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The valley of death

The recent massacre of 35 Hindu villagers is another addition to the chronology of militancy in Kashmir, writes Meenakshi Iyer.

india Updated: May 05, 2006 10:52 IST

It all began in August 1993, when 16 Hindus were shot dead near Kishtwar in Doda. Since then the story of blood and gore in the Valley has continued.

Kashmir remains as it was - the road less travelled.

The recent massacre of 35 Hindu villagers is another addition to the chronology of militancy in the region and…

…Perhaps a cruel reminder of the fact that the recent confidence building measures, peace initiatives and people-to-people contacts are just not yielding any results.

As Pak observer puts it: "The normalcy (in relations) is proving to be an illusion because of dragging of feet by India on the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir".

"The freedom fighters are perhaps losing faith in the peace process and prospects of any solution. That is why they have once again started resorting to such tactics," the Observer says.

Also, Pakistan has been complaining of the slow progress in peace talks and also 'India's reluctance to address the 'core issue' of Kashmir.

Perhaps, New Delhi's outright rejection of proposals offered by Islamabad has not gone down well with the country.

The neighbour's recent proposal to remove all heavy weapons from Kashmir was also put down by India.

"The latest incident…as Daily Times says, "could be an Indian intelligence agency's tactic to get Pakistan into more trouble with the rest of the world and blunt its drive to pressure India into sorting out the bilateral equation".

Further, describing New Delhi's Kashmir policy as "evasive", Observer says that India should "engage into meaningful discussions with Pakistan and Kashmiris for settlement of the problem".

All this apart, now the recent violence may further apply brakes on the peace bus.

"Such incidents could put a monkey-wrench in the process of normalisation of relations underway between India and Pakistan…Both sides will adhere to their separate 'narratives' over Kashmir," says Daily Times.

The killing of Hindus, who comprise slightly over 40 per cent of the state's population of 11 million, comes three years after the 2003 massacre of 24 Kashmiri Pundits in Nadimarg.

While Pakistan has not, for once, flinched from taking India to task, and is parroting the Musharraf line of "no action by India", the core issue -- the curbing of Lashkar or its ilk along the border as demanded by India -- remains to be addressed.

This, in addition to the Kashmir propaganda launched by Pakistan, which continues unabated. All this must be addressed at the earliest.

Sooner the better, without which the peace to the Kashmiris, and the Hindus in this case, will remain a pipedream.

First Published: May 04, 2006 20:23 IST