J&K police: Nationalists when they kill militants; Nationalists otherwise too!

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Puneet Gupta

The NIT Srinagar issue has managed to draw lines which atleast at the moment look distinct and simple. At the forefront of the NIT controversy are the students – locals and non-locals. The timeline starts from the loss of Team India against West Indies in the T20 Semi-final.

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The local students cheered and the non-locals jeered. A one time occurrence of the anti-India slogans may shock any Indian but if you live in Kashmir you experience the sentiment everyday. The outstation students decided to take out a rally the next morning and raised Bharat Mata ki Jai slogans with a Tri-colour. The complexity of this event does not show itself to an average reader who is not from J&K.

Every Friday for six months now, young boys with faces covered unfurl the Pakistan and ISIS flags in Kashmir after the Friday prayers are offered amid clear and wide support. The national media stopped covering it after a while because quite frankly, it became boring. The unfurling of flags and pro-Pakistan sloganeering as a monotonous trend is followed by stone pelting on the police or CRPF or whoever is present to hold these young boys back.

No sedition charges are pressed against the Friday ‘mischief-mongers’. Sometimes it is the policemen who get hurt, sometimes the teargas shells find a stone-thrower. It is to consider for anyone from outside the state to read that there are infact many people from outside of Kashmir, working in Srinagar, who find the Friday events both boiling their blood and at the same time sending a chill across their spine. These outside Kashmir people cannot do anything to overcome anger or fear.

The J&K police in the process stands at the receiving end of the battery of accusations. It is without a doubt that the J&K police, along with Indian army has been at the forefront of bridling militancy in the state.

JKPOLICE

When there is an encounter to neutralise the militants, the locals call the J&K police Nationalists or India loving. They are called ‘Indian-dogs’ by the locals at such times. The reason is because most cops stationed in Kashmir are Muslims and are expected by the locals to not engage with militants. Sadly, the police officials become national news only when they are murdered by militants after setting them up in a trap.

The recent events at NIT Srinagar campus have seen many policemen singling out students and thrashing them. If one is to look at it objectively, the policemen were preventing the students from moving out of the gate for pro-India slogans carrying the Indian Tri-colour.

Had the 500 odd students moved outside anything could have happened. It is one thing to feel nationalistic in your own country and another to take it upon yourself to free Kashmir from the widely prevalent anti-india thought and that too by raising pro-India slogans. The students retaliated when the police stopped them at the campus gates, lathi-charge ensued and the cops were tagged anti-nationalists this time.

To repeat, had the 500 odd students moved outside anything could have happened! Really!

Again, objectively, the dynamics in Kashmir are not that simple. If pro-India slogans could do the job, 1990s would not have happened and the Kashmiri Pandits would all be living inside Kashmir, a land named after Rishi Kashyap. There is a reason why the greatest chunk of Indian Armed forces is stationed at Kashmir. The anti-India sentiment is not a recent one and has been brewed into a bitter decoction with the hatred of decades and decades.

The policemen did what they had been ordered to do. Sometimes they kill militants on orders, sometimes students are hit. It is just the love-hate relationship of citizens with the police but that is common throughout India. Is it not?