By Sushil Kutty
Year-round eat, drink and then for a month lay down fork and spoon. That is the month of Ramadan or Ramzan. Of course, ‘prayer’ and ‘fasting’ and the peace that comes with both are also Ramadan. But Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti wants the formula applied to the unrest in the Kashmir Valley. Year-round foreign and Kashmiri terrorists go on a killing spree in J&K and Mehbooba Mufti wants to give them the Ramadan month off to rest their guns and limbs. She wants the Indian army to ‘cease fire’ for the duration of Ramadan, which is right round the calendar.
Mehbooba Mufti makes all the right noises when schoolchildren are stoned and hospitalised, when J&K policemen are lynched and when tourists are felled by flying stone missiles hurled by the “misguided Kashmiri youth”. But just when terrorists start feeling the heat and are decimated, Mehbooba does a flip-flop and asks for a ceasefire, give peace a chance!
Peace a chance or the terrorists a chance? Right now the terrorists are on the run. Scores of the vermin have been neutralised. Most of the killed were given the call to surrender. But they wouldn’t give up. Neither for the love of money nor for the love of life. Mufti should have gone to a few of the encounter sites and in her sweet convincing voice asked the holed up terrorists, about to be dispatched to their maker, to lay down arms and come out arms raised, hands-up.
She will not do that. Like any politician, she will not take a chance on her life. That is a risk the security forces should take and is not a martyrdom she seeks. But she is not bothered if her words or actions mimic Pakistan’s. She speaks and sounds like the separatists. Her decision to grant amnesty to 9000+ stone-pelters with a tacit okay from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was exactly what Pakistan and its minions in the Valley were asking for.
The 9,000 released are the “misguided youth of Kashmir” who killed tourist R Thirummani the other day. Who was Thirumani? He was an Indian from down south who wanted see the fabled Kashmir Valley, paradise on Earth, and spread some money around for the Kashmir economy to pick up. Kashmir depends a whole lot on tourism to keep the houseboats floating on Dal Lake. The 22-year-old Thirumani was killed by a stone for his troubles.
A stone hurled at a certain speed will impact on target several times its weight. That is physics – mass, velocity, kinetic energy and such like. They say a 250 gm box of tissue going at the speed 30 mph will gain in weight to 7.5 kilos and impact at several times that weight/mass. Imagine the impact of a fist-sized stone hurtling and hitting R Thirumani on the forehead. It must have caved his skull in, turned the grey in his brain to mush. Poor guy, he had no chance. And Mehbooba Mufti wants to give terrorists a chance!
Speaking of stones, where do these stone-throwers get their stones from? Interesting question. They say if the 9,000 stone-pelters, who were amnestied out of detention, each hurls one stone, that will be 9,000 stones. Multiply with 10 stones each and the sum total is a neat 90,000! Quite a lot of the stones must be lying around on the streets of Kashmir to bend, pick and hurl; bend, pick and hurl; bend, pick and hurl…
But that can’t be all. There must be a steady supply of stones to keep the stones flying. After a point, the supply of stones will run out. So, what keeps the stones in stock? Who supplies the stones? There must be a cottage industry at work. There must be regular people who secure, stock and supply stones. If the security forces pick up every stone hurled at them and pack them up and truck them out, the Valley will be out of stones and the stone-throwers will have a stone-supply problem.
A Kashmiri source tells this column that brickbats don’t mean real bricks. The Kashmiri is by nature a miser, not a spendthrift. The Kashmiri sees a brick and he sees walls and rooms and homes, mansions! So, the stones are not pieces of shattered bricks. The stones are stones! The stones that fly true and hit hard are round and oval-shaped. The best fit for a fist. Smooth rounded stones are found in plenty on the Jhelum riverbed!
A Ramadan month of ceasefire will give the stone-throwers of Kashmir time to stock up on stones and for terrorists to lick their wounds and regroup, splash Facebook with pictures and videos. For Pakistanis, in on the game, it will be a month of peace to chalk up new strategies to take on the Indian Army. With the likes of Mani Shankar on frequent visits to Lahore and Islamabad it will be one big family of people with similar separatist interests to sit down to mutton-biryani and kebabs to end the Ramadan fast every evening for a glorious one month.
The Indian Army is not fooled. Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat is not convinced by Mehbooba’s ceasefire talk. ‘No way,’ he told a newspaper, ‘Azaadi is a pipedream, you’ll never get azaadi, not with the Indian Army around.’ General Rawat’s message to the youth of Kashmir is plain; they shouldn’t be “carried away unnecessarily” by talk of “azaadi” fed to them by forces inimical to India. “You (‘misguided Kashmiri’) can’t fight the Army.”
That said, Gen Rawat is ready to “suspend operations” for a month, but what after that? He says ‘a soft approach has failed’ in the past. Mehbooba Mufti must have got the message but she does not want to listen to reason. She wants the Ramadan truce declared and wants the BJP to convince the Centre to persuade General Rawat to give the terrorists and the “misguided youth of Kashmir” the chance to atone if not regroup and take a fresh oath to kill the ‘Kafir’ and be done with it. Mehbooba Mufti is a darling, but whose? That’s not certain. (IPA Service)