Tackling terror: On J&K civilian deaths

The uptick in the number of deaths of civilians, including those of the minority community after terror attacks recently is a major setback when the number of violent incidents in the Kashmir Valley was the lowest in five years. Orchestrated allegedly by a shadowy force calling itself The Resistance Front (TRF), termed by security forces as being set up by the LeT, the killings have resulted in fear gripping the Valley’s minority Hindu and Sikh communities. Notwithstanding statements from mainstream political parties and separatist organisations condemning the violence, many Kashmiri Pandit and Sikh employees abstained from work or took leave temporarily, worried about their security. This is an unfortunate outcome that calls to mind the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits due to terror attacks in the early 1990s. The reversal of this dangerous trend requires not only a reassurance of security from the Government for members of the minority communities such as the Pandits and the Sikhs but also a commitment for solidarity with the victims from the various political forces and civil society. The targeted nature of the killings by a “faceless” terror group suggests that its aim was to use the disquiet in the Valley with the recent administrative and political measures to foment communal discord and violence.

Beyond the condemnation from the polity, civil society in such situations must take the initiative to foster communal amity and to mobilise people across communities against hatred. In this regard, the recent appeals by some masjids in Srinagar requesting the public to show solidarity with the victims and to prevent the furthering of fear among Kashmiri Pandits is a welcome step indicating an intention to not let the situation deteriorate to what happened in the early 1990s. The UT administration followed up with a strong crackdown on the insurgency seeking to isolate and quell the militant network that is allegedly responsible for the attacks. While the reactions from the polity and civil society and the administrative actions by the Government are necessary, they are not sufficient to restore normalcy in the Valley. The suspension of the polity with the absence of an elected Assembly, and the stasis and alienation that had set in since the abrogation of J&K’s special status, its bifurcation and designation as a Union Territory would make the job of administration even more difficult. An immediate renewal of political dialogue to address this along with the restoration of Statehood and the complete resumption of political and press freedoms will help create the environment to isolate and tackle terror in the region.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 10:38:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/tackling-terror-the-hindu-editorial-on-jk-civilian-deaths/article37013252.ece

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