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  India   All India  21 Aug 2019  ‘Kashmiri anger may erupt into major violence’

‘Kashmiri anger may erupt into major violence’

THE ASIAN AGE. | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published : Aug 21, 2019, 5:22 am IST
Updated : Aug 21, 2019, 5:22 am IST

Kashmir, under a security lockdown since August 4 night, has by its own standards been peaceful.

Several retired security and intelligence officials who have served in the state and other Kashmir experts have corroborated this view.  (Photo: AP)
 Several retired security and intelligence officials who have served in the state and other Kashmir experts have corroborated this view. (Photo: AP)

Srinagar: Several intelligence agencies are reported to have cautioned the Centre that anger is at its height among the people of Kashmir and some other parts of J&K over its recent move to strip the state of its autonomy and by splitting it into two Union territories; and this may spill over and even burst into major violence sooner or later.

Several retired security and intelligence officials who have served in the state and other Kashmir experts have corroborated this view. They are learnt to have told the power centres in New Delhi that precise and tangible steps may be initiated quickly to address some of the people’s core concerns, particularly over the domicile issue, to preclude “probable pervasive turbulence”.

Kashmir, under a security lockdown since August 4 night, has by its own standards been peaceful. Though protests and clashes between irate crowds and security forces do take place in Srinagar almost on a daily basis, these have remained restricted to a few pockets of the summer capital. A few places outside Srinagar too have witnessed only brief and limited such clashes.

The J&K police continues to be on an arrest spree and has with members of Central armed police forces raided homes and, in some cases, even allegedly ransacked or damaged them. But local observers say that it is because of the unprecedented restraint exercised by the security forces while tackling stone-pelting mobs that has helped towards making it a somewhat localised affair.

Further, with almost all mainstream leaders and activists and those from the separatist camp having been jailed or put under house arrest, the people perceive themselves to be “leaderless” and virtually caught in a high and dry situation. Paradoxically, key separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are maintaining a conspicuous silence over the issues.

While some officials of the security and administrative apparatus hope that the resentment in the local populace  over the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and splitting the state into two UTs will “fizzle out” with time, some Kashmir experts feel that the perceived “quiet” could well be a “lull before the storm”.

“Anger is at its height and many people are desperate. They may vent their rage, sadness and disappointment out on the streets unless the government comes up with the required measures to address their concerns,” said a retired police official who served in Kashmir during the heyday of militancy and the 2008-09 unrest.

Various political and civil society groups in Jammu and Ladakh have urged the Centre to evolve a mechanism towards safeguarding the identity and interests of various communities of the two regions. This, they said, could be a law or regulation on the pattern of Articles 371 and 372 and the existing tribal laws to ensure that only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir remain entitled to own land and immovable properties in the two Union territories. They have sought a similar legal guarantee on jobs in government and other official agencies. “The people at the helm of affairs in Delhi must take a call on these issues,” said Gulshan Singh Charak, a prominent Dogra leader of Jammu.

Tags: kashmir issue, syed ali shah geelani