There are many prisms of looking at Kashmir, it depends entirely on which side of the political divide one stands. However, the fact is this month has seen the return of the classic game of smoke and mirrors in Kashmir Valley. Once again, the very kernel of civil disobedience and mob fury is the Indian Army. As always, there are a zillion reasons emanating from the rumour factory, so wildly imaginative in the Valley. The fragment of truth is lost in a blizzard of half truths, lies and deceit. Flashpoint this time round was the April 12 Handwara killings, followed closely by the Kupwara killings. The ‘mysterious’ incident involving a 16–year old girl has seen five people shot dead in the following violence. North Kashmir has emerged as the new centrifuge of infiltration in the Valley with its vast jungles, treacherous terrain, quarries and high mountain passes. The counter terrorism grid shuts out the ‘visitors from the across the border.
In a clear change of strategy, the terror factory has decided to up the ante on North Kashmir instead of being active in South Kashmir. The casualties have been high on both sides. It is pertinent to understand the art of war in Kashmir. The Brookings Institute encapsulates it best: “The Pakistani military has relied on “asymmetric warfare” — using jihadi fighters for its own ends. This strategy goes back to over 30 years. Since the early 1980s, the ISI has consciously and consistently funded and incubated a variety of Islamic extremist groups. For the Pakistani military, the existential threat posed by India has taken precedence over all other geopolitical and economic goals.” The brutal manifestation of this doctrine is a place called Kashmir.