Another cycle of violence in troubled Kashmir has provoked hysterical commentary and predictions of "a new phase" of terrorism in the Valley.
The reality is that this is Kashmir's "normal". Cycles of violence - particularly street violence - have occurred with insistent regularity over the past years, even as the incidence of terrorist violence and related fatalities remains relatively low.
For all the strident commentary, the reality is that the security forces (SF) have acted with restraint. Fatalities among protesters and the particularly disturbing injuries - including partial or complete blindness as a result of the "non-lethal" pellet guns - have been the consequence of patterns of inadequate deployment in particular areas and overwhelming violence by frenzied crowds, necessitating augmenting levels of use of force.
The present escalation, as was the case with past cycles, will die down - and, indeed, has already dramatically diminished at the time of writing.
Unfortunately, it is almost inevitable that another phase of turmoil will crystallise, sooner or later, around some other incident or event.
Despite the state's long experience of dealing with such incidents and developments, however, it appears that the wheel is reinvented on each occasion, and there is little evidence that the lessons of the past inform responses in each renewed spiral of disorders.
It is useful, consequently, to review some of the difficulties and deficiencies of response in the present case without rancour or attempts to point fingers.
It must be abundantly clear that such situations present difficult challenges for the political leadership. There have been many and misconceived exhortations for politicians to "reach out" to the agitators and "find a political solution acceptable to all stakeholders".
This is politically correct nonsense.
There is little possibility of any such outreach at present, particularly in the more volatile centres of the agitation. It is unrealistic to expect politicians to go out and talk to the people, or to expect the people to listen to them, in phases of escalation, with the intimidation of the terrorists a pressing reality in the background.
The problem is not the absence of political initiatives in this phase; it is, rather, their absence in intervening periods of relatively low violence which no political party appears to have exploited to address enduring tensions and to contest persistent processes of Salafist-Islamist radicalisation in the state.
Moreover, the agitation itself was both predictable and preventable, but there were errors of assessment, both of scale and location. This suggests a very high order of the failure of intelligence - particular in view of the fact that there had been a massive media build-up on Burhan Wani.
This had been backed by ill-considered statements by officials from time to time, virtually confirming Wani's "rock star status". It is now of little utility to harp on the fact that Wani had never executed a single major operation.