You must have often heard about Kashmiris pelting stones, robbing banks, waiving ISIS and Pakistani flags. You must have heard about how huge crowds of Kashmiris came for Burhan Wani’s funeral procession and how an army man’s funeral procession was pelted with stones. You must have heard the sad mainstream media stories about how Kashmiris are forced to tread on the path of terrorism because of lack of economic opportunities in the valley. You must have heard the famous media story about how a poor son of headmaster was forced to pick up the gun at such an early age only to be slain by the Indian Army. You must have watched TV debates about how the situation in Kashmir valley is deteriorating and how the government is failing Kashmir and its people.
You have heard these news pieces because they sell and they come loaded with an inherent agenda. The story of gloom in the valley sells like hot cake and hence happier ones are either ignored or they remain buried under the pile of manufactured malice. Here’s a good news though:
A recruitment drive by the police in Kashmir on Wednesday attracted nearly 3,000 young men and women. The recruitment drive happened in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
More than 6000 youths had applied for different govt jobs only last year in September during a recruitment drive.
“We want to change the perception about the youth of Kashmir. If given an opportunity it would be an honour to serve this nation,” one Irshad Ahmad had said, who travelled 30 kilometres from Pulwama district to attend the recruitment rally in Anantnag last year.
19000 youth from across Kashmir participated in a recruitment rally being organised by the Army from April 4 to April 12, this year out of which 800 were to be selected. Can you imagine that a great many young people from the valley are sick and tired of the Azaadi Wars?
If these numbers are to be believed, the majority of the youth wishes to join the mainstream. They don’t care about what the Geelanis and Andrabis want, all they care about is their future.
Coming back to the topic – Did you hear about this positive development in the news channels? No? And, why would they? Why should they tell you what Kashmiri youth want? Because this will be against their agenda, and the narrative they have so painstakingly created.
To make things clear refer Frustmanoos’s very important analysis of Jammu & Kashmir where he concludes:
“Of the 10 districts in Kashmir valley, 5 are plagued by separatism and strife. They are- Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag, Kulgam and Pulwama. It is these 5 (of the 22 districts in J&K) that gather all attention and limelight for their violent antics.”
More harm has been done by the media on how it covers and portrays Kashmir than the stone pelting zombies. The mainstream media wants to tell the viewer and the international community that everything, almost everything is wrong with Kashmir and the government needs to bow down to anti-nationals and have a dialogue with the separatists and other stakeholders to perpetuate peace in the valley.
When Burhan Wani was killed by the Indian Army, series of violent protests became the daily normal for Kashmir. Media gleefully broadcasted the stories of violent tussles until pellet guns were employed by the Army to control the violent stone-pelting mobs. Media went into a frenzy and demonised the army and the government. Memes with faces and bodies pockmarked with pellets started doing rounds on the internet and tears for Wani and potential Wanis started flooding the social media.
Just yesterday Lieutenant Umar Fayaz, a 22-year-old Kashmiri, was abducted and brutally killed allegedly by Hizbul Mujahidin militants when he was attending the wedding of his niece in the adjoining village of Shopian.
By killing Fayaz, militants wanted to send a clear message to the youth of Kashmir. Refrain from joining any govt organisation be it army or police. Or else we’ll kill you. But they got an answer that they never really expected. The youth turned up in even larger numbers for army recruitment drive. The hope is not over yet!