempers in Kashmir on aggressive majoritarianism in other parts of the country - especially BJP-ruled states. Tempers have been inflamed in Kashmir since long before the BJP came to power. In fact, one could equally argue that tempers have been inflamed in the rest of the country by aggressive Muslim majoritarianism in Kashmir. One of the slogans in the recent UP elections - following reports of Hindus being driven out -was 'don't let Kairana become like Kashmir'.

It is indeed telling that your advice to rein in majority-community (Hindu) thugs in the rest of the country is accompanied by advice to be more sophisticated in dealing with majority- community (Muslim) thugs in Kashmir. It appears that there are different standards for thugs of different communities.

It is also ironic that you refer to security forces facing murderous mobs as 'crowd control' and decry the use of a human shield against stone-pelters as uniformed excesses. You offer no alternative as to what the handful of soldiers surrounded by a hundreds- strong violent mob should have done instead. Opened fire on the mob? Laid down their weapons and allowed themselves to be slaughtered? You speak vaguely of more sophisticated strategies, but why not give some specifics of what should be done?

And perhaps you could give your definition of crowd control as well. A violent murderous mob trying to kill our soldiers does not require 'crowd control' - it requires military action. Would you also advocate `more sophisticated strategies of crowd control’ for violent gaurakshaks -- or for the Gujarat rioters of 2002? It is indeed ironical that while the liberal lobby -- including media houses such as yours -- advocate sympathy, understanding, and more sophisticated measures while dealing with stone-pelting Muslim mobs in Kashmir, that same set of liberals screams for stringent police action when Hindu protestors go on the rampage.

It is time we accepted the basic reality - the violent Muslim mobs in Kashmir will not be placated, no matter what we do. They silence all voices that differ from their own - witness stories of political workers being attacked and voters threatened during the recent by-elections, or the threats and attacks on the families of Kashmiri policemen. Witness the attacks on pro-India Kashmiri Hindus, and the furious protests every time the government tries to re-settle the exiled Pandits - they do not want pro-India voices to return to the Valley, even if those voices belong to fellow-Kashmiris. Trying to discover the root cause of their anger is meaningless -- the root cause is that they want an independent Islamic state and that won't change no matter how much we bend backwards for them. We could give them azaadi, and they would still continue attacking us, much as their Pakistani masters do.

The only solution is to revoke Article 370, bring in Indians from the rest of the country (and, yes, that will change the Valley demographics - but the protestors changed the demographics too, by driving out the Pandits), and ensure that the stone-pelters are reduced to a minority in the Valley. It may not be pretty, but dealing with secessionists is never pretty. Just look at how Pakistan behaves in PoK, China behaves in Tibet, or how the American Union behaved when the Confederate states tried to break away.

There were nearly a million casualties in the American Civil War, then amounting to about 3% of the national population - about half of which were from the secessionist states. The Indian equivalent today would be 36 million casualties or approximately 5 times the total population of the Kashmir Valley. The stone-pelters get off rather easily - perhaps President Lincoln should have been told to use more sophisticated measures of crowd control!