BISMAH MALIK SRINAGAR,Jan 7:Watching an encounter live on the TV sets may excite
many of us , but for many more being there on the spot and catching up
with the action presumably more live in nature, is mega exciting.
Amazingly, the people who make sure that they do not miss out on this
life threatening action are not always security men or mediapersons who are bound to discharge their duties, but the ever affected” common
man” of the valley.
Normally one would consider an impartial third party person to wash
his hands off from any such incident, but here the story is different.
Death does not scare people here. Bullets are looked at as miniature
objects and their piercing ability is underestimated. which is why
people here do not think twice before plunging into battlefield to
witness the battle.
Today, when a one and a half day long encounter was carried out in Lal
Chowk breaking the dry spell of encounters after two years, it
appeared people who happened to pass by were more keen on watching the
whole episode in war zone of Lal Chowk with naked eye rather than sit
securely in their living rooms.
Interestingly, when the news of a probable encounter hit the nearby
shopkeepers and people, none of them lost their cool. A few hundred
meters away, even when the sound of bullet exchange was booming in the
air, people shrugged it off as just another disturbance. And when they
were asked to get back homes, they instead chose to act as avid
The crowd grew bigger as the encounter progressed and became fiercer.
Ghulam Muhamamd Beigh , a shopkeeper in Lal Chowk commented, “ Since,
this encounter took place after a long time , people were excited to
watch it. Moreover, with the excitement there is fearlessness which
people here have developed over these two past decades.”
It appeared as if Ghulam Muhammad like many of his fellow shopkeepers
already knew what is going to be the fate of this encounter. He said,
“Lal Chowk has always been central to such incidents. And most of the
times when militants are holed up in a building, the encounter is due
to take longer and eventually it catches fire.”
And Ghulam Muhammad was right this time too. As soon as he shutted
down his shop, he became a party to his fellow workers who were either
watching this live movie or were being chased down by securitymen.
However, this crowd becomes a pain in the neck for the troopers who
were caught in between encounter fighting and crowd retaliation. Amid
crowd jostling and sloganeering, there is a section of troopers which
solely manages crowd or shoos them away.
Expressed Jan Begum a Khanyaar resident, “Understandably, security
cordoned the whole area. However, we were stuck for hours together.”
Another few yards away, a masaala vendor finished off his business
rather quickly,again undeterred by the nearby proceedings and
gratifying himself with some money in his pocket. He said, “These
encounters are a usual affair. I cannot ruin my day for it. “
This excerpt almost sums up the state of a common man here who earns
for his family at the stake of his life.