Srinagar bypoll violence: Citizens must insist on accountability, zombie-like moves will destroy Kashmir

So, filing dozens of FIRs against CRPF men is how we fix accountability in this country now?

Do the siren-hooting-red-light-flashing VIPs who apparently couldn’t see the situation on the ground not owe the nation an answer: why were they asleep at the wheel over the past five months? It has been clear, since at least 2016, to those actually in touch with the ground situation that we are remorselessly moving into a nightmare scenario in Kashmir. It has been unfolding for several years; the rot can be traced to 2008 — if one is willing to keep one’s eyes open.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Apparently, neither the hugely endowed intelligence honchos, nor the politicians who are meant to have the pulse of the people, nor the various highfalutin defence and "security" analysts and clueless "think-tanks" had any idea about what to expect this year. Nor did they make any effort to find out — leave alone make the required strategic moves.

Don’t pass the buck
The state and central governments, aided by police and intelligence, did not see fit to inform the Election Commission of India that conditions were not conducive to conduct by-elections in Kashmir — although it was quite obvious that these had to be conducted in early April. But the intelligence people got worked up no sooner than the EC announced the poll schedule.

They promptly told the EC that the time was not ripe. Yet, they added that, if elections were to be held anyway, 60 companies of CRPF and various other things must be put in place. The commission decided that 40 companies would be enough, and kept the ball rolling.

Even after a heavy snowfall, rain and landslides on the highway on which many of those 40 companies were stuck until the day before polling (some were deployed on the morning of polling without any time to recover from exhaustion or to acclimatise), the various powers that be did not see it fit to postpone the by-elections.

In such circumstances, what can one expect from the half-a-dozen police and CRPF men deployed at a polling booth to do when they are attacked by a frenzied, stone-pelting throng? Surely, the fault lies with those who deployed them.

Now that so many lives have been lost, either those who gave the orders must resign for having moved like zombies into trouble, or, if they did have an idea of how bad the situation was, they must explain why they still went ahead with the by-election.

There was a time when this country was led by men like Lal Bahadur Shastri, who resigned as the Minister for Railways after a railway accident that was only just that: an accident. In contrast, here, disaster was staring at us in the face.

Enough is enough!
We really need to put a limit to the incompetence that our current rulers have demonstrated be it over the Pathankot attack, the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani and its aftermath, and the complacency with which they are going about things in 2017 — a year that might bring terrible death and destruction in Kashmir.

Since we are so ill-served by our rulers — and by those parliamentarians who beat airline staff with slippers, or risk deaths in ambulances while their fancy convoys whiz by at super-speed — it is time for citizens to directly ask tough questions about sensitive issues concerning the nation.

Turning a blind eye to our rulers' incompetence just will not do. For, the worst part of blaming the poor CRPF men deployed on election day is that it papers over the fact that Sunday was not just one bad day. Much worse lies ahead.

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Updated Date: Apr 12, 2017 20:59:04 IST

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