Give peace a chance

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One more political worker in south Kashmir has fallen to the bullets of suspected militants. Targeting unarmed people for their political ideologies is a heinous crime and the crime is being committed in Kashmir with impunity. New Delhi has repeatedly been talking about restoration of peace here but with the incidents like the one that occurred in Veerinag yesterday, peace still seems a distant dream. New Delhi’s assertions that peace in Jammu and Kashmir can be restored through development is logical. Delving politically into development economies, the government’s standpoint that the better economy is directly proportional to the peace in a state is a politically correct stance, 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. Jammu and Kashmir has been reeling under 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 not much let-up even today. Despite assertions from the governments about curbing 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 continuation of 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. Conflict has certainly become an industry for certain sections and peace will be like death for them.

For instance, the government talks about rebuilding tourism infrastructure to help the economy of Kashmir. It maintains tourism can bring tremendous foreign exchange besides removing the problem of unemployment here. But who would allow the infrastructure to be created and peace to follow, when vested interests always creep in to hit at any initiative aiming peace and development? Jammu and Kashmir like other conflict-hit zones in the world has suffered a great deal because of the persisting violence. It’s not only that the guns are to be silenced but the back-stage perpetrators are also to be sealed down to put an end to the violence. And what could be a better way to achieve this end than roping in all relevant actors and potent forces, bring them on board and develop their stake in peace. Obviously it does not require a rocket scientist to think as to how this can be done!

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