Time To Take Call on Kashmir


Both centre and state leadership has to be on the same page to work together with focus on the affairs of the Jammu and Kashmir State rather than their own predispositions

Picture: Rajnath Singh on four day visit in Jammu and Kashmir; Mehbooba Mufti with Karan Singh

By Ashok Bhan

Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s four day visit to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) State has reinforced PM’s 15th August message to reach out to embrace Kashmiris with love. The visit has set at rest the fears about the tinkering with Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Constitution of India as applicable to J&K State. HM Rajnath Singh met scores of delegations both in Kashmir and Jammu and also intensely assessed the security scenario with the top brass of Government the Army and other security and police leadership and a visit to turbulent Anantnagh.

How the people have reacted — CM said she welcomes the presser of HM and demanded the implementation of Agenda of Alliance, as if her partner BJP is an obstruction. Governor Vohra largely reacts by his silence that is how he is there, as interlocutor for 4 years without any report in public domain and Governor for 9 years after being a director of prestigious IIC of which he recently became President to replace Country’s top legal eagle Soli Sorabjee. Political class cynical response — Delhi not sincere it will go on like this. Separatists despondent as usual with trumpet of trust-deficit and condemnation of the harshness of NIA. Civil society — despair and helplessness. Militants -Shoot & scoot and at times surrender. Media in Catch -22 situation and people in — to be or not to be situation.

*Jammu & Kashmir State, consisted of its distinct entities in five separate regions with nothing common with each other. The hill areas of Gilgit, Baltistan and Skardu and the punjabi-speaking areas of Muzzaferabad etc; are with Pakistan. In Indian part of the State, there are three divisions- namely;-Hindu dominated Jammu;, Suni Muslim dominated Kashmir with Shia community ,the Pandits ,Sikhs and Gujjar communities, and Buddhist and Shia populated Ladakh.

*Great leadership in the past with great efforts integrated these diverse divisions as the mosaic of different ethnic, religious and tribal groups and united these together in a culture of mutual tolerance and creative interaction as a plural and democratic JK State. Unfortunately it has got engulfed in the worst phase of militancy, intolerance and distortion by the self-serving myths of competing political interests.

*Currently unlike past, when Kashmir used to enjoy the glory of peace and rich civilization plural ethos popularly known KASHMIRIYAT , the situation in Kashmir is;- the radicalization is taking over the Socio-Political discourse and gaining greater appeal and the pro Pakistan narrative which was noticeably very weak, has also become strong. the recruitment of local boys in the ranks of militancy is phenomenally on the rise. The new age youth and students are up in protest against the very Idea of India and democratic process in the Valley. The young innocent lives and armed forces personnel are lost on a daily basis. The political space of main stream polity has shrunk. Democracy is in peril and the attempt to delegitimize the idea of India in Kashmir is galore.

*Faced with the continuing death and destruction unleashed by mercenaries, the non-State actors since 1989, the colossal sufferings of the large components of Kashmir society, the Muslims and the Kashmiri Pandits in exile and almost a generation in the grave yards:, Yet the Kashmiri population at the societal levels has the sense and understanding that; Radicalized Separatism can not be and is not the option and “resolution of all the issues lies through a negotiated peaceful dialogue process”

*Sane advise always is and was PDP-BJP State Govt. Will be loosing its plot in Kashmir, if the hot Military pursuit is not blend with regular dialogue with the stakeholders including the agitationist youth. Top military brass, the security forces, the political class, the civil society and peace loving citizenry of the Country and JK State have voiced such opinions for quite some time. I have been consistently writing the columns and I myself in my humble way as an incorrigible Kashmiri am voicing the peace agenda with PM, HM and his team, the Congress and other political parties and the international as well with domestic relevant forums.

*The revival of militant activity in the state and elsewhere is a serious issue and a reminder that the militant outfits are spread, present and active to strike anytime and anywhere. The youth in anger joining the militant ranks is hugely disturbing phenomenon, public support to militancy had considerably reduced but it has surfaced with renewed vigour. The phenomenon of terror, panic and disinformation is back in the valley. Security scenario, inwardly is not very assuring. Darker clouds of uncertainty are on the horizon. The militancy is on the big rise. Huge participation in the funerals of the slain militants is worrying; it reflects the people’s subtle if not the express support to the revival of militancy. There is no centrally organized command of local terror groups they operate like criminal gangs and Pakistan is able to coordinate these gangs. They seem to gloat about their achievements on social media rather than displaying any radical commitment. The current turmoil and Loss of innocent lives on daily basis has imperiled “Democracy and Human Rights. Kashmiris are yearning for peace and peaceful and secured life and liberty for the current and future generations.

*”Country’s strategic and constitutional interest lies in the welfare of people of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh and not in land alone”. Country has to initiate the peace process through meaningful dialogue. Rajnath Singh the HM has reinforced PM MODI”S message of embracing Kashmiris by his visit and meetings with people.HM has invited all that includes those who have not been so far part of mainstream polity their own political reasons.

Such leadership has in the past met PMs Vajpayee & Manmohan Singh, HMs Advani and P Chitambaran. They were allowed to visit Pakistan and talk to Pak civil & military leadership. As publicly stated by past PMs and HMs they were requested to come up with a solution module to resolve Kashmir imbroglio that could be acceptable to the entire stakeholder. The leadership never went back to Country’s leadership nor did it even work out any such module at least nothing is in public domain. Their rhetoric, dithering, political ambiguity and flip flop are costing dear to all Kashmiris. Now again the opportunity is at their door steps and it is for them to rise to the occasion and respond to current PM and HM’s call and invite. It is the talks and talks that leads to iron out the issues and solutions follow in the interest of all concerned. I am an optimist and advocate that it is talks and love for Kashmir and its people alone can resolve the ” K ” Imbroglio. Dispute resolution and diplomacy is a fine art and we Kashmiris are the finest artisans.

Therefore, it is for the Kashmiri Leadership that claims to represent the turbulent sentiment of the Valley to come up with a road-map for talks in the best interests of the people

The main stream political leadership has to take a call to stay united as watchdogs that State does not slip back into the olden abyss. Therefore the leadership and the administration in Delhi and Srinagar has to be on the same page to work together with focus on the affairs of the State rather than their own predispositions.

(Author is a Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India. Views expressed above are completely personal and doesn’t reflect editorial policy of the magazine)