Anecdotal evidence from Srinagar
The sceptics can dismiss all the other indicators — declining violence figures in the state, the record number of tourist arrivals, the extremely high percentage of polling in elections to local bodies — but not this anecdote which tells you that things are actually getting back to normal in Kashmir. Thieves decamped with an ATM in the middle of the night from uptown Srinagar.
An ATM machine along with cash was stolen in the uptown area of the city, a police spokesman said here this afternoon. He said during the intervening night of August 29 and 30, some unidentified persons took away an ATM machine and cash at Paraypora on Srinagar-Airport road in the uptown. He said exact details about the cash looted by the thieves was not known.[UNI]
Even though this sounds counterintuitive, it is a crime worth rejoicing over. After all, criminals wouldn’t dare to decamp with an ATM in the night if the town was infested with terrorists and trigger-happy security forces ready to nab them. Alas, the law will punish them for their crime — as it should — but these burglars have sent a larger message to all of us: things are indeed getting back to normal in Kashmir.
Yes, ATM machines get decamped in normal societies. If you don’t believe it, take a look at this Time magazine report from 2010 about the rise in theft of whole ATM machines in the US. If you are looking at India, here are reports of stolen ATM machines from Pune, Allahabad and Jaipur.
Oh, of course you wouldn’t buy that argument if you are a Non-resident Kashmiri novelist sitting in New York or London. After all, a normal Kashmir wouldn’t allow you to peddle your tales of conflict, violence and trauma. Kashmir and Kashmiris be damned!