Kashmir that is in the grip of violence since the late 80s has seen loss of human lives on regular basis, be it that of civilians, government forces (GFs) or militants. However, it is an irony that the claimed representatives of Kashmir and the Kashmiris always shy away from authenticating the loss of lives of GFs with their protest/band calls remaining confined mostly to the killings of militants and sometimes the civilians. It is valid to question whether separatists consider the GFs and the civilians as the creation of a lesser God, when most the lives lost are from their own community, either police personnel or the civilians. Several such instances come in our mind when loss of innocent lives went un-noticed but the case of a 12 year old boy, Atif Mir, who was held hostage by militants in Hajin, Bandipora and subsequently killed, on March 23 this year, despite several appeals by his family members, shook the conscious of the entire society, not only in Valley but that of the entire nation. Similarly, on the night of January 31, 2019 a video had surfaced in social media where a 22year old lady namely Ishrat Muneer Bhat, a resident of Dangerpora, Pulwama was shot dead after branding her as an informer, a claim that her family had refuted. There are numerous such incidents that will shake the conscience of any individual but the Kashmiri politicians, civil society members and most importantly the separatists always shirk their social responsibility by mere condemnation massages, that too from social media platforms while sitting in their comfort zones. Why the separatists refrain from issuing a protest programme, a bandh call or a march call to the UN office on such instances? Is their reaction and perception biased when it comes to glorifying the killing of militants?
It is also a well established fact that army, paramilitary and JK Police personnel have been killed during all these years. They too deserve equal dignity as they also belong to the same human race that the separatists have been born in. The killing of SHO Anantnag, lnspector Arshad Ahmed that was recognised by entire nation with moist eyes and none other than the Union Home Minister visited his home at Batmaloo to express his condolences on behalf entire nation, also did not move the separatists who preferred to toe their old line of only glorifying the gun totting militants both locals and those from across, whom they brand as their saviours. The killing of constable Farooq Ahmed Reshi, PSO of Mufti Sajjad Hussain yesterday (July 19) while they were coming out of a mosque in Bijbehara after offering the Friday prayers too raise a question over the ethics being followed by the militants and their advocators. Such is the situation that even places of worship are out of bound for any man in uniform in Valley and they have been denied their religious rights at the hands of militants and their supporters. Do the separatists and the hardliners not owe the moral responsibility of guiding such elements who are resorting to such acts in pious localities? A similar incident had taken place in Jamia Masjid Nowhatta in June 2017 when DSP Ayub Pandith was lynched by a mob for his only fault of ensuring a safe environment for the people who were visiting the mosque. Did the head priest of the mosque who was none other than Mirwaiz Umar Farooq come forward to ensure justice to him? Did he take to any peaceful protest programme against his followers who carried out this act that was more uncivilized than the ancient Roman times?
Despite the fact that GFs have been exercising utmost restraint in dealing with civilians, students and protesters during the encounters, protest marches and other such programmes, the use of force to contain the situation sometimes leads to loss of lives on both sides. Nevertheless it is an accepted and understood fact that the separatist leadership in Kashmir has double standards and they glorify deaths from one camp and maintain an eerie silence on deaths from the other one. Kashmir has been claimed to be conflict zone by several stake holders but the more vocal ones have never taken any initiative to stop the vicious cycle of killings and violence. The separatists that claim to be the sole representatives of the Kashmiris have always maintained silence over the role of Pakistan militants who infiltrate in valley and have fuelled an unending violent cycle that has led to loss of thousands of innocent lives. Those glorifying their acts also need to justify the cause when it comes to their constant acts of violence even during the holy month of Ramzan. Going by the available figures, about 40 incidents of violence were witnessed during this Ramzan in which two policemen and 11 Kashmiris lost their lives. This also led to killing of 30 millitants.
In the wake of this situation every inhabitant of Kashmir wants to know where the Separatist leadership is guiding them or do they actually have any role left in Valley? When Mirwaiz was questioned by NIA at New Delhi, Yasin Malik was arrested and shifted to a jail outside J&K, Shabir Shah is in jail from a long time, Geelani is confined to himself due to old age, who is guiding this so-called separatist struggle? These leaders who have proved their incapability to even defend themselves would no longer be acceptable as a guiding force to the Kashmiris. When they have been unable to support each other during this hour of need, their capability and will to do some good to the Kashmiri masses does comes under scanner. They have also failed to curb the radicalisation of the moderate lslam that Kashmir was known for since the centuries, at the hands of foreign mercenaries and it surely has had its adverse impact in the form of support for such elements and organizations.
The separatist leadership is at its lowest ebb since they came to existence with their mass base dwindling at a fast pace, differences among their constituents, internal leadership conflicts, drying up of finances, pressure from the security agencies, decrease of support from Pakistan due to its isolation at international level and many more such reasons. As such they are left with no other option but to show their humane face by reaching out to the real problems being faced by the Kashmiris and not by merely using them as scapegoats. They should understand that common masses are well aware of their ideology that was recently evident from give a bandh call after the killing of militant commander Zakir Moosa, who had threatened separatists themselves and remaining silent over several innocent killings during the holy month of Ramzan. Such duplicity calls for retrospection among the separatists; but more importantly among the common Kashmiris.