How Militants in Kashmir Valley Robbed Me of My Childhood

Kashmir is known for its natural beauty and people from all across the world desire to visit here once to grasp the images of mountains covered with snow, the streams singing the songs of peace and especially the hospitality of people here. However, what prompted many to see the beauty of Kashmir is the militancy that continued for decades here with the active support of Pakistan, which kept the pot boiling here for the vested interests.

The militancy related activities have effected thousands of lives, making the children orphans, women widows and even hundreds of families lost their shelter as well. The youth picking up arms is only adding to the miseries of the people and certainly would lead nowhere as the gun culture could only lead towards disastrous situations. The government, especially the security forces at present, are fighting the new age militancy in which mostly the civilians and the security forces as well as policemen are being targeted. As witnessed in the past proxy wars, there is no future of the new age militancy as well, as the government is responding to the situation very sensibly and has successfully managed to put the graph of militants as well as the recruitment rate down in the Valley, which indicates the end of the gun culture in near future. Nonetheless, the militants of today’s era, have been using the social media platforms to keep the pot boiling and are connecting with their handlers based in Pakistan to receive the directions from there. It has been witnessed that the youth after joining the militant ranks are uploading their photos on the social media platforms, and get connected to the other youth as well to radicalize them and increase the number of active militants in Kashmir.

The security forces, however, have been keeping close vigil on the social media platforms and have so far successfully saved lives of many of them by preventing them from joining militant ranks. This way, the security forces have not been fighting against the culture, but also against the misuse of the technology as well.

However, as the security forces have put pressure on the militants and their handlers since the last couple of years to eliminate the extremism and militancy, there is every possibility that the Pakistan based handlers will try to give fillip to the radicalization, separatism again here to keep the guns roaring. As the ongoing ceasefire led to the peace along the Line of Control in J&K, the militants have been continuously trying to sneak into this part of Kashmir. While the attempts to rejuvenate the militancy is going on, the people of Kashmir have been yearning for peace and prosperity as the people living in different parts across the Valley have understood the fact that the bloodshed has and will never bring any fruit.

The people due to the presence of guns have suffered huge losses since the 90’s. The frequent shutdowns and the attacks on security forces, civilians and policemen, even the encounters, forced the closure of shops, markets and other business establishments, which left the people here, lurch at large. Kashmir is known for its cultural diversity. It is a place which has a diverse blend of various cultures.

People from different religions like Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist have created a composite culture of the Valley and is commonly known as Kashmiriyat across the globe. Kashmiriyat is famous all across the world for the examples created by the people here, who belong to different communities like Kashmiri Pandits, Kashmiri Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and others.

The people here respect the sentiments of each other, even many of the times, have been providing unexpected assistance to their neighbors, who belong to other communities.

On festivals like Eid, Diwali and others, the secular identity in the Valley always depicts the brotherhood among the community, who celebrate the festivals in unison while in the times of tragedy, the funerals or the cremations are being done by the people from other communities. Kashmir is a place where the people don’t have one ideology, but have different beliefs and are following the diverse ideologies. However, some people who have taken up arms have been trying to thrust upon their ideology on the people, by targeting the civilians for the reasons that they don’t believe and want the gun culture to continue.

One must understand that such forcible actions can never help in bringing peace, but would certainly leave the people to lurch at large. If people cannot respect the beliefs and ideologies, they should at least tolerate having different opinions, for which Kashmir is known.

Courtesy : Irfan Hussain

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