April 2018 News

Kashmir Spins Out Of Control

19 April 2018
Greater Kashmir
Ashok Bhan

Srinagar: The outrage reflected by mass protests in Delhi and across the country (including the participation of Priyanka Gandhi' teenage daughter along with thousands of protesters in the midnight candle light protest against the rape and killing of the minor in Kathua, finally forced BJP to dismiss its two cabinet ministers. The ministers were allegedly shielding the accused and attempting to stoke communal tension over the heinous crime in a sensitive State of Jammu & Kashmir. The PDP-BJP combine is falling apart. The so called North Pole and South Pole alliance of convenience has messed up affairs of Kashmir and failed to deliver good governance. Kashmir seemingly spins out of control. Chief of Army General Rawat recently said that Kashmir imbroglio can not be resolved militarily realising that it is the biggest internal security challenge and advocated engagement and dialogue. Until recently he had argued against any dialogue process and hailed the officer who had tied a Kashmiri boy to bonnet of the jeep to scatter the stone throwing crowd on army. Democracy is the only way forward is the accepted jurisprudence to resolve the peoples issues. General, it is a welcome change of perception keep it up with a citizens CAVEAT no let up on anti-terrorist operations. New Delhi needs to approach the issues keeping in sight the fact that 'India's strategic interests are intertwined with the goodwill of the 'Valley's ordinary People including Kashmiri Pandits' and not the land alone. The unabated violence and street protests has engulfed Valley again before the durbar of governance would open in first weak of May in summer capital Srinagar CM Mehbooba has frantically asked for centre's support for a dialogue process with the youth and stakeholders inwardly and externally with Pakistan. In Kashmir people expect end to violence in their homeland. They ask -Don't they deserve peace and violence free life to their future generations after losing almost a generation has gone to graves and citizens are suffering perpetual misiries and colossal Societal agony. Don't the aborigines exiled natives who are yearning to return back to their home deserve their rightful place in their own roots which are engraved in the soil of Valley for more than five thousand years.-?These are the important questions being asked from the PM and the leadership of all hues. Kashmiris loudly say PDP-BJP combine Government has failed the people of Jamme & Kashmir. The people of the Kashmir valley rejected Jinnah's two nation theory and hooted him out of the Valley when he asked Kashmiris to opt for Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of J&K state was keen to keep his state as an independent nation. Hari Singh had dreamt of making J&K another Switzerland by promoting tourism. His vision was to keep J&K independent and out of the newly formed Indian Union which was not acceptable to Pt. Nehru, Patel and even Mahatma Gandhi who had personally counselled Maharaja not to dither and decide the future status of the State urgently. Maharaja instead asked for stand still with both the dominions. Meanwhile Pakistan waged a proxy war through armed tribal militia backed by its regular army with agenda to annex Kashmir. Maharaja Hari Singh's army was unable to stop the Pakistani irregulars and was soon outnumbered. He sought India's help and asked Mountbatten for military assistance, to blunt the Pakistani attack. The Instrument of Accession was signed like all other states and immediately the Indian Army landed in Kashmir to prevent its forceful occupation by Pakistan irregulars. Pakistan's 'incursion' was repelled despite its advantage of surprise, speed, timing and uninterrupted access to the Valley. The Indian army, despite many operational disadvantages skilfully managed to 'save' Kashmir from Pakistan for Kashmiris. The political leadership in the past and efforts by the people integrated these diverse divisions as a mosaic of different ethnic, religious and tribal groups and united these together in a culture of mutual tolerance and creative interaction in a pluralistic and democratic J&K state. Unfortunately, J&K has got engulfed in its worst phase of terrorism, intolerance and distortion of heritage because of self-serving and competing political interests. The Kashmiri Pandit Community en mass has been hounded out. A concerted plan of killing one and scaring a thousand was the militants' tactics to exile the Kashmiri Pandits who are on the verge of disintegration. Tragedy of violence has caused mayhem and instability to dismantle the idea of democracy and plural ethos in Kashmir. Kashmiris are yearning for peace and wish to have an end to the mayhem of destruction. They strive for peaceful life for the future generations. Dependence on Pakistan by Kashmiri militants and the non mainstream leadership is like collection of the dew that only wets the hands and nothing is achieved. It has led to death and destruction in the Valley and brought about the societal agony and colossal miseries, loss of lives, perpetual cynicism in the social psyche and devastated the plural socio-cultural ethos, say the Kashmiri analysts. US is concerned about the regional security in South Asia. US experts feel that India-Pakistan tensions will complicate and spoil US's interest in the region as was reflected by the recent visit of Ambassador Alice Wells US assistant Secretary of State to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India . Kashmir spins out of control.Unabated street protests and killing of innocent civilians, the security force personal, militants and continued recruitment of young local educated boys to militancy has made Valley almost a battlefield. The level of discontent has gone up and there are no palliatives of succour. The aimless and meandering policy is bearing no fruit. Unfortunately BJP has allowed Kashmir to slip away of its grasp eventually. It is sad for India as a world's largest democracy. Policy on Kashmir needs a review in view of changing political dynamics. (Ashok Bhan is Senior Advocate Supreme Court of India and Chairman Kashmir Policy and Strategy Group)