Violence and democracy
As rightly pointed out by the President Ram Nath Kovind, during his convocation address, Kashmir has all along been an abode of peace and harmony and violence was something never heard. Unfortunately in 1990, the gun culture was introduced here and thus the outstanding tradition of peaceful coexistence was broken. Violence, which was never part of Kashmiriyat, became a daily reality. This violence saw the exodus of one of the vibrant communities, Kashmiri Pandits, and this exodus remains a tragedy that is yet to be addressed. Though fundamentally Kashmiris, from all religious groups are peace loving people but the politics of the times introduced violence which was alien to Kashmiri culture. Besides the exodus of Pandits, the violence left thousands and thousands dead and destroyed the economy of the region. It was this mad violence that turned Kashmir, famous for its scenic valleys, meadows, mountains, rivers and lakes into a place full of graveyards. A place that was the meeting point of various rich cultures was plunged into the culture of violence. People have suffered and suffered miserably as the gun has not snatched their lives but livelihood too. The violence has impacted people physically, economically, socially as well as psychologically. Time has come that people of Kashmir understand the futility of violence and join hands, heads and hearts to defeat all those nefarious forces which are adamant on plunging the region into confrontation, death and destruction. The people have to convey to these elements that violence has never been and it will never be a way of life here. People need peace, the peace that would help them to march towards progress and development.
In a democracy, there is no scope for violence as rightly pointed out by the President, “democracy has the capacity to reconcile all differences and bring out the best of the citizens’ potential.” The people need to have firm belief in the very concept of the democracy and should, therefore, discourage all the elements that advocate violence as a tool to realize political goals. That said, the Union Government too should understand that it cannot leave the region on the mercy of bureaucrats. If people are reposing faith in the democracy, the government should ensure that the democratic process is put back on rails. Central rule, no matter how efficient it may be, can never be a substitute to the peoples rule. People of Jammu and Kashmir have a right to elect their own representatives – the representatives in whom they have full faith and who too are well aware about the issues confronting the public. The governments need to engage with the political forces from Jammu and Kashmir. Though a beginning was made when Prime Minister chaired an All Parties Meting in Delhi, the process needs to be continued so that the government creates an atmosphere wherein the elections to the assembly are held as soon as possible and people are allowed to choose their own representatives.