Demonetising’ stones

The good news is that the BJP government has regained Kashmir back to the mainstream. A dream of bliss the New Delhi has been dreaming for the last 69 years, but never getting it realized. They waged three wars and sliced Bangladesh out from Pakistan but Kashmir kept haunting them. Despite converting Kashmir into world’s largest militarized zone and crushing the political dissent with PSA like black laws, the dominant political narrative, in conflict with state narrative, has not faded a bit, much less changed. The defiant looks stares at the face, Kashmiris cannot be bullied into submission.

From BJP’s spokesperson to party high command, from the defence minister to HRD minister, all are seen wearing badges of valor and, simultaneously, burping out in fulsome long belch. BJP government, they claim have launched a ‘financial surgical strike’ and this they believe will prove ‘ the final nail in the coffin of separatism and militancy in Kashmir’. Defense minister Manohar Parikhar said there was a rate list, where ‘one would get Rs. 500 for stone pelting and Rs. 1000 for something else’. And now scrapping of high denomination currency notes, resistance movement, they think, will be starved of the money routed through what they allege hawala transaction. It implies that present uprising against Delhi’s control, and earlier ones too, are not indigenous. They are sponsored from Pakistan. And ‘bribed’ by her. It also explains that the stone throwers are mired in impoverishment and they have taken to the ‘lucrative business’ to feed their families. Well, if youths of Kashmir are driven to stone pelting just for petty Rs 500/1000, why then Ambani’s, Tata’s and Birla’s land and a country claiming ‘world’s fastest growing economy’ cannot by increasing ‘rate list’ outsmart a comparatively poor country and defeat its ‘instigating activities’ and swoon people of Kashmir in its fold. And, thus, swallow Kashmir in one gulp, without earning the censure of being an oppressor that holds Kashmir by military might. By the way can Rs 500 tempt a teen ager to come out from his home and get pelted to blindness or crippled for life? Even a beggar from outside state who feeds on Kashmiri’s left off loaves will refuse to stand before the live ammunition. It is only commitment for a higher noble objective that galvanizes people, especially youth, to rise in protest against injustice.

Now, after the ‘magic’ strike—that shows BJP swirling its moustaches in jubilant etiquette—and after eradicating financial ventilator from the leaders that spearheaded the 2016 Intifada, it shouldn’t be worrying for the government to release the pro-resistance activists and leaders. But, instead it is stuffing the jails with more people and hunt goes on to nab the youth. What does this oxymoronic disposition of the state convey?

HRD minister Prakash Javdekar presents conducting exams in feats equal only to winning Waterloo. Referring to 85000 students appearing for exams in Kashmir, he remarked, ‘I am proud of those children and their parents who are the strength of Delhi. Education is the way to progress. They have understood and given this befitting reply. We have seen the surgical strike of the army, but this reply given by the students is also powerful surgical strike.’ He termed it their `reply’ against those who ‘ design to break the country’. Going by that logic, Delhi has won the war in Kashmir.

Heaven save us from this kind of political venality. A simple academic issue has been politicized to such callous pitch. From Sallahudin to Geelani, to civil society to newspaper editors and common man, all were asking only deferment of exams to March, not cancellation. How on earth, it can be read ‘Delhi response’ against the movement and the leadership? If you read it in that perspective, a simple suggestion we offer. Ask these children who you pat as ‘strength’ to march on the streets of Srinagar in full media glare with tricolor in hand on any day of your choosing. Do this ‘ surgical strike’ to silence Geelani and Co. That will settle Kashmir once and for all.