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Freeze defreeze

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Must I be told that this is chille kalan, the season of deep frost, in Kashmir. The valley in particular, one recalls from long, long ago, would virtually go into slumber, hibernate like bears, movement restricted to the minimum. No more. The valley may have been in deep freeze for weeks but it has shown no sign of hibernation or inactivity. The militants continue to confront the uniformed might of the State which, for its part, appears only too eager to respond and to give the surrounding snowscape a massive bloody tinge. Kind of winter sport, that keeps the soldier and the militant engaged. Dead militant numbers in these snowbound confrontations rarely exceed twos and threes but enough to provoke a horrifying display of the State’s might. And, mind you, for every two or three militants getting killed now there often are occasional casualties among the Security Forces as well.

Never a dull moment except that as the State refuses to engage in purposeful talks a sense of suffocation continues to envelop the valley and its people; no way can they hope to breathe in some fresh air, given the all-seeing eye of the saffronite Big Brother, sitting across the hills. If you see the beleaguered valley - man pining for a change of breat without losing his composure, you cannot but sympathise with him even as the saffronites scoff it away. Nothing it seems will move those in power to engage with the people in terms other than dictated by the Big Brother in Delhi. The spirit off vengefulness (why, I do not know, except that it could be caused by that little matter of preponderance of a faith different from the saffronites’ out there) has virtually thrown a wall of indifference between the aspirations of the valley and the designs of the Centre.

So far as the State Government is concerned we had it during the week from no less a person than the State Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that the State must remain grateful to New Delhi for all it has “got” from India. (Didn’t realise that Kashmir, unlike other States in the Union was........

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