Building stake in peace
Since past some time, the governments here have been very vocal about “peace through development”. Delving politically into development economies, the government’s standpoint that the better economy is directly proportional to the peace in the state is indeed logical, particularly when one goes by the modules correlating peace and development. It goes without saying that the government is absolutely logical in its assertions but there are other dynamics to the political amphitheater in Jammu and Kashmir which too can’t be overlooked.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been reeling under the violence for nearly three decades now and despite tall claims by the successive governments at the state and the centre, no respite has come for the people of the trouble-hit region. While as the peace has become a buzz word for the politicians not only in this region but the world over, unfortunately the people who actually want peace and could bring it about are missing. Or to put it in other words, those who can actually make a difference to the situation and bring about peace are either not interested in it or have deliberately been left out and not allowed space to make any worthwhile contribution.
The confrontation in Kashmir has resulted in massive human rights violations, in which there is no let-up till today. Despite assertions from the governments about curbing the rights violations, there has not been any marked relief for the common people. Part of the reason why the violence is going on unabated here is that there are different stake-holders, state as well as non-state actors active here who are directly responsible for the violence. All these perpetrators of violence have certainly developed a vested interest in the continuation of the conflict. While as illegal trades are happening under the guise of violence, political super-markets in Kashmir receive unaccounted money from various sources, which is in itself a big incentive for them to keep the pot boiling. Violence has certainly become an industry for certain sections and peace will be like death for all those who are benefited by the continuation of hostilities here.
Not a single day passes without someone dying a violent death somewhere in Kashmir. Army and other counter insurgency forces including police continue targeting militants. Militants too are trying to attack these forces whenever they can. Unrest on streets is claiming civilian lives unabated and now some new brigade of ‘unidentified gunmen’ too has been killing unarmed civilians with impunity. Following every killing, on either side of the political divide, condemnations is what the general public is fed with. The leadership, both separatist and the mainstream has failed to help even a single life in Kashmir. While the mainstream politicians have failed to reign in their armed forces to ensure no civilians are targeted, the separatists too have no control over militant groups. Over and above, none from the leadership has the courage to tell civilians not to indulge in clashes with government forces at encounter sites. Jammu and Kashmir like other violence-hit zones in the world has suffered a great deal because of the persisting violence. There are strong vested interest groups whose polity and economy thrives on the blood of Kashmiris. To isolate such groups and to pave way for peace building, government in New Delhi need to rope in all relevant actors and potent forces, bring them on board and develop their stake in peace. However, this can’t happen unless New Delhi opens up communication links with Pakistan too.