Shooting the messenger in Kashmir

Missing the woods for the trees can neither salvage the government’s image, nor address the crisis.

Written by Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal | Srinagar | Published:May 9, 2017 4:59 pm
Mehbooba Mufti, Kashmir, Kashmir violence, media kashmir, indian express news Mehbooba’s denial of ground realities is a complete mismatch from the disorder her own government today suffers from. (Source: File)

On May 8, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti lectured the media about showing Kashmiris in poor light or branding them all as stone pelters. A day before, her government sought action against 34 TV channels beamed from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Mufti’s comments about a section of the media thriving on the negative portrayal of Kashmiri youth and displaying an inherent bias against Kashmir may not be entirely misplaced. Many TV channels do paint Kashmiris as ‘anti-nationals’, provoked and paid by terror groups. They refuse to accommodate the many shades of the Kashmir conflict. And yet her sweeping remarks for all of the national media were surely an example of superficial, glib commentary.

In fact, Mehbooba was trivialising the Kashmir situation by describing the present cycle of violence merely as another up-and-down the Valley has seen since 1947. She insisted that this was reversible. But this denial of ground realities is a complete mismatch from the disorder her own government today suffers from.

If the situation is indeed not as distressing as Mehbooba tries to argue, what explains the excessive militarisation of civilian space in the Valley today and the brutalisation of the masses at the hands of security and police personnel? What explains her government’s inability to reach out to the people, particularly youth?

Today, there is a complete disconnect between angry and frustrated youth and politicians who are unable to visit their own constituencies. This disconnect existed even in the early 1990s, but the present level of anguish and frustration that brings youth, armed only with a stone and no sense of fear, to grapple with armed forces on the streets is far more acute than when youth first picked up guns to fight the Indian state.

Quite often, journalists from the so-called “Indian mainland,” particularly news channel anchors accentuate the sense of humiliation that feeds into the existing alienation.

But the fact remains that the present crisis is not a making of these news anchors, however irresponsible their journalism. Such hallucinations that allow the government the luxury of finding convenient guinea pigs to blame for the Kashmir mess is no different from the official discourse of ‘miscreants’, ‘unemployment’, ‘drug addiction’ and terror funding, all of which are seen as the causes of youth unrest.

Missing the woods for the trees can neither salvage the government’s image, nor address the crisis.

Mehbooba’s fresh remarks follow a pattern. Last July, the state government banned local newspapers for 10 days, raided newspaper offices and took technical staffers of some publications into custody. Both internet and mobile phones were banned. Ironically, Mehbooba had earlier been strongly critical of her political adversary Omar Abdullah, during whose tenure similar methods of gagging voices and media were pretty much frequent.

Since last month, curbs have been placed on 3G connectivity and social media including facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp.

On Sunday, the state government cracked down on 34 channels, including not just religious and news channels but also a sports channel, two culinary channels and a music channel. The government said “they had the potential to encourage violence and disturb the law and order situation in Kashmir, and are not permitted for transmission.”

The state government’s misplaced paranoia, its knee-jerk reactions as well as ill-thought words have no power to turn the tide of the undifferentiated anger seen on the streets of Kashmir today.

That stems from the deliberate or otherwise political inability to address the politics associated with the decades-old political dispute, militarisation and excessive brutality. So, why shoot the messenger?

The author is Executive Editor, Kashmir Times

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  1. I
    iqbal mir
    May 10, 2017 at 8:44 pm
    She is sel pain and agony for power It is not therefore surpriseing to see poltical dogs running amok Kashmir conflict is getting a huge push from the brewing discontent almost on all fronts
    Reply
    1. D
      Deepak Sharma
      May 10, 2017 at 8:38 pm
      Centre govtment talk Kashmiri leaders & stan Prime Minister talk Only talk War no solution
      Reply
      1. D
        Deepak Sharma
        May 10, 2017 at 8:44 pm
        Talk stan Prime Minister Centre Govtment
        Reply
      2. R
        rohit
        May 10, 2017 at 7:53 pm
        Everything is fine.
        Reply
        1. E
          Employ Ment
          May 10, 2017 at 12:18 pm
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          Reply
          1. A
            autonomous
            May 10, 2017 at 9:20 am
            Centre Gov should consult to gov officers from the valley to help them track the militant hideouts & consult with old imams whose voices are shut down buy the radicalised militants.
            Reply
            1. D
              Dipak
              May 10, 2017 at 6:42 am
              The Mufti lady, like her father, kept blaming rest of India for her inadequate control over Kashmir. Now she is afraid of the Governor taking over. So now she will do anything to survive. Suddenly she started kissing _____ a___.
              Reply
              1. S
                s s nair
                May 10, 2017 at 5:51 am
                This lady is just carbon copy of Modi. She cannot blame others for her failure.
                Reply
                1. Z
                  zeed
                  May 10, 2017 at 5:20 am
                  Please don't teach a pig how to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. The core of the problem is that the cretin Hindus feel victorious by harassing the nearest Muslim. It is yet another opportunity to squeeze out another inch of aurangzebs long mughlai finger from out of their black rear ends. They don't have a chip on the shoulder they have phinger in the goo
                  Reply
                  1. N
                    Nishant
                    May 9, 2017 at 9:47 pm
                    Time has come when the kids in kashmir should be taught how to behave. The stick has its own rules, Let its rule begin and see the dance. One shouldn't be always fare when dea with crooks. I still wonder how afganis can easily control kashmiris :-)
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      Mandeep S
                      May 9, 2017 at 11:23 pm
                      We may probably have to teach ourselves first how to behave, then only can we expect kids to behave properly. If we pick an innocent person from some village, tie to our jeep and parade across 20 villages, what do we expect the kids of those village to do? If we behave like s, not identifying our own b ers, what can we expect from others?
                      Reply
                      1. L
                        Lonestar
                        May 10, 2017 at 2:28 am
                        Have you bothered to find out why that happened. Is any of your blood relative in serving in the militant area. Please feel free to comment afte you know the entire truth. They are as much kidss those who blow themselves in the name of Islam. This is not a battle for land but for Relogious predominance. Are you naive or stupid.
                        1. A
                          autonomous
                          May 10, 2017 at 9:16 am
                          Extremely Radicalised Kashmiri's gonna reap what they sow for these long years .
                        2. Z
                          zeed
                          May 10, 2017 at 5:23 am
                          Time has come... We should... Let us... Interesting ways puny minds begin their thinking. Kuch karega bhi bc
                          Reply
                        3. M
                          Ml Pandit
                          May 9, 2017 at 9:12 pm
                          The author should have disclosed the fundamental role of religion in Kashmir turmoil. If Islam was not a determining factor then the turmoil would have been there in Jammu and Ladak regions as well.
                          Reply
                          1. Z
                            zeed
                            May 10, 2017 at 5:26 am
                            Also should have noted that Pandit's fled the valley at the first sight of an invader 12 times in past 700 years. Only to cry at delhi Darbar they were mistreated. These measly cowards will not get their 'summer houses' anymore.
                            Reply
                          2. A
                            autonomous
                            May 9, 2017 at 8:51 pm
                            Kashmiri's are getting extremely radicalised by pak & saudi ideology so counter measures is needed a this time if not kashmir would became a next syria for sure.Remove article 370 its the root cause & place back minorities in kashmir.
                            Reply
                            1. K
                              kempu
                              May 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm
                              With regard to "excessive militarisation of civilian space in the Valley. . " : Well-respected newspaper THE HINDU (May 9) has published a report under the heading '"Army men favour political intervention in Kashmir". The report reads ". . the Centre needs to immediately intervene politically if the level of violence has to come down anytime soon, a significant number of military officers say. . . The widespread essment within the Army on the need for political intervention seems to run counter to the aggressive stand taken by the Central govt. . . With even school students coming out to throw stones & protest against security forces, the security forces are actually operating in extremely tricky situation, they argue. . Several military officers are pointing out to the drying up of genuine intelligence from locals in the Valley in recent months. Without credible intelligence, the security forces are "blinded" & "fumb ", another senior officer said. . . "
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Shyamal Ganguly
                                May 9, 2017 at 9:22 pm
                                So in the absence of intelligence you have to shoot blind. What are the Military officers saying? They want to act like bl00dy civilians / politicians like Lallooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, Kejri, Yechh?
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                              2. I
                                indian man
                                May 9, 2017 at 7:56 pm
                                Islam poisoning our Earth. Muslim anywhere on Earth create Terror. No Muslim means No Terror.
                                Reply
                                1. I
                                  Indian Wisdom
                                  May 9, 2017 at 8:38 pm
                                  Really??? So what about Tamil militants in Sri Lanka? Naxalites? Sikh militants in Punjab? Think n get ur facts right before spewing ur venom...
                                  Reply
                                  1. L
                                    Lonestar
                                    May 10, 2017 at 2:30 am
                                    Currently the world opinion is "all Muslim s are not terrorists but 99 treerorists are Muslims . But you can differ .
                                  2. M
                                    MEHMOOD BHANJI
                                    May 9, 2017 at 9:34 pm
                                    NAMASTE! My elders in MUNDRA, Kutch say that it's funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality. Was it sepoy mutiny or Jang -e- AZADI?
                                    Reply
                                  3. H
                                    Hari Haran
                                    May 9, 2017 at 7:55 pm
                                    Hi, throwing stones, taking money from adversary, separatists talking ur language, are all Messengers. Get ur facts come face to face. U will die because ur are traitors
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                                    1. M
                                      MEHMOOD BHANJI
                                      May 9, 2017 at 10:53 pm
                                      NAMASTE! Are you constipated, I know that there are not enough PUBLIC TOILETS in India is that a FACT. You have 600,000 battle harden elite troops including GURKHAS. You have FENCE made with cable wire wire imported from Apartheid Israel. You have KILLED IN COLD BLOOD 70,000 KASHMIRIS, 1000's of children, women and men are missing. INTERNATIONAL Human Rights ORGANISATION have found numerous M GRAVES. You have BLINDED PERMANENTLY 100's of KASHMIRIS with you 12 GAUGE AUTO PUMP PELLETS GIUNS made in West Bengal. Who do you think you are following with your cokamini so called facts. You can't fool all the people all the time. The KASHMIRIS want to live they are saying JIO DHAN DHANA DHAN. Stop tieing innocent KASMIRIS to you steel plated military vehicles and run like chicken.
                                      Reply
                                      1. L
                                        Lonestar
                                        May 10, 2017 at 2:31 am
                                        Fuc...k u
                                    2. G
                                      GandhiSpeaks
                                      May 9, 2017 at 7:52 pm
                                      The executive editor of Kashmir Times is intentionally ignoring the Islamist radicalization aspect of the Kashmir problem. Why not clearly state who is creating the problem, and what in your opinion is the solution? Why do you not openly state that it is the Huriyat and the separatists who for greed of money and power are fue this crisis on instructions from their ISI bosses. The world knows that ISI is the trouble maker in the region. Be it Afghanistan, India, China and even stan.
                                      Reply
                                      1. G
                                        Gopal Sriniwasan
                                        May 9, 2017 at 7:11 pm
                                        The IndianEnglish Media Journos are Macaulay's illegitimate children who suffer from an inferiority complex of their Hindu upbringing.They have taken upon their role as Sickulars quite seriously as it has Political appeal and global acceptance to call oneself as sickular rather upholder of Hindu Ethos Is there one Muslim Journo on this Earth who professes Sickularism.for them it is always Islam, less said about Western Media Journos.
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                                        1. N
                                          NAVIN ASTI
                                          May 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm
                                          Political parties and Indian Media(Especially English ones) are trying to tackle Kashmir issue on idealistic ground without touching the reality.Nehru gifted this problem as if Kashmir was his personal property.Whatever game was pla during Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah time,present day Kashmir is under the grip of terrorism,sponsored by rogue Pak state.Pak is not going to give up this terror-business as it is in its blood.Hence it must be tackled on those lines as ShriLanka,Myanmar,China have handled.World could not do anything to them as they acted efficiently,highhandedly,with the result they are having peace at home.We need not bother about HRC or any other ins ution as they are not the sufferers.We should not care for principles at the cost of security. Only some political parties and their leaders have to change their mindset of loving Pak and working against Indian interests with being loyal to Nation.Otherwise issue will never get settled and UNITED Pak will enjoy our folly.
                                          Reply
                                          1. I
                                            i
                                            May 9, 2017 at 6:35 pm
                                            Typical self-defeating, sickular, foreign-funded, jihadi-sympathesizer rants
                                            Reply
                                            1. S
                                              sridhar rao
                                              May 9, 2017 at 5:50 pm
                                              You sickular pig why blame mehabooba mufti ,the actual reason in simple terms is the religion of people which is exploited huriyat pigs who want sunni islam only,you have not heard geelani' s speech where he has said even if you pave roads Kashmir with gold they don't want india
                                              Reply
                                              1. Z
                                                Zaki
                                                May 9, 2017 at 5:25 pm
                                                Let indians settle in india, kashmir is India and india kashmir
                                                Reply
                                                1. I
                                                  i
                                                  May 9, 2017 at 6:34 pm
                                                  Let Jiahdis settle in Arabia and Hindus settle in w of India- stan.
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                                                  1. N
                                                    NAVIN ASTI
                                                    May 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm
                                                    That is the only way.But Nehru,out of his belonging to Muslims,put art.370 to bar Hindus from even entering Kashmir.Got rid of Nehru,Abdullah,Harising-permit conspiracy,THANKS TO SHYAMA PRASAD MUKHERJEE AND HIS MARTYRDOM.WE,INDIANS PRAY BEFORE USELESS POLITICAL PARTIES TO UNITY AND ABROGATE Art 370 so that Indians can stay anywhere in India.Please do this much for our(If not yours) INDIA.
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