An SMS joke says south Mumbaikars didn’t vote because there was no valet parking at the booths. There was low voter turnout in Srinagar too, but that’s no laughing matter. As this was being written, trouble erupted in Lasjan, near Srinagar, when a ten-year-old was crushed under an army truck. The army is seen as the most visible symbol of Indian ‘hegemony’, and soon, the accident site turned into a venue for anti-India protests. Kashmir watchers say some of this could have been avoided if New Delhi dealt more wisely with Kashmiris. For instance, there is no need for paramilitary forces in Srinagar, the police are enough. In Bomai village in Baramulla, where two young men were killed in army firing in February, FIRs have been registered against men who participated in protests. The separatists are cashing in on the issue. In south Mumbai, citizens came out to protest against politicians after 26/11. No one registered an FIR against them. Similarly, the protestors at Bomai should have been allowed their say. In a democracy, it is imperative that some rights are assured. Whether the events take place in South Mumbai or J&K.
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