The response to the news of surgical strikes by the Indian army across the Line of Control was mixed in Kashmir: for some it was “panic” for the fear of a “war” while others questioned the “truth” of the news in the light of Pakistan’s denial.
People from different walks of life told HT they were worried that the “escalating tensions between India and Pakistan might end in a war” and if that happens, Kashmir might have to pay a huge price while being sandwiched between the warring nations.
“The first sense is of panic and the second is that I do not want this to end in war. We can’t even imagine the loss humanity can suffer in nuclear warfare,” said a clothes trader from Lal Chowk area of the city.
Prominent Kashmiri novelist, Mirza Waheed, tweeted: “Once again, it’s appalling to witness journos, TV wallas, turn into cheerleaders for a war that will have devastating consequences for SA.”
A senior journalist, not wishing to be named, highlighted that many in Kashmir felt the strike was an attempt by the BJP-led government to win people’s confidence post the Uri attack and ahead of elections in states.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said the confrontation could lead to a disaster of epic proportions if urgent steps were not taken to bring down the heightened tensions in the region.
Calling for restraint, Mufti said the people of J&K have the greatest stakes in peace as they have undergone enormous tragedies. “We in J&K have suffered immensely because of the violence and know very well its dangers and consequences,” she said and called upon the political leadership of India and Pakistan to deescalate the war-like situation in the region. “For the people of J&K, peace along the borders and within the mainland is of immense significance and I hope the political leadership of the two countries would also treat it with the same spirit,” she said.
The moderate Hurriyat faction, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said that “military aggression and war is no solution to any problem, it instead worsens problems further, which the three previous wars between both the countries has shown”.
Calling upon New Delhi and Islamabad to de-escalate tensions, the body said the “two nuclear neighbours should behave maturely and instead of confrontations, which can only be disastrous for the entire region, engage in serious dialogue to resolve issues and bring peace”.