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Kashmir Watch

As about-turns in the three-year-old BJP government go, this must be among the shortest and most important tweets issued by any BJP leader. And although Prime Minister Modi spent Diwali with soldiers in Gurez less than a week ago, it was left to Home minister Rajnath Singh to announce a major policy shift on Jammu & Kashmir at 4 pm on Monday afternoon.

 

Security forces can encounter militants, not engage with people and adversaries the way politicians do. In that sense, the Centre’s decisions to appoint an interlocutor, albeit not a politician, for dialogue with all stakeholders in Kashmir is a positive step.

 

 

Union Minister Jitendra Singh on October 14 said “militants are on the run” and that militancy in Jammu and Kashmir is in its “last phase”.

 

With over 100 incidents of braid chopping reported in different parts of Kashmir, there is widespread fear and anger among the people.

 

Braid-chopping incidents have added to the already piled up anxieties of Kashmiris. Once again they are out on the streets, to give vent to their anger. A few persons, believed to be braid-choppers were caught hold by irate mobs at various places. They were beaten to pulp.

 

It is nothing but plain atmosphere of fear. The mysterious scissoring of locks of women is crossing the limit where it could be dismissed as isolated, stray incident.

 

I have always argued that the index of ‘normalcy’ in the tumultuous state of Jammu and Kashmir must never be measured by over-simplistic indices like over-booked flights and tourists on the Boulevard in Srinagar.

 

 

An interesting anecdote about a great Indian soldier, Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, is lodged in my memory since childhood.

 

Norwegian Rafto Foundation has acknowledged the two most influential human rights defenders from Kashmir, Parveena Ahangar and Imroz Parvez, with a joint award.

 

The most read news published in several daily newspapers and their online editions in last few days has been those of braid-cutting incidents that are spreading from one district to another.

 


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