Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, the chairman of the separatist Hurriyat group that enjoys a marginal presence in the Kashmir Valley has reiterated the long standing demand of his organisation for demilitarisation on both sides of the line of control. The demand has been made against the backdrop of the recent incessant firing from across the line of control by Pakistani troops that led to the killing of three civilians, including two children, in the Uri sector of Northern Kashmir. The statement was only one part of the overall separatist sponsored propaganda. The whole effort involved a number of simultaneous media initiatives. Therefore, as one heard the Mirwaiz talking about demilitarisation, one also got to read a spate of anti-army news reports in the captive press of the inimical forces talking of army convoys causing inconvenience to the general public, people agitating against the Army etc. Fortunately, the separatist media managers did not get lucky enough with an opportunity to insinuate physical violence and even rape by army personnel which normally gives leverage for propaganda of the basest nature under such circumstances. The news reports, of course, were supplemented with articles calling for the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act written in a manner that would rouse public sentiment rather than put across any legal or political logic. That this is out and out propaganda is evident from the tone and tenor of the announcements. What the Mirwaiz failed to elaborate was that, not only was the ceasefire violation unprovoked, Pakistan also fired 80mm rockets, one of which fell in a civilian habitat leading to the killing of the three unfortunate persons on October, 16. What the Mirwaiz further sidelined was that Pakistan has been consistently violating ceasefire over the last few months despite commendable restraint for the Indian side which has refused to be provoked into a fire fight. The Mirwaiz has also shown righteous indignation with regard to the recent increase in the Para-military strength in the valley. Quite astoundingly, for reasons of propaganda, he has conveniently put the number of CRPF personnel who have recently been inducted into the valley at 15000 when actually it is only 7000. Such blatant lies from a religious head do not augur well for the society that he is mandated to lead spiritually. The Mirwaiz, in due accord with the selective amnesia that he suffers from while making political statements, also failed to dwell on the reason for this sudden increase in troop strength. He did not mention that a few months ago, 2000 CRPF personnel had been taken out from the valley and there was talk of a further reduction which met with strong protest from the State government. It is the killing of Panches and Sarpanches which left the central government with no option but to augment the troop strength to deal with this new menace. Perhaps the Mirwaiz can shed some light on the steps being taken by his organisation to guarantee the life and safety of the Panches and Sarpanches; this is something within the political domain of his organisation since the Panches and Sarpanches are Kashmir’s first and office holders later. Surely they should be protected by the internal political machinery which includes the Hurriyat. The elected government may be called upon to provide essentials like bijli, pani, etc but contesting mindless violence is the joint responsibility of the entire political leadership including the Hurriyat. In fact, the responsibility of the Hurriyat in this regard is more critical since the violence is emanating from an organised terrorist movement aligned willy-nilly with the separatist thought process. Terror mongers, already on the back foot militarily, can be subject to the proverbial last nail in the coffin only by political isolation. If they lose political support their constituency will automatically wither away and so will their ideology and sustenance. It would not be out of place to suggest that before demanding reduction in troop presence the Mirwaiz should be working towards eradicating terror from the valley through political and religious means and then talking of the other issues which in any case will fall in place automatically. Politics are good only if they stay within realms of reality. The reality in Kashmir is that terrorists and their masters are not ready to vacate the space that they occupy, however miniscule. They can be driven out only through sheer exhaustion which is possible by keeping on the military pressure. The fight is now in the very crucial last lap stage. What is done now will spell the difference between a resounding victory or back to square one. Under the circumstances, anybody looking for a reduction in troop strength or a letdown in anti-terrorist operations cannot be deemed to have the good of the people in mind. The concern being shown by the Mirwaiz for the loss of innocent life in Kashmir is shared by many in India and across the world. There are many supporters for the cause of lasting peace in Kashmir. However, the Mirwaiz should be talking of this with his friends across the border with whom he and his cronies never tire of meeting, hat in hand, with their perceived problems. In fact, even now preparations are on to pave the way for the visit of the Mirwaiz and other Hurriyat leaders including Syed Geelani to Pakistan. Pakistan gets motivation to interfere n Kashmir only due to support from the likes of Mirwaiz otherwise it would learn to mind its own business. It is hoped that the Hurriyat leadership will abjure propagandist tendencies and, while in Pakistan, will raise the question of the killing of the three innocents due to no fault of theirs while demanding an explanation for the same.