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Beneath guns, kills, and arrests

Beneath guns, kills, and arrests

With the apprehension of a Jaish-e-Mohammad operative in Srinagar on Monday by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, a few commonplace questions spring to mind. Faiyaz Ahmad Lone, a resident of Kupwara in Kashmir carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh. He had been on the run since 2015 and was wanted in a case in which the Delhi High Court had issued a non-bailable warrant against him. Shortly preceding this arrest, the Special Cell of Delhi police had nabbed Sajjad Khan from near Lajpat Nagar market in Delhi. As per police sources, Khan was among the seven men who were earlier detained by the Special Cell and released after multiple rounds of questioning and document verification. He was wanted in an NIA case because he was suspected to be a "close aide" of the mastermind behind the Pulwama attack on February 14. NIA, however, later confirmed that the arrested Sajjad Khan was not the same person wanted in the Pulwama terror attack case. While the police and security forces are commendably at work trying to root out terror operatives by all possible means, it creates a questionable image of the 'Kashmiri' and inevitably brings associated prejudices. The outrageous assault of a Kashmiri dry fruit seller in Lucknow shortly following Pulwama attack by an angry local is the expected result of the perception that is inadvertently propagated.

The political turmoil that paints Kashmir with a broad brush has an entire gamut of perils as it keeps out of focus many issues that range from national to local to grassroots. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, instead of acknowledging the relatable Jammu and the remarkably developing Ladakh, is labeled with the dangers of terrorism, notwithstanding the aesthetic appeal of the region. Terrorism and insurgency are very real problems but those are not entirely the problem of Kashmir, they are as much a problem of the Indian nation in its entirety. India has consistently failed to resolve (or dissolve) the historical blunder that has fomented and has compounded to a great extent. The result is that various other regional concerns and local issues go largely unaddressed. Kashmir remains infested with drug problems and timber smuggling is rampant. The status of employment is rather pitiable. Healthcare scene comes to light with reference to emergency situations pertaining to attacks and explosions. Little can we know about the region for how bad or worse it is for its own people.

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