Is this a ceasefire? Setting homes ablaze only makes it a farce

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only, says author George Orwell of 1984 fame, because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

But last night, the Kakpora residents in Pulwama district couldn’t sleep a wink, as the violence unleashed by “rough men” was directed on them, rather done on their behalf.

Freshly arriving from mosques, the faithful found themselves in the middle of a freakish fight, to save their locality from becoming a big pyre.

The alarming scenes captured in a viral video made yet another farce of the false-flagged Ceasefire that New Delhi on the regional government’s insistence declared in the Valley with the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan.

As a specimen of war crime, the video captures a voice in the background, probably of a local recording it, who calls the attention of netizens regarding an attempted conflagration of his community. The haystacks can be seen burning around the houses.

The video came when the ire against the desecration of fallen Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sameer Tiger’s grave continues. The Kakpora incident, many say, was Indian army’s counterinsurgent unit, Rashtriya Rifles’ attempt to try to torch the local Jaish-e-Muhammad militant Adil’s house.

But the bigger motive behind the army’s power-frenzied attempt, ably shielded by AFSPA’s impunity cover, was to unleash a bigger inferno.

Why? Because, the locals say, army wanted to make an example of them, for wearing defiance up their sleeves.

On the larger scale, the video is a new (low) shot in the arm of Indian army and that of its allies in Kashmir. It has surfaced at a time when New Delhi is coming of its long shell of reticence, to offer talks to Kashmir’s NIA hounded resistance camp.

As the Joint Resistance Leadership lately met at Hyderpora, they gave green signal to talks—if only the powers of the day end ambiguity in the process.

Amid these reconciliatory moves, the miffed military shadowing the defiant pockets of South seems to follow their own methods to unleash new madness. Such military moves are fast making wreckage of lifetime incomes and people’s love of labour.

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Such attempts are on a rise, despite many Indian military vets—posted in Kashmir during those harrowing days of nineties when Indian forces would preside over kill ops—argue: force only begets force.

And therefore, some of them tried Sadbhavna, as the WHAM—Winning Hearts and Minds—project.

Years later, even as the WHAM failed to contain the dissent, some of them now argue that it’s indeed a political problem, which can’t be handled militarily.

But that doesn’t seem to stop New Delhi to use its military muscle to crack whip on the political dissent, mainly stemming for the Right to Self Determination.

However, as Modi government remains unrelenting, the military has found a new target: orchards.

If burning haystacks toward the fag-end of 2016 reminded many of Libya under Italian control, then the axing of orchards in Shopian lately brought home the memories of Arpil 1979, when similar attempts had exposed the deep fault-lines in political loyalties of Kashmir.

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And now, when the military muscle is increasingly being used to cut the Valley’s defiance to size, it seems to have a larger backing in the times when ultra-nationalists are driving the world politics.

And given how the world is already grappling with the larger crises, such brazen attempts hardly become a spark for a global outcry.

Barring what Islamabad attempted post-2016 uprising, most of these mounting assaults on civilians population have seemingly become a part of life—if not, an escalating sign of the military waywardness, in the world’s most good-looking garrison.

Amid these attacks, New Delhi is terming Ramzan Ceasefire a part of its K-management strategy—minus firepower. But the fast emerging situation that even left Srinagar’s Grand Mosque in a pool of blood lately defy such claims.

The situation is clearly reflecting the reluctance earlier exhibited by a military-intelligence apparatus against the month-long armistice in Kashmir. The IB and Indian Army had opposed it, even as MHA and NSA had approved the ceasefire.

Days later when the controversial Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat arrived in the Valley amidst Major Gogoi’s another loose move, he spoke high of the ceasefire, and wanted civilians to feel a period of relative calm.

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But for the general who has already blurred distinction between civilians and combatants in Kashmir with his “dirty war” doctrine, the utterances only proved another decorated military talk. His boys are apparently following some other script on the ground.

They’re repeatedly making punching bags of civilians, after Kashmir militant leadership refused to acknowledge the “truce”—which it never was, in the first place—and rattled some military installations.

Recently when IED made a comeback in Kashmir’s conflict theatre, wounding three army men, the armed forces entered houses and ransacked properties in Shopian. The Hizb commander Zeenat-ul-Islam’s family paid the price, despite telling the forces that “it’s between him and you”.

The intrusion came despite the incumbent top cop SP Vaid and army top brass, exhorting rebels that it’s between us—“Let’s not involve families.”

By regularly storming houses and ransacking one’s lifetime’s income, the forces are vindicating the army chief’s “dirty war” doctrine, where they’re increasingly hounding homes, for hunting their rivals. And in the process, they’re leaving behind a trail of anger, which explodes the moment army tries to host an Iftaar party.


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