Ordinary Kashmiris, prisoners in their own houses, are sandwiched between the terrorists, separatists and security forces.
The decision to send an all-party delegation to Kashmir to assess the ground situation is a welcome step by the government, even if it came two months after the protests began in the Valley. It is a step in the right direction which will help in arriving at a political solution to the impasse. The 27-member delegation should meaningfully address the unrest that has already taken 73 lives and will build the road to sustainable peace in the Valley.
If we see the timeline of the Kashmir problem since July 8, when militant commander Burhan Wani was killed by the security forces, we will find serious inconsistencies and contradictions in the government’s response in handling of the protests in the state. There is a palpable sense of policy confusion.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of political outreach and dialogue with the protesters, Union home minister Rajnath Singh invited non-Kashmiri Muslim leaders to consult with them on the path to be taken in Kashmir, thus, trying to project a community-based solution to the problem.
The Union finance minister, on the other hand, spoke in an altogether different voice. There is an obvious ambivalence in the utterances of the Central leadership and between the Central and the state leadership in Srinagar about the resolution of the problem.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: Reuters)
A coherent framework is missing in the process. Confusing signals are making it difficult to bring about sustainable peace in the Valley. Secondly, the words of the government are not yielding any result because they are not backed by genuine action on the ground.
So far as strategy is concerned, the Modi government is banking on the 2002 Vajpayee formula of “Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat”. But the problem is deep-rooted this time around. So, out of the box thinking is required which is nowhere to be seen either in New Delhi or Srinagar at present. There is much that the Modi government and the Mehbooba Mufti government can do in Kashmir. Hoping that normalcy will return to the Valley after the youth get exhausted and that the protests will lose momentum is not a strategy but symptomatic of lack of ideas and political will.
So what is the solution? The path to sustainable peace in Kashmir lies in a separate but integrated plan of action for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the separatists and for Pakistan and the action plan must be followed by courage for serious action on the ground.
When we are talking about dialogue, we will have to have a dialogue in a democratic way. The contours of dialogue must be defined. We should have dialogue with an open heart but not without exercising our minds; otherwise the consequence will be similar to that achieved by the home minister during his last visit to Srinagar. An open invitation for talks was sent on Twitter when there was no internet in the Valley. He himself was not clear about the parameters of the talks. Violence continued unabated even during the visit of the home minister.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir are looking for a permanent and lasting solution. Ordinary Kashmiris, prisoners in their own houses, are sandwiched between the terrorists, separatists and security forces. They are facing the worst economic crisis ever.
But what needs to be understood is that the depth and intensity of alienation among the youth of Kashmir is real and enduring. The challenge is to engage the youth in the Valley through confidence-building measures. Their psychological integration with the Union of India is the lasting solution to the problem. And for that, we need to first understand what their aspirations are.
The trust deficit between New Delhi and Srinagar should be made so strong that it is not cracked by the centrifugal forces. We have to abandon preconceived notions and prejudice, and have to collectively overcome the “we versus them” syndrome in the Valley.
During the UPA government, a series of round table discussions were held as confidence-building measures among the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions. Revival of such strategies would help to strike a psychological cord with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The formula for political solution should be accompanied by measures for economic development of the state for real time effectiveness of such a solution. The government ought to keep in mind that the youth of Kashmir are unlikely to respond to economic packages until a political solution is reached.
Like in any other state, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are sensitive to the incidents and utterances in other parts of the country. So the domestic policy of the Central government should be in sync with its Jammu and Kashmir policy. There is every probability that a conciliatory approach towards the Valley will be negated by a polarisation strategy in other states. Rather, it will deepen the crisis.
Pakistan’s meddling in the internal affairs of India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, is an open secret. By appointing parliamentarians as special envoys “for fighting the Kashmir cause in different parts of the world”, Pakistan has reignited the agenda of portraying Kashmir as an international issue and to impress upon the United Nations, through its well-wishers, for its intervention in Jammu and Kashmir. But Pakistan should remember that the UN Resolution of 1948 has specifically stated that Pakistan should withdraw its troops from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Therefore, by refusing to withdraw its troops from PoK, Pakistan has violated the UN resolution.
Then how to deal with Pakistan? The Pakistan policy of the Modi government is marred by confusion and inconsistencies. The comprehensive dialogue process now appears to be in dead water. Till now, the Modi government is yet to effectively utilise back channel diplomacy for talks.
This mechanism was extensively used during the tenure of Manmohan Singh and proved to be effectual. The UPA government, throughout its tenure, sustained the peace process either by talking to the Kashmiris or to Pakistan. The situation in Kashmir today is a reminder that it is in India’s interest to do so. The present government will have to evolve a consistent policy to deal with Pakistan. An integrated approach to address the political and economic realities of the state only will yield the desired result.
Content Source – http://www.dailyo.in/politics/narendra-modi-kashmir-pakistan-hurriyat-upa-nda-pok-united-nations/story/1/12766.html
The turbulence in the valley subsequent to the encounter of Burhan Wani. Hizbul Mujahidden commander is a reflection of the failure of law and order mechanism in the State as well as administrative machinery of the Centre. 30 lives have been lost and many more are injured. Besides, the economic loss is there. What else we are waiting for?
Recently, there were intelligence reports regarding polarisation of youth in the valley. Whether any action was taken by the Government and corrective measures were initiated in this regard is not known. The polarised discourse and flip flop regarding talks with Pakistan provided oxygen to the separatists to fuel the situation for the worse. The intensity of the youth unrest, particularly in Southern Kashmir, is a matter of serious concern.
Wani created more terrorists after his death than during his lifetime. Until now, we were worried about terrorism across the borders but if the recent incidents are of any indication, then popular support to militancy in the valley is a more serious threat. If we still remain indifferent to the situation, the result which is there for all of us to see would be repeated more often.
Also Read – Faultlines: Jammu and Kashmir
With the number of registered unemployed youth crossing 6 lakh mark, Jammu and Kashmir has the highest unemployment rate of 5.3 per cent in comparison to its four neighboring states. A serious thought should be given to provide employment opportunities to the youth in the region, both educated or otherwise, which cool down the temper. Probably, the Prime Minister should experiment his Skill India and Start Up India missions in Jammu & Kashmir.
Nearly a fortnight ago, terrorists had attacked a police station in Gurdaspur and killed 12 people including a Superintendent of Police. God prevented a bigger incident as five live bombs on railway tracks were defused in time. It may be the first such attack since 2002, but definitely symptomatic of troubled times ahead for the people of the State who are already battling against unemployment, farmer’s suicide, youth unrest and drug menace.
Besides the domestic aspect, terrorist attacks in Punjab have serious security and foreign policy implications, for the history of the State and for its geographic and strategic importance. The deadly attack was a wakeup call for the Modi government in Centre as well as for the Badals in Punjab because whatever may be the mens rea of the terrorists and the political masters, if Punjab, which has historically suffered a lot, emerges as another terrorist front after Jammu & Kashmir, it will pose a serious strategic threat to India as a nation – state.
The basic question that all are asking after the Gurdaspur incident is that why did it happen to Punjab again and whether it was an isolated case or beginning of another tragic era. There are several aspects, which need to be understood to arrive at a satisfactory answer to this question. The economic link of terrorism and smuggling of drugs across the border to India is one such vital aspect in the context of resurgence of cross border militancy in the State.
The second aspect of the problem is not only complicated but also very dangerous for the peace of Punjab as well as for sovereignty of India. Reported build up of Lashkar – e – Taiba / Jaish – e – Mohammed terrorist groups on the Pakistan border and regrouping of Khalistan forces, combined with the communal politics of SAD – BJP ruling alliance, are real threats for Punjab and India as a nation – state. There are more than one theory about the source and route of the terrorists.
Also Read – Economic crisis of Punjab
The third aspect is political in nature. The tacit support of the Akalis, their stand on espousing the militants’ cause by way of seeking premature release of hardliners including Babar Khalsa International terrorists and stoic silence of the BJP leadership could revive militancy in Punjab which has been otherwise a peaceful State since suppression of the Khalistan movement.
Vote bank politics is regaining as the 2017 Assembly elections are coming closer. The Akalis are trying to compensate their loss of support among the masses by igniting communal passion. BJP is eyeing for fishing in the troubled water. Political compulsions are prevailing over national interest.
Increased communalisation in Punjab gave rise to Khalistan movement and this needs to kept in mind by the BJP and Akalis before igniting communal passion in the State for the sake of electoral benefits. Our eyes may be on Jammu & Kashmir and hosting of ISIS and Pakistan flags there, situation in Punjab is no less volatile. Good sense should prevail and both the parties should work towards strengthening law and order in Punjab and to build an effective counter-terrorism strategy.
What’s the solution? Jingoism is not going to solve the neither problem or conflicting response by the Centre and the State Government. There is a need for immediate and unambiguous response from the state mechanism to deal with the terrorist threats in Punjab. Punjab police are known for their valour but we cannot undermine the immediate need for modernisation of police force in Punjab.
They need to be equipped with modern technology to deal with extremism, terrorism, narcotics and cyber crime. Secondly, they should be trained, in terms of operation and strategy, to deal with any such incident. An effective anti-terrorism measure should involve a coordinate effort among the legitimate stakeholders and agencies of the Government. Absence of such a coordination mechanism will lead to disorganised response to terrorism.
Most importantly, terrorism should not be used, at any cost, as a tool for political gain. If militancy will resurface in Punjab, which should never happen, it will because of lack of control of the Central Government over the elements perpetrating regional chauvinism, militancy and narco-terrorism in the State and tacit support of the Akalis in the State for promoting these elements.
(The Author is a Supreme Court Advocate and National Media Panellist of the Indian National Congress. The views expressed by the Author are personal.)
When the Prime Minister was in Jammu, delivering speeches on political grammar, the valley was up in flare with Pakistan flags and presence of ISIS, depicting a clear picture that either both the Centre and the State Government have lost control over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir or some sort of political engineering is taking shape in the State, in connivance with the ruling alliance, which is detrimental to our national interest and the people of the State. The incidents in Kathua and Anantnag are still fresh in our memory. The terrorist attacks in Jammu & Kashmir continue unabated.
Nothing has been learnt from the past mistakes. The Kathua attack came less than a week after India sent its foreign secretary to Islamabad to resume talks with Pakistan. Whereas the political leadership of the State feels that the attacks are handiwork of non-State actors, the paramilitary and civilians continue to suffer.
Einstein had said, ‘any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent’. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. The situation in Jammu & Kashmir was allowed to be become complicated and violent in the winter of March when the dreaded Masarat Alam was released. His release could have been avoided. Then, the Union government had the opportunity to detain him, but they did not and, unfortunately, no satisfactory answer was given for this by the Home Minister in his statement in Parliament on 12 March.
Consequence, the period of calm is over, a shudder runs again through the valley. With temperature rising in the valley, snow is melting, so also the peace. If we are shocked by the anti-India and pro-Pakistan activities of Alam on our soil, we should not be because you cannot expect serenity and tranquillity from an agent provocateur. But, the role of the BJP-PDP government in the state and the BJP government at the Centre and the manner in which the entire episode was mishandled needs scrutiny not only to dissect what went wrong but to plan how to correct in future.
When opportunism prevails over conscience, such consequences are bound to happen. In fact, the silent areas of the common minimum programme are the fault lines of governance in Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately, the state, which has been an example of secularism for the rest of the country, has been somewhat polarized. The tone and tenor of Masarat Alam and Geelani’s speech is a clear indication that the Indian flag is under cloud in the valley. Even as tension continues to loom over the State and normal life has come to a halt in the valley, there no single senior Minister present in state capital to coordinate with civil and police administration to bring back normalcy in the State. The arrest of Masarat Alam and Geelani on 17 March was not a preventive action but a late reaction taken in pressure to continue the power sharing formula in Srinagar.
The declaration by the Central government that it will construct a composite township for rehabilitation of Kashmir Pandits did not help to improve the prospects of peace in the valley either. Kashmir Pandits are an integral part of economy, culture and political set up of Jammu and Kashmir. There is no doubt that they should return to the valley but will it serve any purpose if they physically move and remain culturally cut off from their roots? In fact, what the governments, both in Centre and at the state, plan to do is to establish separate colonies for Kashmir Pandits knowing very well that colonies by nature are homogeneous and the idea of composite character does not fit it at all.
Kasmiriyat does not allow creation of separate habitations for Muslims and Pandits. Even this is not acceptable to the Pandits and neither the Centre and nor the State Government has discussed any such proposal with the community. They want safety, security, livelihood guarantee and confidence building measures and not separate colonies to return. Rather this flawed political declaration, understood to be made after taking the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed into confidence, is a step towards isolating the Pandits further and has made their return difficult.
For BJP, it is a moment of introspection. A party that grabs power even at the cost of compromising its fundamental ideology is beset with intransigence highly detrimental to national interests. The need of the hour is protection of lives and livelihood of people in Jammu and Kashmir. Arrest of Masarat Alam and Geelani should not be end in itself but system must be geared up to ensure speedy trial and toughest of punishment for the sedition that will set a deterrence for author hate mongers in the valley.
Let a strong message go across the border also that India will not allow any anti-national activity on its soil, either supported and instigated by external forces or perpetrated by their agents here. Also important is that the political leadership in the Centre and the state should not play into the trap of the separatists who are hell bent to create political and civil unrest in the state.
Our foreign policy should be based on pragmatic considerations to protect interests of India as sovereign nation-state rather than guided by internal political considerations. The admission of Hafiz Saeed that government of Pakistan, its army, in collusion with militants like Saeed, are actively operating to destabilize Jammu and Kashmir, even though is not a new innovation, should be seriously taken by the political establishment and security forces in Delhi and Srinagar, for the danger it poses to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Release of Lakhvi in Pakistan, anti-India propaganda by elements like Hafiz Saeed, Masarat Alam and Geelani and increasing violence in J&K should not be viewed as events in isolation. This is the opportune time to address problem in a comprehensive manner with utmost urgency. Any government that fails to protect lives of its subjects has no moral right to govern.
For the central forces operating from the state, situation is very dicey and challenging. A single mistake by them has the potential to turn the already volatile valley into a cauldron. New Delhi and Srinagar must be alert to deal with deal with such pressure situations and the more and more preventive measures are taken, the better for the people of paradise on earth.
First Kathua, then Anantnag, the terrorist attacks in J&K continue unabated. With temperature rising in the valley, snow is melting, so also the peace. If we are shocked by the anti-India and pro-Pakistan activities of Alam on our soil, we should not be because you cannot expect serenity and tranquility from an agent provocateur.
But, the role of the BJP-PDP Government in the State and the BJP Government in Centre and the manner in which the entire episode was mishandled and continues to be needs scrutiny not only to dissect what went wrong but also to plan how to correct in future.
For BJP, it is a moment of introspection. A party that grabs power even at the cost of compromising its fundamental ideology is beset with intransigence highly detrimental to national interests.
Also Read – Faultlines: Jammu and Kashmir
The need of the hour is protection of lives and livelihood of people in Jammu and Kashmir. Arrest of Masarat Alam and Geelani should not be end in itself but system must be geared up to ensure speedy trial and toughest of punishment for sedition that will set a deterrence for author hate mongers in the valley.
Let a strong message go across the border also that India will not allow any anti-national activity on its soil, either supported and instigated by external forces or perpetrated by their agents here.
Also important is that the political leadership in Centre and the State should not play into the trap of the separatists who are hell bent to create political and civil unrest in the State. Our foreign policy should be based on pragmatic considerations to protect interests of India as sovereign nation-state rather than guided by internal political considerations.