There is likely to be a determined effort on Tuesday, Id-ul Zuha, by pro-Pakistan elements in Kashmir to exploit religious sentiments. Particularly in the rural parts of South Kashmir, where Jamaat-e-Islami and allied bodies have a sizable presence, the administration has become virtually non-functional. It will be up to the police and the CRPF to ensure that ordinary folks are not steam-rolled into protest marches. If a day for piety is sought to be misused by politicians to fuel their separatist agenda, ordinary people may be put in harm’s way. In the past, violent elements used protest gatherings to hurl bombs or pull out assault rifles to cause mayhem. The security grid should factor this in and take necessary preventive measures.
In the recent past, the security sector has been neglectful. The mini-secretariat in Anantnag was burned down by a violent mob of thousands recently. This was done under a well broadcast action plan, but the government took no steps to prevent a motivated mob from gathering. People are being pushed into participation in these mobs and adequate preventive measures are lacking. Srinagar’s trouble zone, the old city (“downtown” in local parlance), must be kept free of trouble makers on this sensitive day. Prayers can be offered in local mosques. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has clarified there won’t be any Army deployments for now. That is a positive sign.