Grim turn: on Srinagar civilian killings

While pursuing terrorists, the administration should also engage with civil society in J&K

The wave of violence is taking place against the backdrop of an uptick in tourist inflow to the Valley and the Centre’s push to promote a raft of development schemes. The administration is also encouraging the Pandits to return. A nine-week-long outreach of the Centre in J&K where Union Ministers are visiting remote districts, including those closer to the LoC, is under way. Union Home Minister Amit Shah could make a visit later this month. Strict directives were issued to unfurl the national flag in all government buildings, including schools, on August 15. There is also a higher level of intolerance by the administration, which does not spare even the political activities of mainstream parties. There is an aggressive drive too to punish government staff suspected to be separatist sympathisers. Civilians are soft targets for the terrorists in this milieu. According to police figures, J&K saw 28 civilian killings, surpassing the 22 casualties of security personnel so far this year. Of the 28 killings, four were local Hindus, one Sikh, two non-local Hindu labourers and 21 local Muslims; 23 were political workers, with most from the BJP. No society can tolerate such violence. But while pursuing terrorists, the administration should also engage with political parties and civil society organisations.

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