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Published On:25 April 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

A complex Kashmir society: North wails slain militants, South cries for governance


By Bashir Assad

Srinagar:  From massive participation in Panchyat elections to pro-freedom demonstrations and from complete shutdown on death anniversaries of slain militants  to protests demanding better civic facilities, from killing people on basis of differences in opinion to demand for nabbing the killers-everything  goes simultaneously in Kashmir. A complex conflict zone   presents an equally complex Kashmir society which forces the observers and analysts to redefine Kashmir.

When the government in the month of February decided to hold Panchayat elections in the state after a pretty long time, taking cue from the summer 2010 unrest, observers even political parties were apprehensive of a complete boycott of the elections in Kashmir valley, however, government wittingly or otherwise went for it which proved path breaking in the backdrop of overwhelming participation of the voters in Kashmir. Those who opposed participation of people in panchayat elections were taken aback and those who advocated participation abruptly started doing politics over the enthusiasm of voters in the trouble torn valley. However, the government or the political parties engaged in power politics could not read between the lines which, of course is writing on wall for them. There is a growing opinion in Kashmir that democracy at the highest level in assembly has failed to provide a breathing space to aam aadmi  when it comes to sadak, bijli aur pani in the state.  It is this widening distance between the rulers and the ruled that forced the entire population to participate massively in civic polls. Neither rulers nor the separatists could understand their compulsions.  “We don’t have proper roads, drinking water facilities or other amenities. At least, these local representatives can strive for these on behalf of the villages”  is the explanation that almost every voter offers to his participation in the panchayat elections. This simple explanation is a befitting answer to both-rulers and separatists-who should hang their heads in shame.

However, the complex Kashmir society on Saturday had one more lesson for its masters when Baramullah town in North Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on death anniversary of two slain HM militants who were killed by the security forces on this day some four years back. On the other hand Anantnag town in South Kashmir was on roads protesting dilapidated conditions of these roads, erratic power supply and non availability of other civic facilities.

A complete shutdown was observed across the Baramulla district of north Kashmir today (April 23, 2011) to commemorate the death anniversary of two famous Hizb commanders killed in a gun-battle with forces four years ago. Almost all schools, colleges, shops and business establishments remained closed for the day.

Meanwhile hundreds of people including men, women and aged Saturday (April 23, 2011) took to streets in Anantnag town raising anti-administration slogans and criticising the government for non-performance. The protesters blocked the main road leading to the town due to which there was a huge traffic jam for about three hours. However, protesters latter dispersed from the spot   after the assurances held out by the district administration and traffic resumed on the roads.

Is this confusion confounded by conflict or helplessness of the people that forces them to adopt the ostrich-like attitude? Let thinkers decide.

[Bashir Assad is a senior Journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He is now Bureau Chief (J&K) of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at bashirassad@rediffmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on April 25, 2011. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on April 25, 2011. Filed under , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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