There’s good news from Kashmir.
No, the 'Kashmir problem' hasn’t been solved. None of the problems have been, actually.
But it’s good news anyway that the government has decided to wake up to one part of the stinking rot under its nose.
The rot has been around forever — at least 1,500 years if one goes by the historical poem, Rajtarangani — but governments of various sorts have either repressed the place or turned a blind eye in or to Kashmir. That tendency has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade. The particular part of the rot that the government has just decided to acknowledge is that the state police has been compromised.
On Saturday, 10 policemen were finally suspended.
They are accused of not having resisted when boys who were taking up militancy snatched their weapons. And it's about time too. Enough blood has flowed down the fetid drains of Kashmir while the world at large has pretended that things are as the 'narratives' say they are. They are most certainly not and the mystery of the snatched rifles is a good illustration of that.
The accusation against the policemen might as well be that they colluded with the wannabe militants who took their weapons. That would mean that they wear uniforms with the President of India’s police medal but assist and abet those fighting the State. It’s a pretty neat bargain for them, for they get salaries, perks, pensions, facilities and the much-favoured delight of oppressing and extorting from those who are not part of the network of power.
So what exactly is the deal with these snatched rifles?
Apparently, the organisers and handlers of the new militancy — which has been gradually emerging in south Kashmir over the past five years or so — did not want to send weapons for the new boys without testing them. So boys who wanted to be militants had to prove their militant capabilities by snatching weapons from policemen or paramilitary soldiers. It would seem that would be easy in a place where collusion and the free flow of power and wealth across presumed dividing lines is commonplace.
The intriguing thing is how the powers that rule the state — and these powers include a variety of security agencies and forces — managed to not know what was going on. One is speaking here of the basic fact that guns were being snatched, not necessarily that those from whom they were being snatched could be colluding with the loot of their own weapons.
That is the amazing vitality of a conflict economy such as this one!
On both sides
That people of all sorts have been playing both sides simultaneously in this unbelievably vitiated place has been well-known to all but the blind, deaf and mute. Those who have been playing both sides include politicians, bureaucrats, militants and mediapersons, so why would the list not include policemen and others charged with fighting militancy? The uncomfortable fact that stares us in the face is that the police force has been compromised, very deeply compromised, for years. But most of us have gone along with the pretence that lines dividing State and anti-State, 'mainstream' and 'secessionist', friend and enemy, ours and theirs exist.
It became clear around a year ago that information had been leaked to militants when one of the most effective operatives of the state police was killed when he went to try and nab one of the most important militants of recent years, and a bunch of highly-trained infiltrators.
The victim was a sub-inspector who was nicknamed 'laptop' for his immense skills at cyber tracking. He was said to be a walking-talking encyclopaedia of information on militants.
Not only did it become clear that that officer was working with a double (or triple) agent, but also that such a valuable officer whose talent was behind a computer was apparently persuaded to go to the site where he was ambushed and killed by those who he thought he was tracking. Did colleagues who saw him as competition engineer that?
Faced with a tongue-lashing from the highest authorities, and public outcry, the state police killed the militant who had ambushed and killed that operative — and they did it with amazing alacrity.
They did not, however, nab or kill the group of at least eight Pakistani militants who that operative’s killer had gone to receive soon after their infiltration. Those militants have wreaked havoc against the forces in several militant attacks since the beginning of the year.
Blood will continue to flow but this sort of duplicity must end.
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Updated Date: Oct 27, 2016 08:45:07 IST