It was expected from PDP-BJP coalition that it would follow a policy of containment, to limit and scale down the violence and open a peace process with inclusive political discourse
By Ashok Bhan
The J&K State, which is the mosaic of different ethnic, religious and tribal groups united together in a culture of mutual tolerance and creative interaction has got engulfed in the worst phase of intolerance and distortion by the self-serving myths of competing political interests.
A volatile atmospherics has set in the State, after the killing of a kingpin Kashmiri Militant’. The whole political discourse of the State has been whipped up by the radical elements. The undemocratic and unruly protests were orchestrated resulting in the death of more than a hundred innocents, pallet blinding of scores of people including the teen aged and also injuring of JK Policemen & other security forces personals. The peaceful life in the Valley was paralyzed for more than three months, the whole economic — tourist activities got stand still, the schools & colleges shut. More than two dozen schools torched.
The 2014 elections in J&K had brought in hope and aspiration in the people, and particularly the youth of Kashmir valley – that they would benefit from the economic development and progress promised by BJP and Prime Minister Modi to the aspiring young India. The youth in Kashmir got inspired and joined the mainstream agenda by a larger participation in the elections. People decided to give peace and positive economic development agenda a priority and through their large participation in the elections, defeated all the incumbent ministers and the previous government. Such was the fervour of hope and positive participation of the youth, in particular.
It was expected, after the formation of the PDP-BJP coalition government, that it would follow a policy of containment, to limit and scale down the violence and open a peace process with inclusive political discourse and also bring in the economic prosperity through uniform and sustained development and open up avenues of employment for the youth. The government rose to the power behind these expectations of the people.
At the time of the swearing in ceremony of the Government, the galaxy of tall BJP leaders and the PM Modi flew in to greet and welcome Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as Chief Minister, and his team. But, unfortunately, the bonhomie of swearing in evaporated immediately. Mufti did a monumental mistake of praising Pakistan and the separatists for the success in the elections that earned him displeasure and a discreet reprimand from New Delhi. Mehbooba after dithering for a while took the bold decision to step into the shoes of her illustrious father late Mufti to carry forward and consolidate the idea of India in Kashmir in particular and State in general. She is ideologically cleared headed, bold and astute. She is the first ever woman Chief Minister of a very delicate and sensitive State.
Pakistan is at the root of destabilizing the mainstream dispensation. She always describes Kashmir as an unfinished agenda of partition and these days preposterously propagating to annex the State in a failed nation Pakistan. Its agenda of proxy terrorist war in the State has destroyed the heritage and demography besides mayhem by unleashing death & destruction since 1990. Kashmiris have rejected Pakistan and its two nation theory 1947 to the founder of Pakistan MA Jinnah when he canvassed-for in Srinagar.
The revival of militant activity in the state is a grim reminder to all concerned that the militant outfits are still present and active to strike anytime and anywhere. Though the public support to militancy has considerably reduced but it has not disappeared. The bold attacks on army, paramilitary forces and the frequent incidents of infiltration from across the border are on the rise. The Government of India launched an effective surgical strike against the terrorists in PoK, despite that Civilian casualties and the highly militarized border clash between India and Pakistan are also on the rise. The phenomenon of terror, panic and disinformation is back in the valley. Security scenario both inwardly and on the border has not materially changed and isn’t very assuring. Clouds of uncertainty are on the horizon the severe winter and snow blocked boarder routes have stalled the major militant activities. Pakistan has diverted its militant offensive tactically to diplomatic offensive and is continuously failing to garner any support internationally instead is inviting reprimands-for its terrorists agenda against India.
The coalition government is in place from May 2014 on wards and the disappointment in the people has already set in, Lack of governance, broken promises, intra-regional conflict, the pernicious propaganda biz of fringe elements and contradictions – both, political and ideological within the government – are attributed for the current despair and disappointment of people. The pro-Pakistan sentiment had lost out and marginalized which was replaced by positive hope and modern economic development agenda, but again that has not come true of this government. The smart governance and space for battle of ideas was promised by the coalition government. Neither the semblance of governance nor the space for any ideas is visible. Instead the radicalized political discourse and violence was allowed to replace the civility, sanity and tolerant socio- political space. Resurgence of intolerance and violence is a cause of great concern to peace loving citizens and the civil society.
The democracy in JK State has polarized the polity on regional lines that has left people with very limited options. The elections and the subsequent formation of PDP-BJP coalition government has thrown up very limited choice. Again a serious question arises after” the new age unrest” in the Valley.
The State Government appears to be in a tight spot. All right thinking citizens of the State and the country, including me, are worried and concerned about the current political and economic affairs of the State.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will have to reach out to the people of the State and particularly the valley with reassurance of his promises of hope, peace, co-existence and a massive economic development package, as and when he finds time to address the affairs of JK State Eyes are also set on the PM Modi to act as a statesman for promoting peace process through meaningful dialogue and invite all the stakeholders by opening doors for formal talks with those elements and groups who have, for some reason, chosen to remain outside the democratic mainstream of the country. It is expected that PM Modi will assure and reiterate his resolve to address the aspirations both political and economic of all sections of people in the three regions of JK State.
There has to be a liberal financial support package for realization of economic entitlement and political rights of the people of J&K. State Government has to strongly continue the hot pursuits against the terrorist and terrorism and the war-like scenario on the border.There has to be a concrete plan and decision to facilitate dignified return and rehabilitation of the exiled Kashmiri Pandits population back in the valley. Last, but not the least, that women constitute 50 per cent electorate in the State.There has to be some special package for socio-political and economic empowerment of the women under the Chief Minister-ship of first ever Woman CM of a delicate and difficult JK State.