Day 49 and Kashmir seems nowhere near semblance of normality. On one hand, the government is imposing curfew and restrictions unabatedly and on the other hand, the protestors are attempting to break these restrictions religiously. And over and above, the separatist leadership is busy issuing protest programmes frequently without giving any respite to the common people. 68 people have died during the present turmoil and thousands, both civilians and government forces personnel have sustained injuries. Life has come to a halt. Schools are closed and parents are helplessly thinking about the future of their kids; shops and business establishments are closed and stocks of essentials have started drying up. Daily earners are the worst hit as, with every passing day, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to feed their families. Patients can’t reach hospitals and needy can’t get any help. Kashmir has turned into a gigantic human crisis and neither the government nor the separatist leadership shows any concern for the welfare of the common people. While the government is busy trying to establish its writ and therefore has given its forces free hand to harass and victimize the people, the separatist leadership too is not lagging behind. By asking people to stop government employees from attending their jobs, the separatist leadership too is trying to impose its own brand of curfew. And in the fight between government and separatist leadership, the common people are losing everything – their dear ones, the education of their children, their economy and above all the peace of mind.
The curfew and restrictions and protest programmes of separatist leadership are nothing new in Kashmir. We have seen it in 2008 and then again in 2010. During those protests too we lost the lives of our dear ones; our children were forced to remain out of schools and our economy had got a severe beating. What was the end result? Kashmiris achieved nothing, nothing at all. We may not have many expectations from the government regarding understanding of peoples’ pain but what about the separatist leadership? Isn’t this leadership claiming to be representing the ‘sentiments’ of the commoners? If it is true, why the leadership is not concerned about those who couldn’t feed their families unless they are allowed to move out and earn? Why the leadership is not concerned about the children who can’t attend their schools and thus are inching towards a dark future? Questions are to be raised because it is the future of the entire nation that is at stake. There is a sadistic section of the society that takes pleasure in the sufferings of the commoners. Having access to the internet (which is denied to the vast majority), they are glamorizing the stone pelting and thus encouraging poor kids to die while themselves sitting in safe office chambers and cozy drawing rooms and having the security of curfew passes etc. If the separatist leadership is convinced that their prolonged protest programme would finally resolve Kashmir issue, let it be. But if after all these deaths and destruction, Kashmir situation remains what it is, they will be held responsible for peoples’ sufferings. They have declared the government as enemy so no one will have any expectations from the enemy. But if they fail to get Azadi, Kashmiris should be given freedom to decide who are enemies and who not.