Kashmir’s jinxed summers of discontent
The Kashmir valley has a habit of erupting when everything appears to be going smooth – this has been the familiar story, especially during summer.
The current trouble in Kashmir has come after an extraordinary spell of peace and joy. Tourists were reaching the valley in hordes, enjoying the cool and calm weather, despite stone-pelting incidents in some parts of Srinagar city, mostly after Friday prayers.
Then came the death of Tufail Mattoo (17) in police action; the killings that followed fuelled the protests and violence across the valley
The peace that seemed to have been gained was lost in a matter of days.
In 2006, more than 300,000 tourists had visited the valley until mid-May, when tourists were attacked with grenades – 19 were killed and 80 others injured – and the valley was again a black spot.
In 2008, when Kashmir seemed to be recovering from the setback of 2006, roads were choked with traffic as peace reigned and tourists again flocked the valley, the Amarnath land row agitation erupted in two phases – nine days of June end and August 11 and mid-September – and more than 40 people were killed.
With the participation of nearly 62 per cent of voters in the November-December 2008 polls, a rare era of democratic peace dawned. But in the summer of 2009, there was turmoil because of the death of two women in Shopian, with the locals attributing them to rape and murder.