New Delhi, July 8 (ANI): The cycle of violence that has enveloped Kashmir for almost a month now has finally led to the decision of calling in the Army in support of the Police and the Paramilitary forces. This is the time to evolve new ideas that provide viable long term options to deal with the problem.
First and foremost, all democratic and freedom loving forces in the country should stand steadfast in support of the government of Jammu and Kashmir and its Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Not many Chief Ministers in Kashmir have completed their terms, even the grandfather and father of the present incumbent have resigned from the post of Chief Minister at some point in time. The previous government fell under similar circumstances of turmoil just two years ago.
Historically, removal of a government has not brought about any change in the politico-social environment of the Valley, therefore, this is not the solution to the problem. On the other hand it would result in yet another victory for such forces in the Valley who indulge in causing disruption.
This is not the first time in India that the Army has been called out in aid of civil authority. Kashmir need not be seen through a prism that is different from the rest of the Nation and the decision should be viewed as one taken in concert with national policy for dealing such situations. In other words, the emotional hype that is being given to this decision is misplaced and it should not be allowed to gain political credence.
The Army has, very rightly, been given the mandate to maintain peace through the medium of flag marches and imposition of curfew. Some other forces have the responsibility of crowd control. This decision maintains the stature of the J and K Police and Para military forces who are primarily responsible for maintaining law and order. However, should the need arise, the Army should not shy away from using force to maintain peace.
The responsibility for this cycle of violence is sought to be put on the youth of Kashmir. The implication is that, due to a violent childhood spent in the shadow of the gun and lack of employment opportunities, they see no light in the end of the tunnel and the resultant anger and frustration is erupting in the form of spontaneous agitations.
This perception is divorced from reality. In comparison with the rest of the Nation, Kashmir is well placed in terms of both literacy and poverty indices. There are others who are much worse off, but they do not come out in the streets and vent their frustration and anger.
Secondly, while the world is getting globalised Kashmir is being guided by its leaders towards geo-political isolation. If you do not welcome investment, do not provide land for commercial use, do not give security for commercial enterprise and on top of it do not leave your home town to look for employment outside, how can you progress? The leaders and elders should advise the youth to put the past behind them, get over this ghetto mentality, shun hatred , abjure mindless rage to direct their energies towards achievement orientation like the rest of the youth of the country.
A word about the so called spontaneous nature of these agitations. One cannot help but discern a distinct pattern being followed year after year which leaves doubts about their spontaneity. It is also a known fact that some political segments in the Valley use disruption as a tool to achieve their objectives . While living in luxurious comfort they give unending calls for Hartals and Bandhs with little thought to the inconvenience and economic loss being caused to the poor people.
Against this backdrop, while ruthlessly cracking down upon the disruptive elements the Government should prepare itself to deal with such upheavals. Training the police in riot t control should be given top priority and the quality of policing should be enhanced through additional recruitment, purchase of modern riot control equipment and specialised training.
The debate on Kashmir should involve a wider section of society. Jammu and Ladakh are also stake holders and their people need to be involved in the discussion process. Retired officials who have served in Kashmir, intelligentsia including Kashmiri Pundits, businessmen, scholars, analysts and journalists should be involved in evolving a holistic understanding of the problem.
Presently, selected Kashmiri politicians and leaders are invited to express their views on pre- decided agendas.
The decisions are mostly inconclusive. It is often said the most complex problems have simple solutions. Kashmir will emerge from the existing despondency through a simple, realistic, step by step approach. By Jaibans Singh (ANI)