Stone Pelting for Money? Action and Reaction
Kashmir has been on and off fire for far too long. Phrase “Kashmir is burning” is used more often than “Kashmir is beautiful”. Politics of all concerned has ruined generations and there can be no accounting of young lives lost in protesting or protecting Kashmir, India. To keep Kashmir boiling, over a last couple of years, a new profession has emerged. Yes, stone throwing on army and security forces is a profession in some parts of state of Jammu and Kashmir now. You get paid by an hour or you get paid by number of stones you throw. The well-oiled machinery which runs this profession takes lives on both sides i.e. protestors and protectors. It ensures that paid stone throwers don’t even have to collect their own stones. They are brought in bags and handed over to just go ahead and throw. Going rate could be anywhere between Rs.10 to Rs.100 a stone thrown, depending upon the risk involved.
Whose money is it anyway? Of course, these professional stone throwers do not pay any taxes on the income they make, instead their income comes from diversion of subsidies which are paid in Kashmir, well beyond its share vis a vis rest of the country. Moreover, they throw stones on an army which runs on tax payers money too. For how long an Indian tax payer, whose money it is any which way, will pay for both professional protestors and professional protectors. Kashmir is a political situation, it needs political resolve, it needs commitment, it needs honorable approach towards a resolution but, if stone throwing remains a profession for protestors then replying every stone with a bullet is the only option for the professional army, as both are getting paid to do their job and they must do their job fully.
It is time somebody goes ahead and says clearly, if you wage a war against India, whether on or off Indian soil, be prepared to lose everything including your life. When patience yields no result and that’s true for both the sides, surgical solutions become the only option. Protestors have become professionals and negotiate their time, days and hours of protest. Their patience as a protestor with a cause has run out. There is practically no business left in a few districts of Kashmir and throwing stones is a full-fledged industry now. For how long the biggest democracy in the world allow stone pelting as a profession to continue? The time to strike back is now. Unless stone pelting is stopped, it will only graduate to next bigger things. If bags full of stones can reach people so can bags with hand-grenades also reach people. If they get paid Rs.10-100 to throw a stone they can get paid Rs.100 to 1,000 for throwing grenades. It is time for Indian government to wake up and look beyond political affiliations. Definitely PDP-BJP alliance makes for strange bed partners and we have seen how the state and its people and army have paid price for the weirdness of this arrangement. It will not be the first time that President’s rule is imposed in Kashmir and definitely it is not going to be the last time, but today there is a need to do away with the failure this State Government is. It is not sufficiently representative and it has no effective frame of governance. Let center run the state with one clear thought and without any ambiguity.
Kashmir is an integral of India, Kashmiris are as much part of India as Punjabis, Biharis, Tamilians, Guajaratis, Marwaris or any of other fifty plus ethnic groups. Definitely, it is late but surely not too late to put back lives on track. Let there be only one agenda and that has to be what is good for Kashmir must be good for India and vice e versa. Let there be peace, sad that it may come after a few more bloodbaths, but bloodbaths have been there and are going to be there any way.