That normalcy returning to Kashmir Valley irks those who stand to gain from unrest in this region is a well known fact. This lot comprises the pro-Pakistan lobby who thrive on lavish financial incentives provided by Pakistan Army’s spy agency Inter Services Intelligence [ISI], as well as local politicians who cunningly push the discourse of abnormality to further their own motivated agendas and self serving interests.
This year has been a particularly good one for the people of Kashmir as the results of the post Article 370 abrogation people-centred initiatives launched by both the center and J&K’s Union Territory administration have started showing. Furthermore, tourism, which provides sustenance to thousands of locals and is the mainstay of J&K’s economy, is booming once again and with the culture of frequent protests and shutdowns becoming a thing of the past, its business as usual in Kashmir Valley.
While the locals are happy with the current state of affairs and improving security situation, such a scenario irks Pakistan to no end and as such the ISI continues working overtime to ‘manufacture’ abnormality. After Article 370 abrogation, ISI created new terrorist groups like The Resistance Front [TRF] and People’s Anti-Fascist Front [PAFF] to wreak havoc in J&K and thereby create an impression that things here weren’t normal.
It’s no secret that TRF and PAFF are offshoots of Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT] and Jaish-e-Mohammad [JeM] terrorist groups respectively and their prime focus on attacking minority community members, migrant workers and off duty police men clearly indicates that their sole aim is to create an atmosphere of fear. Luckily, the security forces assisted by J&K police and the local population have been able to apprehend several ‘hybrid’ terrorists recruited by Pakistan’s proxies and thwarted ISI plans to escalate violence levels.
Nevertheless, the pro-Pakistan lobby continues to peddle falsehood by painting a doomsday scenario in J&K and the unfortunate death of three civilians who had been taken into custody for questioning by security forces after terrorists ambushed two army vehicles in Poonch is the latest example. Though unpardonable, this tragic incident is clearly an aberration, which in all probability is the result of those involved violating the laid down standard operating procedures on this subject.
The fact that the Army has been completely honest and forthcoming in taking full responsibility for these deaths without offering any excuses or making any attempt to shield the guilty is praiseworthy as it demonstrates its zero tolerance for human rights violations. However, the pro-Pakistan lobby in J&K has found this incident to be a handy stick for beating the security forces with and is trying to peddle a completely erroneous impression of jungle prevailing in J&K by pasting posters suggesting that the daily life of Kashmiris has worsened.
That this poster campaign hasn’t succeeded only goes to prove that the people of Kashmir have outrightly rejected this ludicrous allegation.
Both the civil administration and army have reacted responsibly to this incident. While the former has sanctioned compensation to bereaved families of the deceased and assured government jobs for their next of kin, the Army has ordered a court of inquiry to conduct a time bound investigation of this incident and establish the facts. Furthermore, in order to ensure complete objectivity and rule out the scope of any unwarranted influence on the investigation, the army has even removed officers who could possibly have vested interests in this case from the appointments they were holding when this incident occurred.
What merits attention is that despite extreme provocation by Pakistan apologists, the people of Kashmir continue to repose implicit faith in the Indian army and its justice system. Public anger amongst locals due to the death of three civilians detained by the Army for questioning is but natural. However, the pro Pakistan lobby needs to realise that its attempts to claim that this specific instance of collective ire is an all inclusive ‘thumbs down’ given to the Indian army is, by any standards, being too farfetched and convinces no one!