Kashmir/Jammu 318 Deaths, Militant, Civilian Killings Highest in 2017

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE KASHMIR OBSERVER)

 

With 318 Deaths, Militant, Civilian Killings Highest in 2017

Up to 14 December this year, 337 militancy-related incidents were reported in Jammu and Kashmir in which 40 civilians, 75 security personnel and 203 militants were killed and 321 persons injured, the highest in the last four years.


New Delhi—As many as 318 people, including 203 militants and 75 security personnel, were killed in militancy-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir this year, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

In the northeast, 97 people, including 51 insurgents and 12 security personnel, were killed in insurgency-related incidents, Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said during Question Hour.

Up to 14 December this year, 337 militancy-related incidents were reported in Jammu and Kashmir in which 40 civilians, 75 security personnel and 203 militants were killed and 321 persons injured, the highest in the last four years. Ninety-one militants were also arrested.

Referring to incidents in the areas affected by left wing extremism, Ahir said up to November 30 this year, 813 incidents took place leading to the death of 170 civilians, 75 security personnel and 111 left wing extremists. One hundred and forty five people were also injured. He said 1712 left wing extremists were also arrested.

While there have been two attacks each in 2014 and 2015 on defence establishments, six attacks took place in 2016. This year up to 10 December, one defence establishment came under attack.

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Journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, despite all the hardships we still do it, because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying and advertising revenues across the media industry is falling fast.

If everyone who reads our reporting, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure and we will be able to keep our and your perspective going. So if we may ask, we ask your help in keeping the Kashmir Observer’s journalism fair and square.

To resolve the problem in Kashmir, acknowledge the suffering of its people

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE KASHMIR OBSERVER)

 

To resolve the problem in Kashmir, acknowledge the suffering of its people

If the Narendra Modi government has appointed Dineshwar Sharma to arrange the surrender of the separatist movement, nothing will happen


After a year of hammering the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir – killing more than 160 militants in targeted operations in 2017 alone and arresting at least 10 overground separatist leaders for their role in suspicious financial transactions – the Indian government is seeking to apply a balm. These are fairly standard tactics, but will they work?

The answer depends on many factors, primarily the character of the movement.

As of now, it is not clear what exactly Dineshwar Sharma’s role is in Jammu and Kashmir. Union minister Jitendra Singh pointedly said Sharma was not an interlocutor but merely “a special representative” of the government. Indeed, the October 24 notification appointing him described Sharma as a “representative of the government of India” whose task was to “carry forward the dialogue” with elected representatives, various organizations, and individuals. The day before, Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke of Sharma as a “special representative” who would “have full freedom to engage in talks with anyone he likes”.

At one level, it doesn’t really matter. “Interlocutor” was a word of convenience that fitted in the diverse collection of individuals and groups who have sought to work outside formal government structures to suggest solutions for the Kashmir problem. The way the government works, it does not really have to listen to anything such interlocutors tell it. Their role is strictly recommendatory and facilitative.

For the record, there has been no dearth of interlocutors who were interested in promoting a political solution to the issues roiling Kashmir and who had access to the highest levels of government. Some were self-appointed well-meaning folk, others informally asked to do the needful, yet others who were formally appointed and laid out their recommendations in formal reports. The Jammu and Kashmir legislature, too, added its bit by examining the issue of autonomy and sending its recommendations to Delhi in 2000, only to have them rejected peremptorily.

All had one thing in common – they were not the Government of India. At the end of the day, only the central government has the authority to take decisions on such matters. Yet, despite years and decades of reports, recommendations, cogitation, the government has not spelled out what it is willing to offer. True, there have been statements by prime ministers that the “sky is the limit” when it comes to autonomy, or that the issue needs to resolved within the ambit of insaniyat, or humanity. Most recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that Kashmir’s problems could not be resolved by bullets but “only by embracing its people”. But these are rhetorical statements that give no clues as to the Union Government’s bottom line.

Emphasise reconciliation

So what can we expect now? A great deal depends on what Modi wants. If the government has appointed Sharma to arrange the surrender of the separatist movement, nothing will happen. The Kashmiri insurgency is now nearly three decades old, having taken the lives of some 45,000 people, roughly half of them militants, 14,000 civilians and some 6,000 security personnel. The way the government sees it probably is that its policy of relentless police action and attrition has brought the militancy to its knees, and this is the best moment to step in with an offer of political dialogue. It is possible that the movement can be brought to a point of exhaustion by relentless police action. But it is like a fire where even embers can give life to a dying blaze if there is sufficient combustible material around.

Parse that another way and one could argue that having been willing to shed so much blood, Kashmiris will not accept a settlement that offers them nothing more than status quo ante as of January 1, 1990.

So, parse that another way and one could argue that has been willing to shed so much blood, Kashmiris will not accept a settlement that offers them nothing more than status quo ante as of January 1, 1990.

In the government’s reckoning, it is really unemployed youth and the internet that is causing the problem and so if jobs can be assured and the internet kept in check, things will work out. Things are not that simple. Historically, Kashmiris buttressed by geography, have had a sense of their uniqueness. The circumstances of their accession and the commitment of a plebiscite made by India and endorsed by the United Nations remain. No country in the world recognizes Jammu and Kashmir to be a part of India; all see it as disputed territory, including our big friend the United States.

Not many in India realize that the counter-insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir has been brutal. Extra-judicial killings, torture, and intimidation have been its constant features. And this for the last 30 years. So, on one hand, you have a hardened population and, on the other, an embittered one. Therefore, the political effort that you initiate must be thought through. Empty gestures are not going to mean much. Neither will they achieve the end you have in mind – the normalization of the situation.

What needs to be adopted is a perspective that emphasizes reconciliation. That’s a carefully chosen word. A brutal struggle has gone on in Kashmir for the past 30 years. To wish it away or to pretend it did not happen is to live in an imaginary world. The more honorable and pragmatic path is to accept that things happened and are happening and that there is a need to overcome them through the process of dialogue, negotiation, and compromise. The alternative is repeated cycles of violence and alienation, with fits of political intervention that will not really get you anywhere.

The Article First Appeared In Scroll.In

(Manoj Joshi is Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi).

Be part of Open Journalism

At Kashmir Observer we pride ourselves on being open, honest and unbiased. If you have noticed we haven’t put up a paywall, unlike many news organizations, – as we want to keep our journalism open. We believe journalism should be open, fearless and unbiased. Open information helps with informed decisions.

Journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, despite all the hardships we still do it, because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying and advertising revenues across the media industry are falling fast.

If everyone who reads our reporting, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure and we will be able to keep our and your perspective going. So if we may ask, we ask your help in keeping the Kashmir Observer’s journalism fair and square.

Islamabad Pakistan: At Least 434 Militants Have Laid Down Their Weapons

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE KASHMIR OBSERVER NEWSPAPER)

Islamabad: At least 434 militants have layed down arms in Quetta, the capital city of Pakistan’s southwest Balochistan province on Friday.

The Geo TV said that a ceremony was held in Balochistan assembly to mark the inclusion of the militants in the national mainstream.

Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, senior army officers, provincial ministers and other government officials attended the ceremony, Xinhua news agency reported.

The militants belonged to different groups including Baloch Republican Army, Baloch Liberation Army, and different districts of the province.

Addressing the ceremony, Zehri said that the provincial government will provide all possible support to those laying down arms.

“It is our national and moral obligation,” he said.

He said that extremist elements used innocent people of the province to kill other innocent people.

Balochistan government spokesperson Anwarul Haq Kakar said that so far over 1,500 militants have surrendered

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