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Mudda speakers nearly unanimous on lack of wisdom in passing this order, say stone-pelters waving Islamic State flags are enemies of humanity who do not deserve a second chance

Kashmir witnessed heavy stone-pelting on the occasion of Eid with perpetrators bearing Pakistani and Islamic State flags. The government ceasefire for the holy month of Ramzan appears to have got no results and Saturday’s edition of Mudda took up the issue of whether the decision to suspend it was a right one.

Himanshu Dixit conducted the discussion between senior journalist Govind Pant Raju, expert on Kashmir affairs Sushil Pandit, defence specialist Maj Gen Shashi Asthana (retired), BJP spokesperson Ashok Thakur and Congress spokesperson Ajay Verma. Most speakers felt it was a wrong move.

Even if the ceasefire had been as per the wishes of the people, why did you revoke intelligence during this period, asked Raju. “Why did you not send Aurangzeb home for Eid with security? This was a second chance to the stone-pelters after the chief ministerial pardon. And they are not innocent and misguided, if they are bearing Islamic State flags they are the enemies of humanity. At the same time, most people in Kashmir are loyal to the nation. See the statement of Aurangzeb’s father who said if I hadn’t sent my son to the Army, who will protect the country. The government must take strong steps against the separatists if only to save its face before these people. Did the government consult the opposition before launching demonetisation and GST? The people are with you and would applaud you for your efforts and their results,” he said.

Pandit observed that jihadis wait for Eid to engage in violent acts in order to accomplish what they see as sacrificing themselves. Hence Ramzan is the month which sees jihadi or Islamist violence throughout the world. The government in every other country, be it Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen, takes extra measures during this time to combat violence rather than observe ceasefire, he said.

Thakur, however, said the government has a very clear policy against terrorism. “The prime minister has met the home minister. Now stringent action will be taken against the separatists. Meanwhile, let the people of Kashmir also see what it is like to step out of their homes into the streets without the protection of the Army,” he said.

Maj Gen Shashi Asthana (retired) opined that defence should be part of our policymaking. “The army and paramilitary are already distracted by other engagements like controlling Jat violence, etc. Hence they are unable to focus their full attention on the situation in the Valley. What is alarming is that IS has an interest in Kashmir. When ISIS was breaking up, Baghdadi had said Kashmir is an ideal place for me to make a Caliphate. Also, we need a law exclusively against stone-pelters. Yes, the ceasefire has given the terrorists time to regroup and come back with renewed force,” he said.

Verma did not have much to contribute to the discussion.

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