With gloomy 2016 at its back, Kashmir braces for uncertain 2017

Kashmir Chambers of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) chief Mushtaq Wani said nothing can be said how the things will go in 2017.

Published: 31st December 2016 09:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st December 2016 09:49 PM   |  A+A-


Locals along the Indo-Pak border vacate their villages following India’s surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, near Attari on Thursday | pti

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: After the second half of 2016 in Kashmir was consumed by unrest over killing of militant commander Burhan Wani, there are apprehensions that normalcy may not return and trouble will continue in Valley in view of recent controversies of issuance of identity certificates by PDP-BJP coalition government in State to West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) and Supreme Court Verdict on implementation of SARFAESI Act in the State.

“Tension will continue in 2017 as well. There are no reasons for tension to ease or come down because there has been no response from the central government or State government to what happened during over five months of unrest in the Valley,” political analyst Prof Noor Mohammad Baba told Express.

Kashmir witnessed unrest after the killing of Burhan in an encounter with security forces in South Kashmir on July 8.  For consecutive 51 days after Burhan’s killing, government enforced curfew in Valley to maintain law and order and foil anti-India protests. Besides, the Valley remained shut for over four months due to strike called by the separatists.

At least 94 people were killed, more than 13000 injured and over 8000 arrested in the Valley during over five months of the unrest. Of the 13000 injured, 8000 were hit by pellets and 1100 sustained pellet injuries in eyes. Many including a 13-year-old girl Insha Mushtaq of south Kashmir’s Shopian district have been completely blinded.

Observing that situation won’t be normal in 2017 in view of tension over issuance of domicile certificates to WPRs, who are living in J&K after partition, and Apex court verdict on SARFEASI Act, Baba said, “There is no reason for the situation to ease out. It will continue for some time. However, it will not be repeat of what we saw from July to November. The situation will not be normal and protests in some form will continue”.

He said people are not pacified. “They have been humiliated. The non-seriousness on part of government only adds to their alienation. It also reinforces their mindset that they don’t belong to mainstream India”.

The separatist leaders, who are spearheading the agitation after Burhan’s killings, may continue the two-day shutdown in a week for some more time, he said.

Kashmir Chambers of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) chief Mushtaq Wani said nothing can be said how the things will go in 2017.

He said there is tension in the Valley over issuance of identity certificates to WPRs and Supreme court verdict on implementation of SARFAESI Act in J&K, which allows non state subjects to purchase mortgaged property from banks.

“Both are very serious and complex issues and can be a cause for outbreak of another unrest in Valley,” Wani said adding the State government should have a rethink on its policies in both the cases.

Civil society member and businessman Shakeel Qalandar said both the issues are very sensitive and critical issues.

“If issuance of domicile certificates to WPRs is not stopped and review petition not filed by J&K government in Supreme Court to challenge the verdict on SARFAESI Act within a month, these issues are going to snowball into a bigger unrest than 2016. The government will be wholly and solely responsible for the ramifications,” he said.

The State government has started issuing identity certificates to WPRs from August this year after clearance from central government. It has evoked strong resentment from separatists and opposition parties and Kashmir-based legislators.

Qalandar said about 100 people were killed, thousands injured and thousands blinded and maimed in security forces action during the over five month long unrest in the Valley.

“The demand by people to probe the killings and punish the security men, who used excessive force, have not yielded any result as the government is unmoved,” he said.

According to Qalandar, anger is brewing. “In fact, the anger has turned into hatred against the State as well as central government. It needs to be noted.”

“Earlier, it used to be alienation and anger. Now it is hatred because of human rights violations,” he said.


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