June 23, 2021
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J&K: Stoned Into Silence

J&K: Stoned Into Silence

A round-up of some of the more balanced media-coverage of J&K over the last two weeks:

First, in Vikram Chandra's Big Fight on July 10, a young Kashmiri boy, I thought, managed to "get through" to the other side, towards the very end of the programme.

On Karan Thapar's India Tonight, the only politician in the current round of controversy who at least knew  what to say --PDP's Muzaffar Hussain Baig (regardless of the role his party may otherwise have played in the whole sorry episode).

Pratap Bhanu Mehta was as perceptive as ever in his column in the Indian Express last week:

The first truth that needs to be acknowledged is that politics in a situation like Kashmir is more deeply psychological, rather than ideological or interest driven. What kind of politics and response is appropriate for a people, who have experienced a particular history of betrayal by the Indian state, whose daily lives have not for more than two decades seen anything outside the horizons of conflict and whose daily lives are marked by a sense of siege? How do you address a generation that has grown up under the spectre of violence and suspicion and with no sense of what normalcy is like? What sediments of fear, anxiety and resentment do you have to work through, to even begin to bridge the chasm that now exists? Delhi’s problem is that it has never understood that political interventions in Kashmir have to be therapeutic, more than technical or political. We can debate the security rationale of our troop strategy in Kashmir. We can acknowledge the toll our strategy is taking on the security forces, whose edginess and internal corrosion are a symptom of the price they have paid. But we have not fully understood what it means to live life under the daily interdictions of security forces, where the freedoms and status associated with citizenship seem so elusive to grasp. We make the mistake of assuming that a modicum of a representative process, the flow of funds, as important as they are, can compensate for the existential scars of living amidst a thick security cover. 

Read on at the Indian Express

David Devadas has a fine piece articulating how the home ministry's knee-jerk response of Goebbelsian propagandavfurther alienates the valley's youth:

As if they were characters in Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, the people of Kashmir, Omar Abdullah's government, and people across much of India view what's occurred in Kashmir from perspectives that make each the victim-hero of their respective versions — the armed forces standing in as India's victim-hero. This is a recipe for disaster. For it accentuates anger, resentment, even hatred, against whichever party is assigned the role of wrongdoer in each narrative. From New Delhi's perspective, stone-pelting teenagers are the bad eggs; the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and local police only fire as a last resort to control these wanton lawbreakers. In this narrative, jawans have shown great restraint. Pictures published and telecast across India last month showed jawans cowering as Kashmiri boys assault them.

Read the full piece here: The Kashmir Stories 

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