23 January, 2021

Line Of No Control

Intense border shelling and an ever-widening loop of militancy bring Kashmir to flashpoint

Line Of No Control

LAST week, Srinagar saw its first cinema hall opening for business in nine years. But rather than spread cheer, in the surrounding theatre of violence, it only made for the blackest of ironies. For, the week also saw the most disturbing episodes yet in Pakistan's proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir. The frontiers were on the boil like never before and the civilian death toll since March, when the BJP came to power, stood at 157. At least eight major strikes by militants belied the government's electoral pledge to bring peace to Kashmir. The May 11 nuclear tests and the "proactive" policy spelt out by Union home minister L.K. Advani seemed only to have provoked a deliberate, taunting escalation in violence, with the post-nuclear toll itself at 102.

But the most worrisome event in this string of setbacks came not in Kashmir, but in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, as foreign mercenaries massacred 35 innocent labourers in Chamba, abutting the new trouble zone of Doda, on August 3. This marked the first time insurgents had struck on such a...



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