Kashmir is an intractably complex problem. There is no easy solution to it.
A lot of impatient voices are being heard today from various quarters as if the Central government can transform J&K in a day or two. It is not possible.
The abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A has only demonstrated the sincerity and decisive political will of the BJP to work towards a possible solution to the knotty problem and has given the Central government some political maneuverability to do so.
No one is saying that this will result in a permanent solution to the problem, which has evaded politicians for more than seven decades. How much time it is going to take is anyone’s guess.
However, one thing is clear. The government at the Centre is in for a long haul. There can be no short cuts and immediate transformation to be seen as the general public or media is wont to. The tremendous media interest in Jammu and Kashmir may also wear out in sometime if the place remains incident free for long.
A bold and ambitious experiment has been undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fulfill the aspirational needs of the Kashmiri people, particularly the youth. While definitely providing some privileges, Article 370 and 35 A had turned out to be strong barriers, choking J&K and not allowing its full and free integration with the country.
Vested interests and political dynasties have held onto power in Kashmir over decades by instilling fear in the Central government that removal of the Articles or reducing J&K’s autonomy in any way, would result in large scale mayhem and takeover by separatists. A win for Pakistan.
These vested interests continue to retain their own political dynasties by stoking fear among the gullible masses of takeover by Central government and loss of autonomy. Any talk of free movement of the people and progressive ideas across Kashmir or development in the real sense to bring the state at par with any other modern state of India was always blocked.
The Opposition parties, including the Congress have already warned that the government’s move is undemocratic and is against the basic fabric of the Constitution.
Congress members have talked in terms of “concentration camp” attempting to raise visions of Nazi Germany. In a quick response, BJP has pointed out the similarity with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s talk of “ethnic cleansing”.
While wild statements being made by Pakistan in desperation are understandable because of its inability to ensure global censure for this spectacular move by Modi government, nationalistic parties within India must restrain from making statements, which can be used by the enemy for their own end.
As the whole world keenly watches developments in Kashmir, it is all the more necessary that the entire political class must speak with one voice, particularly after the Bill has been passed by the Parliament with massive votes in its favour. Any difference of opinion, suggestions, opposition to the move, should rightfully be a part of debate in Parliament. Once the majority in Parliament has passed it, it conveys the wish of the people of India and must be given total support by every citizen of the country in the interest of the nation.
Congress party’s opposition to the move in Parliament was muted and divided. The lightning speed with which the government moved, in bringing the Bill and getting it passed from both the Houses seems to have taken Congress and many other parties completely by shock and surprise. There was no proper plan and strategy, narrative in place to counter this massive offensive by the Treasury benches.
The kind of holocaust, doomsday scenario and bloodbath being predicted once Article 370 and 35 A was revoked by Opposition leaders in J&K is the reason why government is not taking any chances in removing the present curfew and clampdown.
Trouble makers would definitely have tried to make mischief if the restrictions and massive troop deployment and curfew and Section 144 were not in place.
Telephone and internet shut down now-a-days also has an important role to play in the security preparedness because it is through these means that most of the communication takes place by trouble makers and inciters of violence.
This is no way to lessen the enormity of the difficulties being faced by the people of J&K but then maintaining peace is the highest priority for the government.
People who want restrictions to be lifted immediately must understand that J&K is a highly volatile terrorist infested sensitive part of the country and therefore, restrictions can be slowly lifted only after being completely assured that there would be no unrest or violence.
Prime Minister Modi’s speech to the nation after abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A was a master stroke in statesmanship because he directly addressed the people of Jammu and Kashmir and placed before them in striking contrast, the benefits accruing to them by the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A with the losses they were suffering due to the continuance of the Articles.
He said Article 370 and 35A have given nothing but secessionism, terrorism, nepotism and widespread corruption on a large scale.Nearly 42,000 people had been killed due to terrorism in J&K in the last 30 years.
With the abrogation, he said, a “system which denied due rights” to the people of J&K and was a “huge hurdle in their development” has been eradicated.
Painting a rosy picture, he said that removal of the Articles will allow the IIMs and IITs and AIIMS to be established in the state, all Central Acts and provisions will be applicable to the state, leading to its accelerated growth in socio economic terms and all benefits will accrue to state subjects like all other citizens in the country. Government officials and police personnel will get all benefits like in other parts of India, besides, largescale recruitment will be done in the Army from J&K. He requested national and international film producers to shoot in the scenic surroundings of J&K. Public and private sector industries will be urged to set shop in the state. Tourism and herbal industry will be given a boost.
The fact that J&K is an integral part of India comes out clearly in PM Modi’s statement, “Concerns of J&K and Ladakh are the collective concern of 130 crore citizens. We are not indifferent to their happiness or sorrows and sufferings.”
Whether the promises being made by Modi are fulfilled or not, he has emerged a genuine leader, ready to carry forward his people towards the goal of a bright future. The choice was clearly with the people of Kashmir but an affirmative and positive mood had been created by a passionate Modi.
He did not flinch to point out that people of J&K must bear patiently the restrictions on movement and communications till the time the situation was conducive to their being removed.
The Opposition is waiting for the Central government to make one slip to declare that the whole move has been a failure.
Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise the issue have not had much success, primarily because world powers see it as a bilateral issue.
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