Stop using it as prop
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 over three decades 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 this 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 India and Pakistan, as well as the governments here and 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. This should explain why Kashmir and its special status is dragged to the centre-stage of politics each time there are general elections in India.
Pakistan, as much one would like to differ or disagree, has played a very important role in Kashmir. Without going into ‘what’ and ‘how’ parts of this assertion; for the sake of brevity, it should suffice to say that dealing with Pakistan is the exclusive domain of the India’s diplomatic circles and could be left to them. However, tackling the situation within Jammu and Kashmir both at political and administrative levels merits looking at and understanding the conflict as the manifestation of peoples’ anger against- and alienation from New Delhi, which is actually 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 Jammu and Kashmir has been tackled till date through good managerial skills, bereft of proper momentum and motivation for the resolution of issues on a sustainable basis. Right since the beginning of the armed struggle in Kashmir, there have been attempts at containing it primarily through 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 uprising have yielded some results in the past, however, there is also been for years a desperate need for change of policy. Dynamics of the situation in Kashmir have changed with the change in the geopolitical situation. But there has been no visible change in the government’s policy towards Kashmir.
All that Delhi has to its credit is sticking to the time-tested tactic of buying time through non-serious and lame initiatives which it never really meant to implement. At the same time it also continued using its military machine and legal dragnet to coerce political dissent into silence. Now all this has started to backfire. The resurgence of militant violence can partly be understood as fallout of Delhi’s continued belligerence, its refusal to heed the angry voices in Kashmir, and its complacence that it could for-ever play politics on and with Kashmir for the sake of its political calculations elsewhere in the mainland India.