Thursday, January 23, 2020

Who are the worst sufferers?

Jammu and Kashmir is never at rest. The slightest disturbance in the state has repercussions all over the country and vice versa. Ever since Pulwama Attack, circumstances have led to situation going downhill in Jammu and Kashmir. Firstly the instances of arson in Jammu led to a week-long curfew wherein tension began ensuing between people from the valley and people from the Duggar-land. The tension led to markets being closed for a week and almost everyone was on edge regarding their safety and the upcoming circumstances.

The Pulwama attack led to an international-level fear among tourists who thought against visiting Kashmir Valley even during the summer months when Kashmir’s beauty is at its peak. Durbar move employees left Jammu after the arson incidents leaving Jammu markets dry and in a slump during their peak period of secretariat move. The curfew was a setback with short-term consequences but the fear among people from the valley left a long-term after-effect.

For the first time, the shores of Dal Lake were empty, the Shikaras floating idly by and the only faces that even looked slightly touristy to the pheran-clad Kashmiris were that of the people from Jammu. The National Highway restrictions that followed the Pulwama attack further caused huge losses as trucks were stopped and the material they carried went rotten in bulk. But soon as things were beginning to return to normalcy, situation escalated once again. The news of troops being deployed in the valley reached the political leaders and overnight, through merely a tweet, Jammu & Kashmir was back to being in a disturbed state. The advisory advising Amarnath Yatris to curtail their stay in Kashmir worked like a panic button. The impact could be compare with snatching away a piece of bread from the mouths of starving children. The pilgrims who had travelled from across the country were told to go back. The tourism industry of Jammu and Kashmir that is dependent almost entirely on religious tourism took a major hit. Instantly the valley erupted in a fit of madness – rush in the ATMs, on Petrol Pumps and grocery stores.  

A lot has happened since then and there is chaos and panic in the valley over what the coming dawn might bring. People in Jammu are both expectant and anxious. No one has bothered to ask Ladakh’s standing in the matter however.

But who does this panic and chaos impact? If there is another curfew in the state, it will be the common residents of Jammu and Kashmir who will face the worst hit. If the situation on the border remains tense, it will be the residents of Jammu and Kashmir who will suffer the most. If it is trifurcation, Article 35-A, Article 370, Pakistan’s nefarious plans or anything else that might surprise us all, it will be the people of Jammu and Kashmir who will continue to be deprived of a normal life. And those residents of Jammu and Kashmir, includes the bureaucracy that will have to work extensively to control the situation, Jammu and Kashmir police who end up always sharing the blame when an uncontrolled crowd becomes a mob and that small shopkeeper whose livelihood gets destroyed as collateral damage. But, it is not ONLY the residents of Jammu and Kashmir on the line here. The CRPF or paramilitary trooper is putting his life on the line, the Rapid Action Force is thrusted in the middle of it all. One must understand that people are not resources, nor are they pawns on a political chessboard. Their lives are no less than the lives of the ones in top offices and high chairs. Their life is more than just an ideological fight of identity, it is also a fight for peace and normalcy in an otherwise panicked state. It is a struggle for livelihood, better living, safe atmosphere and if it is not too much to expect, a little bit of freedom. Freedom to speak, think, act and live without being judged, prosecuted or hated for a difference in opinion.  



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