Prolonged governor’s rule is not a solution in the Valley
jkupdate.com | 14-Dec-2018 08:26 AM
  • In the absence of a political dialogue, terrorism in the Valley seems to have developed its own raison d’etre. (Picture Courtesy:DNA)

WRITTEN BY :-Ashok Bhan
Modi government’s no dialogue and non-engagement approach with the stakeholders in Jammu & Kashmir reveals a certain obstinacy. Separatists, mainstream and exiled Kashmiri Pandit leadership are accusing PM Narendra Modi of queering the pitch in Kashmir.

The government should acknowledge that use of military force alone is not a solution to the complex situation in the Valley. It has to be blended with engagement and dialogue with all stakeholders. It is the psychological, social, political and economic grievances that need to be addressed. Therefore, the government should worry more about winning the trust of the people and let the security forces handle terrorism.

In the Valley and elsewhere, despite the success of the security forces in eliminating top militant leaders and nearly 300 terrorists in 2018, as claimed by the military, recruitment is on the rise with even highly educated youngsters choosing to pick up the gun. Militancy in the Valley also seemed to be changing qualitatively with an increase in fidayeen attacks. Attacks on army and other security forces have increased. Funerals of slain militants are joined by a large civilian population.

In the absence of a political dialogue, terrorism in the Valley seems to have developed its own raison d’etre. Analysts are surprised as to whether New Delhi policy managers are so apolitical and naive, not willing to engage with the Kashmiri leadership even to exert moderating influences that could prevent youngsters from taking up the gun.

Kashmir has been on the boil for three decades. Tens of thousands of people — civilians and soldiers — have died and Kashmiri Pandits are in exile. A peace and war scenario has been thrust. It is a dimension of a hybrid war. The security forces and intelligence agencies have completely overlooked and misjudged the potential of this dimension of a hybrid war in Kashmir. This phenomenon is evident from the fact that tourism, education, health services, law and order, developmental activities and public grievances system has collapsed and stand completely eroded. Democratic institutions stand marginalised and discredited. Drugs, black marketing of essential goods, smuggling of timber, hawala and fake currency have become the backbone of a parallel conflict economy.

The societal psyche is turning cynical and despondent and that is what militancy has managed to do with the people of Kashmir. In the name of self-determination people have no voice of their own and emotions are controlled and charged by proxies. Kashmiris consciously want to give peace a chance provided New Delhi assures that the aspirations of all sections of the populace are respected and that a grand vision ends the current impasse.

Political dialogue with all stakeholders is an internationally acknowledged jurisprudence for conflict resolution. For New Delhi it would be the most prudent and astute political approach to reach a resolution. The Prime Minister’s hot pursuits and flip-flop political-diplomatic efforts so far haven’t been able to deescalate border hostilities. Nor has the peace process made any headway in Kashmir. Therefore, a change in policy is the only way forward. Kashmir needs a grand vision.

Top Kashmiri separatists SA Geelani and Mirwaiz Omar are reported to have recently told a visiting delegation in Srinagar led by former Norwegian PM Bondevik that the Government of India has kept Kashmir issue lingering over the past seven decades. This has resulted in enormous miseries for the people through killings and human rights violations.

It is hoped that Kashmir will blossom, with the idea of India, when it is free to choose its own representation/destiny through genuine democratic process to join the mainstream and permitted to develop its resources through liberal financial help without much interference from New Delhi. Kashmir has a soul, a sense of individuality, and a long history of a bond among all who live there. It will never be satisfied with less than the opportunity to enjoy its distinct Constitutional identity.

New Delhi needs to approach the issues keeping in sight the fact that India’s strategic interests are intertwined with the goodwill of the Valley’s ordinary people, including Kashmiri Pandits. Before violent unrest and upsurge get further out of hand, New Delhi needs to deal with the issues with an out-of-box approach. In a democracy, prolonged Governor’s Rule is not the option.(Author is senior advocate, Supreme Court)(Courtesy:DNA)

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