Worsening Kashmir Situation
Condition in valley has further deteriorated under the Modi led NDA government
Governor NN VohraH unlike many of his predecessors in office has the experience of safe play. He keeps his eyes and ears open in the skullduggery and ruthless power play games in Kashmir over the last10 years he held the job of GovernorH He took over on 26 JuneH 2008H when the state was in utter turmoil over the transfer of land to the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board by the State Government headed by Ghulam Nabi AYad with the support of Mufti’s PDP. AYad’s regime was toppled by Mufti Syed by withdrawing support. AYad tried his level best to stay in power by garnering Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference support. Farooq Abdullah did not respond to AYad’s frantic calls in London where he was enjoying golf with his Delhi based businessmen. AYad could only talk to Abdullah through the businessman’s phone to his dismay Farooq did not say yes or no and finally Omar Abdullah conveyed to AYad that too through intermedateries sorryH no support. AYad finally resignedH NN Vohra as Governor was asked to hold elections immediately and he managed to hold and conducted elections for a new state Assembly smoothly in November and December that year — a feat few had thought possible. The elections went off smoothly and there was a 70 percent turnout in the state.
Such is the ruthless power game in Kashmir. Mehbooba Mufti was dealt in no decent way; she was in usual business in the midst of administrative meetings in the secretariat when she got the message of BJP’s withdrawal of the support to her government. She resigned and consequently the Governor rule was imposed.
Vohra’s administration was generally popular when Governor’s Rule was imposed again after the 2014 electionsH and the BJP and the PDP took more than two months to negotiate their coalitionH and after Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death in January 2016H when Mehbooba Mufti took three months to take over as Chief Minister. He personally is said to have advised Mehbooba Mufti as center’s emissary to lead the Government to which Ms Mehbooba favorably responded. The people’s expected the peace and Ache Din for Kashmir that was hugely marketed by PM F BJP-PDP alliance. Kashmiris are hurt and betrayed say Kashmir analysts.
Now that Vohra is in full administrative command -what are the prospects of Kashmir entering the permanent era of peace for a meaningful resolution of the imbroglio in the backdrop of the followingJ
In Modi regime of last more than four years Kashmir situation worsened. Kashmiris are hurt and betrayed. The militancy has escalated. Border with
Pakistan became almost warlike with daily exchange of heavy artillery firing on both sides resulting in heavy casualties of civilian population and displacement. In the valley and elsewhere the death toll of civiliansH and security personal was high. The militant’s ranks swelled despite many top militants liquidated. The BJP-PDP experiment on politics failed. Mainstream political space shrunk. Anti India campaign and radicaliYation gained highest currency as a narrative Hthe sociocultural institutions are destroyed and the spiritual ethos is imperiled.
Politically the separatist idea persistsH in the Valley of Kashmir and parts of Jammu region as well. Militant violence has been a result of the Pakistani support and aid to the militancy which has included not just training and armsH but also sending in personnel into the Valley. The demography of the valley is changed by exile of a religious minority.
Is the murky situation in Kashmir a consequence of the missed steps in Country’s political handling of the situation-? The answer is no. -For the reason that all the Union Governments in the past and the present one tried the political approach – it restored the state governmentH held elections regularlyH allocated funds liberally for the development and so on. It has attempted mediation through interlocutors. But these have never been properly followed through. The BJP has failed the people the most in last four years.
One of the causes of the new age turbulence is attributed to the betrayal of democratic expectations and the promises made by PM Modi and BJP in the run up campaign in 2014 elections. The youth had participated in large numbers in the electoral process in the 2014 state Assembly elections and voted out the incumbent government. The so called North-South pole alliance Government of BJP-PDP was a positive consequence of the promises. Now the ground reality is that The Government failed the people. How to win back the trust and goodwill of all the sections and respect their aspirations is the Challenge in Kashmir-?
Challenge to validity of Article 35-A of Indian Constitution before the apex court after sixty years is seen as RSS brain child and yet another concerted plan of Sangh Parivar to promote its divisive agenda and erode Muslim majority character of the JK State. It has further made separatist sentiments/movement stronger say the moderate educated Kashmiris.
What the government is up to is not clear. So far it has operated with the belief that past policies of dealing with the issue were too soft. There was need to show the Kashmiris that militancy will not work and that they could not expect any political mileage and concessions by gun trotting .So after hammering the separatists by systematically killing their militantsH moving aggressively against their over ground workers and curbing the stone-throwers. The conditions in the Valley have been grim in the past year particularly not just for the militantsH but their supporters and the average citiYens. What the government seems to be saying
is that “we can give you more of thisH until an opportunity for a way out is found. It has signaled that it is willing to undertake a dialogue through an ex-IB chief. Kashmiris of have debunked such an approach by refusing to talk to the centre’s pointman.
Kashmir is a political problem that calls for an out of box approach. Kashniris are fatigued of violence and loss of innocent lives. The societal psyche has convinced itself that Separation from India is impossible and impractical. A dignified exit route from the current turmoil is the new mantra the Kashmiris are craving for.
A comprehensive process to resolve the issues instead of dithering is the way out. Whether PM Modi and BJP has the mind to attempt a policy shift in Kashmir affairs or wait till after 2019 general election results is the buYY in the Valley.
The government should acknowledge that use of military force alone is not a solution to the complex situation of Kashmir. It has to be a blend of engagement and dialogue with all the stakeholders. It is the psychologicalH attitudinalH socialH political and economic grievances that need to be addressed. ThereforeH the government should worry more about winning back the trust of the people and let the terrorism be handled by the security forces. The unabated turmoil and political turbulence in Kashmir is rooted deep in the denial of justiceH disrespect to legitimate aspirations and frequent skullduggery resorted to by New DelhiH says the average Kashmiri.
Governor rule may bring some success to security forces in eliminating top militant leaders. How to tackle the rising recruitment to the militant ranks of even highly educated youngsters. It is reported that since Governor rule more than a doYen educated youngsters have joined militant ranks. Militancy in the Valley also seemed to be changing qualitatively with fidayeen (suicide) attacks taking place over and over again. The militancy in the ValleyH howeverH also seems to have developed an autonomous raison d’etre in the absence of a comprehensive policy.
The changing character of the insurgencyImilitancy is a serious warning signal that an urgent policy correction at all levels of governanceH and a strategic shiftH is urgently needed to prevent escalation and further radicaliYation.
Kashmir’s intelligentsia is surprised that New Delhi’s policy and its political managers are so incompetentH apolitical and naiveH as not to be willing to leave any space or room for the Kashmiri leadership to exert a moderating influence that could prevent youngsters from taking up the gun.
Pakistan and militancy have managed to devastate and destabilise the rich sociocultural ethos of the people of Kashmir and imperilled the spiritual value structure by imposing radicalisation. Kashmir has been on the boil for more than 29 years. Tens of thousands of peopleH both civilians and soldiers have died and the population of Kashmiri Pandits exiled. Kashmir affairs are seemingly messed up. Terrorism has rendered the stateH especially the ValleyH without liberty and individuality. It has devastated the economyH education and normal living patternH the plural ethosH and imperiled institutions. The societal psyche is turning cynical and despondent.
In the name of self-determination people have no voice of their own and the emotions are controlled and charged by proxies. People know the disastrous consequences of the harm Pakistan and terrorists have done to the current and future generations of Kashmir. But the anti-India sentiment that has grown over the years is so strong that people refuse to see the logic.
There isH the big elephant in the room— Pakistan. Like it or notH any solution of the Kashmir issue requires a two track process involving the domestic separatistsH all the stakeholders and the Pakistanis. Despite Country’s best efforts to isolate PakistanH Islamabad retains the ability to play spoiler in the process through its jihadi proxies. But as of nowH New Delhi is firmly against any diplomatic process with PakistanH soH one can be sure main streaming Kashmir will act as a red rag to the Pakistani bull. UnlessH of courseH New Delhi plans a parallel initiative with Islamabad.
TourismH educationH health servicesH law and orderH developmental activities and public grievances system have collapsed or stand completely eroded. Democratic institutions have been marginalised and discredited. DrugsH black marketing of essential goodsH smuggling of timberH hawala and fake currency have become the backbone of a parallel conflict economy. Nverything needs to be put in order by Governor under his rule parallel to with the political reach out process.
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 PanditsH and not the land alone. Kashmir deserves consensus
PM Narendra Modi with newly appointed Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik
All party meeting on security management issues in J&K