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What Nightlife, Cricket And Cinemas Have To Do With Kashmir Solution

Why is it that playing cricket, conducting football tournaments or smiling and laughing by Kashmiris is linked to signs of normalcy and ultimate solution of Kashmir?

What Nightlife, Cricket And Cinemas Have To Do With Kashmir Solution
Like in other states, the youth in J&K too fall in love and some live happily ever-after and some suffer break ups.
File Photo

Satya Pal Malik took over as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir on August 23, replacing N.N Vohra, under whose tenure the Governor’s rule was imposed four times in the valley. Vohra was not a politician and he would not give any political statement. However, the new Governor Satya Pal Malik has political background and it was expected he'll speak like a politician. He has not disappointed either. 

Recently, the Governor has stated that "46 per cent of youth who are in the age group of 13-20 have nothing to do after 6 p.m", and that "there are no cinema halls and no coffee shops." He has also suggested to Rajiv Shukla, chairman on the Indian Premier League (IPL), that Jammu and Kashmir should have a separate cricket team. The Governor also perceives that the problems in Kashmir are because of two rigged elections by the Congress party. 

It is true that the security scenario in Kashmir for past 29 years has been such that people prefer to return home early in the evening. At the same time thousands of Kashmiri youth are actively engaged in sports activities, playing cricket, football and other games as youth do in other States. They play in the stadiums, in open spaces, public parks, and they also play on the deserted roads whenever the Valley observers shutdown. They also go for trekking in large numbers. In all tourist places of the Valley you will see more Kashmiri youth than tourists.

There are coffee shops everywhere in Srinagar and other towns. New ones are opened every other month. There are coffee shops which host musical concerts and book reading sessions. In spite of the security situation in the Valley, Kashmiri youth appear in competitive exams and qualify them. Some get good ranks. Others get admissions on merit in foreign universities. Like in other states, the youth here too fall in love and some live happily ever-after and some suffer break ups.   

Problem arises when playing cricket, conducting football tournaments or smiling and laughing by Kashmiris is linked to signs of normalcy and ultimate solution of Kashmir. Kashmir is neither a nightlife issue nor an issue of cinema halls.  Some years ago, when the Broadway Cinema was opened, the owners found that selling liquor was much profitable as no one would visit the Cinema to see a film. 

Since the rigged elections of 1987, many elections have been held in Jammu and Kashmir. Mehbooba Mufti describes 2002 elections as the "fairest election" in the history of J&K. In 2008, Kashmir saw over 60 percent voting after the unrest that year in which 60 people were killed and thousands of others injured. But the voting percentage didn’t solve the problem. Over 112 youths were killed in 2010 uprising. The large scale protests in 2010, according to the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, were triggered by killing of the three youths in fake encounter by the Army in the Machil sector of the LoC. 

In 2014 a large number of people participated in the elections as 76 percent of the electorate voted that year, bringing the PDP-BJP to the power. In 2016, Kashmir witnessed unprecedented mass uprising in which the security forces killed nearly 100 people and over 20,000 were wounded by pellets and bullets. Had elections been the solution, the issue would have been resolved long back. 

Governor Malik meets politicians like Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah. They constantly talk about the restoration of "autonomy" as the solution. Mehbooba Mufti also meets Governor. Her party has roadmap of the "self-rule" as solution. Sajad Gani Lone also has a roadmap and it is known as "achievable nationhood".  The Central Government also has a roadmap seen in the Interlocutor’s report posted at the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Interlocutors in 2010 were appointed by the Prime Minister. There is another report of the Central Government on Kashmir: Justice Sagheer Commission report. All these road maps talk about political Kashmir, not nightlife, cricket and Cinema. 

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