LoC now cuts through Lak Chowk
It is terrorists not militants who go after families
Things have slipped so far out of New Delhi's hands in four and a half years, Srinagar has become the frontier. It is as if the LoC has shrunken and today cuts through Lal Chowk. A change of Governors made no difference. Terror has taken on a new face but the Press continues to call gun-toting Kashmiris 'militants' as if it militates against liberal-progressive sensibilities to call the spade a spade.
The Kashmiri cop is a sitting duck, the members of his family flightless birds; pick one up here, pick another there, bargaining chips in an ongoing war with terror not militancy driving the narrative.
A missing family member, who was here this morning but cannot be found at noon is a worry that eats into the vitals. And, when the afternoon drags to evening, the boy or bro is still not accounted for. It is not the fear of the unknown but that of the known that jumps out of the shadows.
It dawns at dusk that the 'militants' have the policeman by the short hair. 'My son; my brother', the cop can't get out of his uniform soon enough. But the moment has passed and the camel is a ship in the desert, where to go to find him – the kidnapped son, the abducted brother?
To the militant's hideout not the terrorist's den, says the national newspaper, which circulates in the morning and by evening is a dead rag – lifeless looking for news that the '11' have returned home, relieved they will still make a cricket team, a football eleven. 'Let's Play Handball' is elected headline.
"With whom?" asks the resident stag, used to watching the daily 'thandav' from the sidelines of the dance-floor! "The militants, the militants, of course" replies the editor-in-chief, veteran of many headlines. "Our dictionary has no words such as terror, terrorism or terrorist; keep that in mind, on your fingertips, and you'll go places."
The 'sub' returns to workstation, reads the pile of words: "Alarm and despair spread among the Jammu and Kashmir policemen and their families after a series of abductions of relatives of policemen in south Kashmir by suspected militants on Thursday night, the abductions triggered by police detaining for questioning family members of some Hizbul Mujahideen militants."
Words beat him daily, the sub-editor. Militancy or terrorism? Isn't killing policemen on furlough terrorism? Aren't abductions of the innocent children of policemen by men with guns terrorism, why play down terror by picking a word so effete? What's on display in the Valley these days is terrorism.
The bearded idiots who take on the army and the police, the paramilitary, are cross-border terrorists, armed and dangerous, for whom the mission matters more than the people they want to 'liberate', and if now they are going after their own, it's because they are terrorists even before they are home.
The families of policemen are vulnerable because the J&K policeman is from the same social and religious milieu as the "local militants" and for that born-to situation are "isolated in society." Also vulnerable because their families do not live in protected camps like those of army and the paramilitary.
Modi's effete policy doesn't strike terror where it hurts. Where's the 'nationalism', where the fervour of the nationalist, what good the tag of 'Hindu nationalist party'? At least be the 'nationalist party' if coy of the 'Hindu' prefix? Don't forget, ISIS is in the game and the jobless are prone to join the gang. The war is with an idea, not with a state – the 'Islamic' beats the 'State' hollow.
If the Maoists are terrorists and enemies of the State, what mellows down the rhetoric when it comes to the Kashmiri who picks up the Kalashnikov? Doesn't he cross the border, train with the enemy and return to kill and terrorise? So long it was a fight with the men in uniform alone, militancy/militants might have fit the profile of the resistance-Kashmiri, but not anymore.
Now, it's straight forward terrorist/terrorism, plain and simple. No need to be coy or shy, the page has turned and the word is no longer in 'M', it's crossed over to those lined under 'T', look-see – Oxford, Cambridge, Webster, any shabdkosh. IPA
(The views expressed are strictly personal)