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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kashmir once again

The Indian government, vis-à-vis Kashmir, finds itself in a quandary of its own making. One could, nevertheless, sympathize, as there are not any ghosts left any more except for its own for appropriating blame and finding scapegoats. There are no creative ideas left or rather there were never any except for reactive haggling that constantly alternated with approbated complacencies. One month with low levels of violent incidences or a stage-managed and statistically manipulated election would send powers to be into hubris of mission accomplished and problem solved. Except that the problem was never dealt with and worse, was not even understood or more appropriately, misplaced nationalistic notions prevented its being rationally understood. Kashmir is not the only place in the world with intricate, entwined and complex issues that can thwart any solution. The solution for the issue of this magnitude requires hard choices, overcoming prejudices and a fundamental refrain from assigning ulterior motives to every action of the people who matter in Kashmir. For any right thinking government paramount priority should be the humanization of the place and restoration of human value and dignity. Deliberation in Delhi with a bunch of individuals, many of who didn’t even know Kashmir on map, and then skirting the main issue of partial withdrawal of illegitimate armed forces special power act was nothing but contemptuous and deliberate act of exhibiting the casualness of the approach. The partial withdrawal of the act from the valley would have displayed a barest shred of sincerity on the part of Indian government and under no circumstances jeopardized the security of the country. Instead of acting, government has let it drag to the proposed jamboree of all-party delegation visit to Kashmir in order to find facts and still expecting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to perform miracles. Bizarrely, the armed forces have been given a free reign to air their opposition to any dilution to the draconian act so that security personnel continue their midnight barges into homes and heap humiliations. Manmohan Singh, now Indian prime minister for almost seven years, has been the architect of current Indian affluence and through unintended but cruel entwined growth of chasm between rich and poor. It would now be appropriate and behove his statesmanship to address the issue of Kashmir with the zeal that he once applied to economics. He has been now in politics long enough to know that ultimate solution has not only to be political but also the premise of primacy of political authority and political solution in a democracy should be made clear. The methods used for countering armed militancy cannot remain in force for dealing with unarmed protests, which is the case now in Kashmir; one fails to understand the hesitation even in discussing its partial removal. One can understand the position of thugs of BJP; their foolhardiness; logic never spoilt them but their sinister-ness can never be ignored. Convergence of the views of BJP and armed forces smack of more than a dead rat. Bringing in the statistics of increased infiltration across the border in conjunction with agitation in Kashmir can be no more than concocted disinformation to subvert democratic government from taking any political step to diffuse the situation in Kashmir. Any idiot, watching situation in Pakistan can tell that the country is fighting its own battle against insurgents in almost two-thirds of the territory and has been left crippled by devastating floods. Thus increased trafficking of insurgents from Pakistan is more of a sinister imagination of vested interests on the Indian side of the fence. It is up to the Indian secular parties, if there are any, to be guard against ugly designs of communalist elements and join hands to address the issue of Kashmir through appropriate and timely measures with emphasis on restoration of human dignity and values. These goals would require hard-strive without preconditions and without ignoring any person or party of any affiliation or ideology. But Indian government requires to do in urgency is to make supremacy of civilian authority clear with reigning in of chiefs of armed forces.      
-Rajiv Kumar     


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