The crisis and the carnage
Among the latest occurrences in Kashmir valley are the death of a civilian and an injured CRPF jawan, when militants hurled a grenade at security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. This is in addition to the Union Home Ministry's authorisation for 4,949 pellet guns for CRPF, taking their number to 5,589 which will be powered by 6 lakh cartridges. Every CRPF company will be equipped with nine pellet guns. This clearly confirms, yet again, the perfunctory exercise of crisis management that the Centre undertakes to suppress a situation, particularly in the valley. To the uninitiated, hundreds of protesters were blinded partially or completely during last year's turmoil (following the neutralisation of a local militant commander) due to the indiscriminate use of pellet guns by forces. The people hit by pellets in their eyes have to undergo multiple surgeries to correct their vision. Over the years, at least six people have lost their lives by pellet guns. "I don't think the weaponisation can control the situation in Kashmir, it will only aggravate it," human rights defender and coordinator of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Khurram Parvez, told Firstpost. A lesson that is repeatedly refused to be learned is that controlling dissent through force is no solution, engaging in meaningful dialogue is.
On the other hand, security forces in Kashmir Valley seem to be gearing up with greater detail for an upcoming round of unrest, with new and improved armour. The specifications for the armour include protection from stone-pelting, knife, and acid attacks, special resistant qualities to deal with fire projectiles. According to a report in Mail Today, aside from better protection, this revision of protective gear also "provides renewed confidence" in the soldiers. The body suit is also said to improve visibility, and in turn, the soldiers will be able to respond better. The full-body armour will also include a chest protector, elbow pad, shin guard, upper arm protector, shoulder pad to secure shoulders and neck, groin protector, forearm guard and thigh guard. Apart from medical treatment to soldiers, the Union Home Ministry will provide Rs 2,500 for minor injuries and Rs 7,500 for grievous injuries to CRPF personnel hurt during stone-pelting in Kashmir.
As far as Jammu and Kashmir state governance and administration are concerned, National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah said that PDP's continued subservience to the BJP is alarming and could have long-lasting adverse implications on the state and its stability. But to list a near-positive development, schools in the Kashmir Valley reopened on Wednesday, nearly nine months after they had to be shut due to curfew and protests last year followed by the winter vacation.