A PLEA TO SAVE THE VALLEY
The valley is in grim situation again with bloodshed, unrest
and strike. Since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on 8
July and so far several people have been killed. Further, in the recent by-elections
also, the state government failed to conduct the elections in peaceful manner.
Killing of youth, lives of the people in danger, closing of avenues for jobs
& employment, amongst others are a sordid reality of the state. Reports of
mere six percent polling in the by-poll, stone-pelters also put up tough
Critiques are vocal now about the mannerism of the Centre as
well as the PDP-BJP coalition government over the handling of the situation in
J&K since July last year. There seems to be callous attempts on part of
Centre and State to ignore the problems of the people. Sadly, both the centre
and the state have not been successful to assess the ground situation and make
initiatives for restoring peace & normalcy to the state. The valley has
been facing unrest for quite some time now. Such oblivious stand towards loss
of lives of several innocent people is betrayal of mandate of people of Jammu
& Kashmir by the ruling coalition.
There seems to be a stalemate and paralysis of government work
because alliance formation in the state was not pragmatic enough. This is
evident from the fact that instead of addressing the critical concerns, it is
at this time battling within with their ideological tensions. The sheer failure
to get Agenda of Alliance (AoA) implemented, speaks volumes about bad
governance and malpractices happening in the working of the state.
Problems of governance demand realistic solutions. Mere utterance
of ideas shall not be enough to solve issues. Similarly, this can be seen when
the Prime Minister Narendra Modi did by harping on rhetoric over the issues, as
when he calls for appeal to ‘humanity’, what kind of humanity he means to imply
when innocents are suffering everyday & there is no action plan on part of
Centre. Absence of any coherent policy on part of Centre and State- to deal
with Kashmir has lead to present situation. The finance Minister Arun Jaitley
has reduced the entire situation to something that corresponds to lack of
development syndrome. To debate on notion of peace & normalcy requires that
one perceives the situation in myriad layers- grassroots, culture, society,
national unity, integrity.
The need of the hour is to stand in solidarity with Jammu
and Kashmir. All political parties should reach out for the same, within the
framework of the Constitution. It is to be appreciated that being concerned
over the disturbed situation in the Valley, Indian National Congress formulated
a policy-planning group for Jammu & Kashmir. Its aim is to take forward the
peace initiative and also focus on research route to understand problems of the
terrain. The policy-planning group is chaired by former Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh including P Chidambaram and CWC members Karan Singh and Ghulam Nabi Azad,
besides the J&K Congress in-charge Ambika Soni.
Solutions do not exist in vacuum. Contemporary issue demands
that voices of all be heard in order to meet yardstick of justice. No one side
can claim absolute say in the matter. This is why, it is essential that
sustained and meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders be asked for. A
multi-fold approach is needed to solve as the crisis is grave. This demand is
not new, as even the two parties (PDP and BJP) favoured sustainable dialogue by
taking everyone on-board in their common minimum program.
This deteriorating situation of Jammu & Kashmir, attack
on our armed forces along borders force us to ask the question that despite of
grand narrative of demonetisation why terrorism in the country and infiltration
on borders not stopping. On one side, Pakistan’s nefarious acts have also
martyred our soldiers while on the other hand, what we see is that in Kashmir
the government is registering FIR against Army. Political selfishness is seen
in running of PDP & BJP alliance.
The buck is being passed by the government as innocent people
are bereaved. What is essential to understand is that the canon of national
security has become contested in today’s parlance. There are multiple threats
underneath and that threats are being redefined every hour. Security perception
in present times cuts across all borders & there are nontraditional dimensions
like narcotics, terrorism which coexist with the conventional ones. In such
disputed scenario, the idea of pitching the polity in short term view of ‘us versus
them’ shall do no good. One has to question that how far compulsions &
failures of domestic power sharing in state government of Kashmir are
responsible for the uncontrolled law & order.
Kashmir has a unique role in our diplomacy also. Our borders
are essential to factor-in while analysing India’s relationship with neighbours
and international polity. The need of the hour is to understand by the
incumbent government realize that democracy is beyond majority rule, & is
not merely about temporary legislative mandate arrogance. In larger sense
democracy implies protection of the vulnerable. The government response in form
of mere arousing civic sentiment in tautness seems short sighted. What is
missing is the essential action & hard talk for streamlining terms of
engagement, trade & mediation.
Crisis gives a moment when great churning takes place. No doubt
any attack on unity of nation & integrity of our borders is condemnable.
The grassroots of the state also have to be invigorated in a manner to lead to
a constructive analysis of problem at hand. Sadly, the politics of solidarity in
India seems to be going down at this time when one community or region is
played versus the other in Kashmir & authorities remain a silent spectator.
Further, any national security & foreign policy issue
cannot be reduced to problematique of nationalism. We often fail to comprehend
that Nationalism & democracy are not twins. The retort in chauvinist sense
of eye-for an eye, reduces the thin line between state, nation & democracy to
a farce. What is essential that government should work on to build consensus in
terms of mobilization of resource, manpower & material as larger
collaborative strategy. Culture of democracy has to be nurtured in our
realistic comprehension of peace efforts.
Author is an Assistant
Professor Political Science, DU