Many security analysts have been crediting National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and his 'Doval Doctrine' for the prevailing phase of a quieter Kashmir today as compared to the ceaseless violence that marked the state for most of last year. Yes, Kashmir is quiet now – there have been no major stone pelting incidents, attacks on security forces, protest against use of pellets or banks being looted in the wake of demonetisation .
However, let's not get complacent or rejoice just yet. There may be several reasons for this lull. Firstly, Pakistan, under its its new army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, may have reined in the jihadi threat after Indian army chief Bipin Rawat repeatedly warned it to refrain from engaging in any misadventures. On the other hand, terrorists targeting Kashmir may have decided to lay low for the moment. Or finally, good sense prevailed among the Kashmiri youth.
Sadly, however, the peace dawning with the advent of the new year was dampened after 16-year-old Zaira Wasim, the brilliant student and star of the hit film Dangal met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti as a proud Kashmiri but was forced to apologise after she was trolled by people who do not want any Kashmiri youth to attain fame or glory or pave the way for other Kashmiris to integrate into the mainstream. This is not a failure of the Doval Doctrine, but an act on part of the 'enemy within' who want to derail peace at any cost.
While the Bollywood and the pacifists for Kashmir have condemned such forces, polity must encourage Zaira to ignore these trollers and their thuggish tactics, which is imperative if we are to defeat the evil intentions of the parochial forces who remain opposed to any peace initiatives .
Zaira, portraying a great grappler in Dangal in the role of Geeta Phogat, must use all the wrestling techniques she learned in real life to fend off those targeting her and the state. The aspiring Kashmiri youth (especially girls) who want to emulate Zaira, by not only by scoring 92.2 % in their class ten exams, or even more, must also free themselves from their shackles of social stigmas. The task at hand may look difficult but it isn't impossible. Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir have a vast pool of diverse talent that can bring glory to Kashmir.
Against this backdrop, on September 15, 2016 a smart and chiselled Gul Junaid Khan, a computer engineering graduate from Baramulla, led the passing out parade of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), bringing much-deserved pride and glory to Kashmir and to the country. Thankfully, the trolls were unable to bring Khan down. His mother Muneera, a school principal, must be so proud of her boy and rightfully so. His neighbours must be beaming. Young men looking to find a place in the state and national team cricket team must be awed by his prestigious feat. The same goes for those aspiring to enter civil service.
The enthusiasm that flows in the veins of the Kashmiri youth must be encouraged, especially now, when they are returning to school, the guns have fallen silent, and stone throwing and violence is on the wane. Now is the time to consolidate the gains and the painstaking efforts that have been put in place for a secure Kashmir.
The challenge is enormous, but with hawks on both sides appearing to transform into doves for the greater good, we can make good on the promise of less strife in Kashmir over the next few years. The Doval Doctrine seems to be working.
(The writer, a retired IPS officer, is a security analyst and Senior Fellow of the India Police Foundation. Views are personal)
Updated Date: Jan 19, 2017 10:22 AM