Poking the angry


Be it the circulation of videos, mostly shot by armed forces, showing torturing of youth, the Saturday’s incident in which an armoured vehicle entered a Pulwama college and wreaked havoc, or killing of a teenager in Batamaloo the same evening, they all, seemingly, point to a deliberate attempt to arouse the already peeving youth of Kashmir. The ground reality is a flipside of the claims of employing restraint and checks and balances, frequently made by the authorities. The recent incidents prove that restraint is swiftly giving way to force. And that seems to be the only route employed by the state these days. For instance when forces, in their armoured vehicle, entered the Government Degree College in Pulwama on Saturday, they were simply asking for trouble. Prodding into an educational institution that has managed to function in the most volatile conditions was absolutely unwise and uncalled for. The blatant use of force on students, both males and females, who were expected to get angry given the conditions, in no case, suggested that forces wanted restraint. It was a direct threat to which the students responded by pelting stones. Reports quoting college’s principal say how he pled forces not to come inside the college telling them there were thousands of students and it could lead to a catastrophe. But the forces hardly heeded the advice and barged in. They fired dozens of tear gas shells and also used pellets. It was an emergency situation so much so that over 50 students, including females, were left injured and had to be referred to the nearby hospital, wherefrom, some were sent to Srinagar’s SMHS. The incident clearly points out that intimidation not restraint was the order of the day. What the Pulwama college incident has done is trigger a fresh wave of anger, especially among students. This wave is probably going to reach other educational institutes as well. An unrecognised students-amalgam has already called for protests on Monday against the incident. There is a high possibility that more colleges and universities may join in. All against an incident that could have been easily avoided, had saner minds prevailed. The questions that one is compelled to ask is why are the authorities making the already bad situation worse? It is such a time in which the state, day-in and day-out, is on the brink of another 2016 like summer. Ideally, the authorities should be doubly-cautious about anything sensitive they plan to attempt. Tempers are high and justified to which, strangely, the state is responding with a queer amnesia, a selective one. Any move by the authorities is turning into an apt example of putting the cart in front of the horse. Such bloopers from the government, which apparently seems looking the other way, will only add to the chaos and pain that Kashmir is enduring from the last one year or so. There is a dire need to calm the nerves and that can only happen by leaving the angry lot alone for some time. Poking them would only lead to more bloodshed and that Kashmir, and its future, cannot afford.