Stop using Kashmir as prop

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History has ample insights to explain the causes of turmoil in Kashmir. In fact the origin and repercussions of the turmoil in Kashmir are now so widely understood now that it hardly needs any further elaborations. However, what has really been intriguing is that the efforts aiming return of peace in this trouble-torn state have not been well oriented. Had the case not been so, then of course three decades of turmoil would have proved sufficient a time for those at the helm to evolve with a result-oriented strategy for reaching the desired goal of peace in this Himalayan region. But it has not been so and one is not really sure how long Kashmir will have to wait for the return of real peace. On the face of it both India and Pakistan as well as the governments here as well in New Delhi may say a lot, but fact of the matter remains that Kashmir has never really been a priority. Instead it has always been sacrificed and used as a mere prop for the politics elsewhere.

The conflict in Kashmir, both at political and administrative levels, is the manifestation of peoples’ anger against- and alienation from New Delhi, which is also the popular resentment against the successive “corrupt” (state) governments, lack of employment and other developmental avenues, and more importantly anger against the continued “denial of democratic rights” to the people which touched its climax toward the end of 1980’s and has been the major cause of recurrent spells of violence in the state since, ebbing and peaking alternatively. As if unmindful of all these dynamics, the situation in Kashmir has so far been tackled through good 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. These efforts aimed at containing the ‘militant movement’ were two pronged: one, attempting to seize or arrest the phenomenal violence militarily and; two, trying to defeat or neutralize the vehemence of the ideologies of the militant and secessionist elements. Though both these mechanisms employed for containing the violent uprisings have yielded some results in the past, however, there is also been for years now a desperate need for change of policy. Dynamics of the situation in Kashmir have changed with the change in the geopolitical situation. At the popular level too there has been change in terms of the expression of public anger and sentiment against the disconcerting political status quo. But then there is no appreciation of this change. Instead Delhi has continued to opt for its time-tested tactic of buying time through non-serious and lame initiatives which 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.

Delhi’s continued belligerence, its refusal to heed the desperate and angry voices in Kashmir, and its complacence that it could forever play politics on and with Kashmir for the sake of its political calculations elsewhere in the mainland India, is very dangerous. With an eye on the next general elections, BJP government at the Centre is yet again deliberately overlooking the realities of troubled Kashmir. No wonder then people here are not moved by the GoI’s phraseology. They are also not impressed by the token lip-service of the Indian state and its political and administrative extensions here. Kashmir merits and demands more than token lip-service, and concerted people-centric efforts from all. It is time that the changed situation is understood. Looking at the situation in Kashmir through humanitarian perspective will bring forth areas which need careful and focused attention but which have thus far alluded the same for having been overshadowed by political considerations of the involved actors.

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