The frontline Border Security Force (BSF) has lost 11 troopers in the cross-border firing incidents along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir till date in 2018, the highest casualty figure for the border force in a year in the last five years, a latest data revealed. Four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, including an Assistant Commandant-rank officer, were killed in a similar incident in the Ramgarh sector of Jammu alone. This belies the hope of stability people on the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir have been looking forward after BJP’s clean sweep of the country in 2014 parliamentary elections. Unfortunately, the gains could not muster the much-needed political stability. Since then the situation has changed much with current year seeing highest ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), violence in Kashmir Valley from stone-throwing to Bandh calls, terrorists attack on security forces have all become statistical references. The intensity and viciousness of the propaganda from Pakistan too has multiplied manifold. In the past one week around a good number of terrorists have been eliminated in operations along the LoC and in the hinterland. The challenge to bring in military and political stability becomes much larger especially when the annual Amranth Yatra is scheduled to begin soon. In order to deal with the emerging situation, first and foremost the mainstream political leaders need to reassert themselves as the situation improves. There was a statement from the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh alluding to permanent solution on Kashmir and now willing to talk to right minded people. It had raised hope and more importantly it shows that the Central Government and the State Government are together and not in silos. Kashmir has a huge youth population that is hesitant to step out because of lack of awareness, empowerment and apprehension. The spirit of entrepreneurship too is hardly developed. Kashmir’s potential economic wealth remains much under actualised because of the prolonged disturbed situation and also lack of requisite skills and enterprise. By connecting economics with security and education it is possible to check the untapped potential to provide meaningful employment for youth which to some extent can change the cycle of induced violence.
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