EDITORIAL

Disconcerting stalemate

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Kashmir conflict is badly stalemated— both in its internal (Srinagar-New Delhi) as well as international (India-Pakistan) dimensions. And what is really unfortunate is that while this stalemate is badly hurting the ordinary people here, the other parties – governments of India, Pakistan, and also the one in place here, have better absorption capacities, and are as such, yet to reach a stage where the ongoing impasse would appear to be hurting their interests as well. Should it start happening anytime soon, it would certainly brighten the chances of possible resolution. But as the situation is as of now, one does not see any bigger changes in the respective stances of these bigger actors of Kashmir’s political amphitheatre. So likelihood is that the Valley would continue to reel under the kind of situation it has been facing all these years. The temperatures of the hostilities between India and Pakistan across the LoC will keep going up and down and so would be the case with violence within. No immediate headway appears in sight notwithstanding heavy physical and material investments by all sides vis-à-vis their desired and pronounced goals. This is indeed very tragic!

This should also explain why even the boastful claims of different sides and shades are not able to amuse and enthuse people here, even a bit. They are not moved even when Prime Minister talks about solving Kashmir by “embracing its people”, which they know does not go beyond his extraordinary speechifying skills – as they have seen happening with similar such assertions in the past. And, they are also not impressed when Pakistan or the separatists talk about their “initiatives”.

As for the governments in Srinagar and New Delhi are concerned, they must understand that the conflict in Kashmir goes beyond its international dimensions. Both at political and administrative levels, it is also a manifestation of peoples’ anger against and alienation from New Delhi. It is also in part the popular resentment against the successive inefficient (state) governments, lack of employment and other developmental avenues. More importantly it is also sustained by anger against continued “denial of democratic rights” to the people, which has been the major cause of recurrent spells of violence in the state, ebbing and peaking alternatively.

But here too, as if unmindful of all these dynamics, government has so far tackled the situation in Kashmir through its military and managerial skills, bereft of any humanitarian and emotional considerations, and without proper momentum and motivation for the resolution of issues on a sustainable basis. Right since the beginning of the political turmoil and subsequent armed struggle in Kashmir, there have been attempts at containing it primarily through police/military means, which are inherently been alive to the needs that go beyond what they say are ‘law and order’ challenges.

Owing to varied factors, dynamics of the situation in Kashmir have changed considerably over the years. But the governments have continuously refused to go beyond claims and speeches, which at times talk of certain initiatives -- it never really intends to implement -- while at the same time it also continues using its military machine and legal and administrative dragnets to coerce political dissent into silence. Now all this cannot go on forever. Continued belligerence, refusal to heed desperate and angry voices in Kashmir, and complacence that one could for-ever play politics on and with Kashmir for the sake of its political calculations elsewhere in the mainland India, is very dangerous, and a sure recipe for continuation of bloodshed here!

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