Kashmir has been reeling under the renewed cycles of public unrest and violence for past three decades now and despite tall claims by the successive governments, no respite has come for the people of the trouble-hit region. While as the ‘peace’ has all along remained a buzz-word for the politicians, the people who actually mean peace are missing. Or to put it in other words, those who can make a difference to the situation and bring about peace are either not interested in it or have deliberately been left out to make a worthwhile contribution.
The confrontation in Kashmir has resulted, and continues to be the cause of massive human sufferings. Part of the reason why violence continues here unabated is the absolute lack of accountability on the human rights front. There are different stake-holders, state as well as non-state actors, who have developed a ‘commercial’ interest in continuation of the conflict. While illegal trades are happening under the guise of violence, political super-markets in the state have thrived in the name of the suffering people. Government of India, on its part has perfected the art of putting every blame on Pakistan, but its own track-record is no different. Its polity, its agencies and the people comprising them too are part of the thriving political economy of the Kashmir conflict. Violence and instability has become a sort of industry and peace will be death for those who are benefited from the continuation of hostilities.
Kashmir politics has always been dynamically different. Without understanding the dynamics of the conflict in Kashmir and accordingly formulating a strategy for peace, so far we have seen all the concerned parties pulling wool over the people’s eyes. Instead of evolving with a comprehensive policy to rope in all concerned quarters and build their collective stake in peace, everybody is pulling in different directions to satiate their selfish interests. Even if one could overlook the Pakistan factor and its sphere of influence which certainly is the only staple in mainstream India’s blame for troubles in Kashmir, the sleazy politics played by the Indian side too is blameworthy. For the sake of brevity, one can look at and point out numerous faults in the politics of two successive UPA and subsequent NDA regimes at New Delhi, and their subsidiaries that ruled here, and only fuelled countless other conflicts along the fault-lines of region and religion in a bid to confuse the larger political conflict.
Now that a new government has taken over, it is seemingly again heading in the same direction of talking about rebuilding the developmental infrastructure and link it with the over-arching goal of peace. Who would allow this infrastructure to be created and peace to follow when strong vested interests are there to hit at any developmental and peace? Today it is not about wanting the guns to be silenced – this has more or less been achieved – the challenge is to scale down the back-stage perpetrators acting at the behest of so many visible and invisible powers. So the government will have to try and undo some of the damages which are of their own making and then try and look at this entire paradigm of ‘peace through development’ beyond the individual political dividends.