Despite satisfactory tourist footfall, normalcy still away

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Omkar Dattatray

Definitely there is some increase in the tourist footfall in Jammu and Kashmir and the BJP government of the centre and the LG administration is taking and claiming it to be the indicator of normalcy. The increase in the tourist visiting Jammu and Kashmir is a welcome development but it is no indicator and parameter of Kashmir normalcy. The home minister is giving a false narrative of normalcy in Kashmir. The increase in the tourists visiting is no sign and symbol of normalcy in Kashmir. The fact is that the tourists visit Jammu and Kashmir for a very short time and they spend huge amounts of money and it results in the increase in the income of those people who are associated with the tourist economy like Taxi operatives, hoteliers, houseboat owners and others connected with the tourist industry. There seems to be a broad understanding among the terrorist outfits that tourists are the assets of Jammu and Kashmir and no harm should be done to the tourists as they seem to be the guests of Kashmir and hospitality is the great ornament of Kashmiris but it has to do nothing with normalcy. The innocent people including minorities and non local laborers as well as the innocent Kashmiris and last but not the least the security men including the cops of Jammu and Kashmir police are being targeted whenever the terrorists get any opportunity. The threat and warning lists are continuously being uploaded on the social media which is creating fear, scare and uncertainty to the Kashmiri Pandits in general and the package employees in particular and majority of these hapless package employees have since deserted Kashmir for the safety of their life and honor and they are continuously agitating from the last eight months for their security and right to life but the insensitive BJP government of the centre and the UT administration is turning a blind eye to the demand of the temporary attachment of the package employees to Jammu till the situation becomes normal in Kashmir and conducive for the living and performing their duties across Kashmir. The UT government has stopped the salaries of these protesting package employees and they are facing great economic and financial hardships. The UT government is using coercive tactics to force and pressurize the protesting employees to resume their duties across Kashmir valley. The UT government is leaving no stone unturned to sabotage their continuous peaceful agitation and it is trying its most to create division among the package employees who are on protest for their only and genuine demand of relocation. The political parties across the spectrum have extended their support to the agitation of these package employees and a number of the political leaders also have participating in their peaceful protest except the BJP which is looking the agitation of the package employees with disdain and is maintaining a stoic silence over their genuine demand of temporary attachment to Jammu till the situation becomes normal in Kashmir. The bitter truth is that the normalcy narrative and theory of the BJP is exposed because of the targeted killings of the seven members of the minority community members in Rajouri’s Dangri village. The acts of targeted killings of the Kashmiri Pandits, its package employees ,reserved category employees from Jammu province and other non local laborers and officers of the bank during recent times shattered the faith of the minorities and even innocent and gullible Kashmiris in the government and its security apparatus and they feel scared and terrified and are in a fear psychosis and have since fled Kashmir for the safety to their lives. The other day a local terrorist in DH Pora of south Kashmir district of Kulgam has shot at a non migrant Kashmiri Pandit chemist but it missed the target and the victim namely Mohan Lal has attacked the terrorist with a stick and the terrorist fled from the spot with the warning to the Kashmiri Pandit of not leaving him.There is fear psychosis among the Few thousand Kashmiri Pandits still living far and wide across Kashmir valley in scattered way and they are living in a perpetual fear and agony. The Package employees were working across Kashmir valley in a hostile environment. They were made to live and work in a situation in Kashmir where there is no social acceptance to them. These package employees should not be forced to resume their duties across Kashmir valley as doing so will amount to risking their innocent and precious lives and no sane government can afford to pressurize its citizens to face the bullets of the gun tottering mauradures. The BJP government of the centre has utterly failed to normalize the situation in Kashmir save only to give loud sermons of normalcy through print and electronic media and their loud but false claims of normalcy in Kashmir cannot alter the ground situation in Kashmir and the people of Jammu and Kashmir are not taking the normalcy narrative of BJP serious and they are not attaching any importance to the normalcy proclaimed through TV Channels and through their safe and well protected office chambers. The atmosphere of fear and scare is ruling roost in Kashmir and the terrorism which was confined to Kashmir only has now spread its tentacles to Jammu province and the fake claims of normalcy of the government stand punctured because the situation across Kashmir valley is far from normalcy and the tourist footfall cannot be the only criteria for defining normalcy. The normalcy can return to Jammu and Kashmir only when the alien gun culture will end and when the common Kashmiri will feel safe and secure otherwise increase in the tourists arrival cannot define normalcy. Thus, Government should take sincere steps to bring back normalcy and it should crush terrorism with iron fist but at the same time those who have small cases registered against them should not be harassed and should be set free without any delay. The muscular approach should be shelved and the hearts and minds of the alienated Kashmir is should be won through blaming the hurt feelings and by providing succor to the gullible Kashmiris. Thus, it can be rightly opined that the tourist footfall is not the sole criteria of defining normalcy in Kashmir while removal of fear psychosis is the best parameter of normalcy but it is found nowhere in Kashmir.
(The author is a columnist,
social and KP activist).