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‘What Now?’: Rumours of Summer

‘What Now?’: Rumours of Summer

On the heels of a Kashmiri Pandit councillor’s killing, a virtual talk and the subsequent speculations threaten to plague yet another summer in the valley.


With J&K Police investigators still probing how did a protected person travelled to Tral without his security guards, some of his incensed brethren have already thrown their weight behind the controversial settlement plan in the valley.

The resounding pitch was raised by the proponents of Panun Kashmir, including a Jammu advocate who wants to see a division of the valley. 

This like-minded tribe gathered for the virtual condolence meeting on May 3, a day after councillor Rakesh Pandita was gunned down inside his friend’s home. 

While sleuths are still trying to establish why Pandita ditched his guards and travelled alone to the restive zone, his killing and the subsequent developments have set off some unsettling speculations.

Apparently targeted for his political affiliation, his killing was dubbed as a “jihadi” attempt to stop another homecoming bid of Kashmir Pandits. 

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While Kashmir watchers are wondering about this sweeping analysis over another “political killing”, the online meeting blatantly called for the settlement solution of Kashmir.

“It’s important to make an Israel in Kashmir,” said speaker Rakesh Handoo, known for his counterinsurgent past. 

“There’s one and the only solution that is a separate homeland, where we live and protect ourselves with arms, we should be given training.”

The similar demand of creating an exclusive Hindu enclave in Kashmir was raised by Panun Kashmir’s poster boy, Shailendra Aima, and supported by the advocate and chief of Ikk Jutt Jammu, Ankur Sharma.

“A geopolitical foothold for Panun Kashmir is the way forward to scuttle Pakistan’s plans,” Sharma said. 

“Perpetrators of jihad including the Kashmiri society which acted as bunkers for jihad at that time and at some level ensured their participation in the genocidal process with the politicians at the time who made such statements under the ambit of the genocide convention, for example, Farooq Abdullah and separatists, should be acted against.”

The four-hour-long virtual get-together was held at a time when J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah and Home Secretary A K Bhalla in New Delhi “for a security review” spread rumours and threatened to plague another summer in the valley. 

That New Delhi is planning to give statehood to Jammu and may bifurcate Kashmir into two union territories, is now making much noise.

While many say that rumours are always there for a reason, the government negated any possible administrative and political change in Kashmir and warned action against the rumour-mongers. 

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But people of Kashmir termed these official assurances as “dubious” and fear the possible repeat of the 2019 summer when both bureaucratic battery and Raj Bhavan allayed the public fears, stating: “nothing is going to happen in Kashmir”.

Akin to that unprecedented summer, the massive troop build and grapevine in the valley this time around make many believe that some big development is on the cards.

Apart from the open endorsement of settlements and division of Kashmir from the rightwing Jammu leaders, it was the 2019 report which is fuelling the ongoing loose talk. 

As per the report, the Modi government wants to end Kashmir dominance over Jammu with a new administrative division. It talks about the possible slicing off south Kashmir and its merger with Jammu.

Amid all this, those aware of the councillor’s case say the fresh fatality shadowed by the distressing discourse and development may itself be a case of miscalculation, if not a misadventure.

While only the police probe might clear some mist, the councillor’s killing has indeed paved the way to the loud shrill and the speculations crippling another summer in the valley.

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