Deceptive Calm in Kashmir
The only brief respite or silver lining in the internal security scenario was in Kashmir. In 2011-12, the relative reduction in violence, the successful conduct of Panchayat elections and the high number of tourists visiting the state of J&K created a false sense of peace in the political establishment.
The elections to choose 34,000 village representatives were held after three decades. The level of intimidation by internal and external elements and security threat to these elections can be gauged by the fact that it was conducted in 17 phases.
It was hailed as a great victory for grassroots democracy and a harbinger of a new era in the political and national discourse in Kashmir.
These expectations are now being dashed. It began with the killing of five village representatives last year, and now the mass resignations of Panchayat members is threatening to go viral on the diktats of jihadi outfits.
Image: An eldery Kashmiri villager is assisted towards a polling station to vote during a sixth phase of voting in village panchayat (civil bodies) elections on the outskirts of Srinagar on May 16, 2011.