Dark day in democracy
Marking a black day in the holy month of Ramadan, and indeed blotting a shameful speck on Indian national security, two innocent civilians were gunned down by unrecognised terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir on Thursday. Aurangzeb of the 4 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, posted with the 44 Rashtriya Rifles camp as a part of the ongoing anti-terrorist operations was abducted on his way to his Eid vacation; later, his bullet-ridden body was recovered from the Guppu Village with shots in the head and neck – a sharp reminder of 22-year-old Lieutenant Umer Fayaz's death, last year, in a similar manner following an abduction in May. Shujaat Bukhari, veteran journalist who had already survived an assassination attack in 2006, also met his sudden end as violent gunmen, riding a bike, attacked him outside his office as he approached his vehicle. These incidents unfold at a time considered to be the holiest by Muslims across the globe, as they fast in penance and prepare for joyous Eid celebrations. Despite the Indian government's vehement clarion call to dispose military crackdowns and anti-terrorist operations in this holy month, to prevent violence and bloodshed, reports have suggested that this month of May has witnessed only a surge in terror and criminal activities across the valley. Kashmir, jannat, whose meadows, mountains, valleys, and gushing rivers spell only messages of spectacular natural beauty has been eclipsed of its grandeur by the silly vehemence of two nations. A staggering United Nations review has revealed and condemned the extent of civilian violence that has been met out in Kashmir, pointing fingers largely to India. Though the Indian government has rejected the authenticity of the report, questioning its stance and bias – the truth, that the valley has been reduced to shambles, is irrefutable. Perhaps India isn't alone to blame in this fight, but India too has failed to recover from this modern-day measured genocide. Bukhari, a voice of peace in the valley, was ruthlessly murdered during Ramadan – hinting only to the idea that the separatist forces fuelled in the valley by Pakistan are unmoved by the plight of peace. Victory, in their eyes, is only in the severance of Kashmir. Dineshwar Sharma, the current interlocutor for the Valley, had made some initial strides by entering into discussions with separatist groups and Hurriyat leaders. Yet, the ceasefire violations by Pakistan are proving to be disruptive and unfavourable to any process of negotiating. Though India and Pakistan share a very complex history, with insurmountable variations in their respective recollections of the past – negotiating and reaching a closure on Kashmir is possibly the most urgent task at the hands of Indian diplomacy today.