PM Modi has both intent and commitment to set right Kashmir turbulence



Prime Minister Narendra Modi intends to set right the Kashmir turbulence, through a reach-out process with genuine development and the benefits of pro-people schemes reaching the remotest areas is a laudable manifestation of the current Government of India module for Jammu & Kashmir Union Territory says a senior advocate, Chairman, Kashmir Policy and Strategy Group and, Distinguished Fellow USI, Ashok Bhan.

Bhan was a keynote speaker at a seminar in Delhi organized by the strategic community.

Kashmir has been in turbulence with continuing unrest for the last few years and sizeable numbers of local youth have been driven for recruitment to militancy.

Kashmir has been on the boil perpetually for the last more than three decades. The “wolf of mayhem” continues to consume human lives. Anti-terrorism units of the Army, the J&K police, and other operational security forces and agencies are terming the elimination of terrorists and fewer arrests as a major success in anti-terrorist operations. It indeed is, but with a caveat.

The collateral damage — the death of civilians and security personnel and damage to individual properties — is painful. The subtle OGWs support of militancy contributing to selective killings of soft innocent citizens are issues that should worry all citizens and the government.

Terrorism has rendered the state, especially the Valley, without liberty and individuality. It has devastated the economy, education and normal living pattern, the plural ethos, and imperiled institutions. The societal psyche is turning cynical and despondent and that is what Pakistan and militancy have managed to do with the people of Kashmir.

In the name of self-determination, people have no voice of their own and their emotions are controlled and charged by proxies. People know the disastrous consequences of the harm Pakistan and terrorists have done to the current and future generations of Kashmir. But the anti-India sentiment that has grown over the years is so strong that people refuse to see the logic.

Modi’s outreach to people is intended to address the attitudinal, socio-cultural, political and economic grievances of the people in order to win the hearts and trust of the people and let the menace of terrorism be handled by professional security forces.

Another pressing issue of reversal of exile of aborigines Kashmiri Pandits (KP), the natives living in exile for the last 33 years. There is a consensus in the political spectrum for their return, rehabilitation, and political empowerment back in the valley.

The Government of India needs to demonstrate the requisite political and governmental will to plan the return of KPs in the Valley. They are yearning to return home. Let the Union government talk to them also and return them to at least three smart cities in Baramulla, Srinagar, and Anantnag district headquarters. Otherwise, the idea of India in Kashmir is incomplete without their physical presence and peace shall always elude.

The government has acknowledged that the use of hot pursuit against terrorists and OGWs on the one hand and a blend of engagement, dialogue with all the stakeholders, and massive development is the only way forward to defeat the menace of terrorism and usher in peace in the UT.

Peace is the sine qua non for democracy, development, coexistence, and peaceful rights to liberty and terror-free life for the people.

People’s participation in large numbers in the political process of various political parties and most recently in Home Minister Amit Shah’s public meetings in Baramulla, demonstrates people’s yearning for peace, democracy, and the right to a terror-free peaceful life. It further manifests the rejection of Pakistan’s bigotry, terrorism, and radicalized narrative.

New Delhi seemingly has adopted an approach to 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. In a democracy, a prolonged governor’s rule is not an option.

The governor’s administration shall have to task itself with the restoration of modern education, smart health services, stern law and order, genuine people-centric developmental activities, and public grievances system that have collapsed or stand completely eroded. Democratic institutions have been marginalized and discredited. Drugs and menace are being thrust from across the borders, and black marketing of essential goods, smuggling of timber, hawala, and fake currency have become the backbone of a parallel conflict economy.

The governor’s role for short time in the troubled J&K is to set right these issues that concern the people most. Such efforts with the policy push are the only way forward. Kashmir calls for peace and its people crave a peaceful life for future generations. In a democracy, prolonged governor’s rule is not an option. The people crave a democratically elected government of their representatives. The sooner elections are held the better it would be for the winning hearts and minds of common people.


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