Kashmir is a vexed issue of the Asian sub-continent that assumes dynamic dimensions and increases its momentum with the currents of time with a sort of deep permeated growing alienation of the masses and simultaneous floating wave of armed rebellion against the system. It is the problem of multitude and a vendetta which refuses to cow down with the periodic motions of time.
The problem has manifested into a state of multitude, viz, killings, arrests, hartals, mass media stirrings, political manuovers, internet blockades, etc. and unfortunately, the current political crisis is the major concern of the times in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that has delved deeply onto the political scene.
The government of India halted all the anti-militancy operations starting from May 17 in the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramadan of the Muslim calendar at the request of Chief Minister of the state Mehbooba Mufti. This was positively responded by the government of India after thorough consultations with all the stakeholders including the Home Affairs department.
Thereafter, Indian army chief, General Bipan Rawat reiteriated that peace and talks must be given a chance. On May 22, cross-border firing injured 13 civilians, including a BSF trooper along the international border in Jammu area. The positive aspect of unilateral ceasefire ensued a state of peace in the state for some period of time briefly until June 15, 2018, with a fresh killing at the hands of the security personnel at Pulwama.
Subsequently, on the eve of Eid,the u-turn of events subsumed the peace horizon with a volley of anti-establishment protests and clashes between common masses and security forces at various place of the valley, like Srinagar, Anantnag, Pulwama, Sopore, etc. which resulted in the bloody state in Anantnag district of J&K with the killing and bloodbath of a youth and injury to various protesting people. All the national channels subsequently called into question the ceasefire move of the government and called it the day for the truce in the valley. Not only this, the killing of an army man Aurangzeb of Poonch area in Pulwama district of J&K deteriorated the situation thereof with the collective vent of anger at the situational flux and reluctance to offer the Eid prayers at Poonch area of the state.
In a crucial meeting conveyed by the Union government on 14th of June at New Delhi, it was reiterated to have the say whether to continue the truce or not after Eid ul fitr. However, on 17th of June, the Ministry of Home Affairs, government of India post-Eid ul fitr announced the end of temporary ceasefire after fresh tweets poured in over the twitter handle of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh calling it the day for the truce and refuted the extension further after surge in a series of attacks on the security forces. The government of India cited the continuance of operation all out to combat the militancy. Also, there was a major say on the recent killings of veteran journalist, Shujaat Bukhari and army soldier, Aurangzeb, besides the annual Hindu pilgrimage of Amarnath yatra so far as security is concerned. Although, the short term temporary measure of truce yielded some positive results of peace keeping on the ground and improved the situation to a large extent, but,the larger question was the concretization of peace, which a common Kashmiri envisions day-in-day-out.
The ceasefire in Kashmir was a major experiment of the government on the ground level to acid test the real situation on ground. There should have been a prior consensus of all the parties prior to the announcement of its withdrawal from Kashmir. The government of India has already experimented the truce process in the state previously in 2003 with Pakistan part to it. Will the government carry on the truce or cessation of anti-militancy operations in future is a situational question of vital importance. Kashmir is driving towards abnormality and to prescribe the antidote for the ailment lies with the the government of India. According to a recent security report, the truce in Ramadhan proved to be a great success in J&K.
On the eve of Eid Ul Fitr, Hurriyat leader and executive Mukhtar Ahmad Waza in the grand mosque of Seer Hamdan, Anantnag was vocal that the government of India must initiate an unconditional dialogue with Pakistan, in order to resolve the crisis and walk the talk for the sake of meaningful solution of the Kashmir problem and not merely for the sake of photo-ops and show-offs to the external world, devaiting from the main and core reality. He brought to light the former eighteen resolutions passed in the United Nations General assembly (UNGA) regarding the problem of Jammu and Kashmir and also expressed the plight of the prisoners in various jails of India, like Kathua, Hiranagar, Tihar jail (New Delhi), Rajasthan, etc. and pleaded for their unconditional release so that peace process can take off from the smooth and foundational ground and crisis will annihilate as soon as possible.
He also brought to light the killing and martyrdom of versatile veteran journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the daily local newspaper Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari at press colony, Srinagar who was killed along with his two security guards by unknown gunmen on June 14 in the very heart of the Srinagar city.
The PDP-BJP (People’s Democratic Party-Bhartiya Janta Party) coalition government in J&K was formed few years back based on an agenda of alliance and common minimum programme, brushing aside the political differences. Later, joining the baton, it was a Hobson’s choice for the coalition partners to come together.The demise of the unholy alliance surfaced on June 19 by the revelations of Ram Madhav,BJP’s J&K in charge, subsequently leading to demise of the coalition government and fallout in the form of Governor’s rule. BJP has time and again called for the abrogation of article 370 which gives special status to J&K state, whereas, PDP has always been its defender down the passing phases of time.
Bhartiya Janta Party, national president Amit Shah accused PDP of misgovernance and developmental inequity in J&K, which latter outrightly refuted. Meanwhile, ex-Chief Minister has recently warned New Delhi of serious repurcussions, if it tries to create divisions and cracks in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), since, according to media reports, few rebel MLA’s were in connivance with BJP to form the government again. The pull-out off the coalition government of PDP-BJP by the alliance partner BJP is seen as a political stunt by the analysts of the politics to woo the voters in the Lok Sabha elections, 2019 in mainland of India as a polarising measure. Governor, N.N. Vohra called an all-party meeting later in June he same day when four militants, one civilian and one cop were killed in an encounter at Nowshehra, Khiram, Anantnag, J&K.
Moreover, the burning issue of Kashmir has time and again soured relations of India and Pakistan and given new lows to their bilateral relationship over the period of time.Even,ceasefire violation at the border claimed life of a security person on the eve of Eid ul fitr.
Not only this, for the first time, no pleasantries and sweets were exchanged by the armies of the two neighbours at the borders(LOC). In a recent interview to a local daily newspaper, the former Chief Minister and ex-minister in the Indian Union cabinet for New and Renewable energy Farooq Abdullah said that Kashmir will one day spell disaster and said that ceasefire will not work unless Pakistan is part of it.
Militancy is a major challenge for the government of India in the state of J&K, with rebels joining the same cadres on the day-to-day basis with very well-off family backgrounds and higher qualifications.
However, according to security agencies, there were no intelligence inputs about any new recruitment into militancy during the truce operation. Militancy has undergone a radical shift in J&K since the killing of Hizb Commander Burhan Wani in 2016.His departure was a major factor for the alienation of the people, with growing tendency among few youth to join the forces of rebellion. Down these two years, a huge number of youth joined the militancy and the process is on till date. Even, Ex-Chief Minister Omar Abdullah recently said that Burhan’s ability to recruit into militancy from the grave will far outstrip anything he could have done on social media.
The recent arrest of two girl students from Anantnag district of J&K who are lodged in central jail Srinagar, J&K has created ire among the separatist chambers regarding the disregard for the opposite gender. Recently, after the termination and rejection of their bail, the father of these girls was making an affidavit in court complex Anantnag, when I inquired from him about their whereabouts. His face was sunken with paleness and disparity all over. The next day these girls were transferred from sadder court, Anantnag to Srinagar central Jail. One of the girls is pursuing Masters in Economics and another is also well qualified in religious studies.
Even, on the auspicious occasion of Eid ul fitr, the father-mother duo without any son spent their time amid sobs and wails, with the daughters confined behind the barracks of jail. Being the only daughters and spine of their father, the Government of j&K should review the gravity of the matter and release them subsequently who are still lodged in Srinagar central jail as soon as possible to prevent alienation, ruining and shattering of a next family and act in sync with the dictum of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan Beti Bachao (Save the girl).
The recent remarks of the United Nations General Assembly regarding the Kashmir problem and situation as of now reflects the interest of the world nations to solve the problem in Kashmir which has subsequently created ripples in the intellectual circles in India regarding the discourse over Kashmir imbroglio.
The former water resources minister and congress leader, Saifuddin Soz has recently hit the political plank and remarked that Parvez Musharaf’s formula is still relevant regarding Azadi,but that feat is not possible. Another congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in a recent interview to a national channel has said that more civilians are killed in anti-militancy operations by the security agencies than militants.
Meanwhile, few media houses at the national level have tagged few intellectual Indians,like Booker prize winner Arundhati Roy,etc. who support the Kashmir cause as urban naxals and linked them with separatists,calling them as tukde tukde(Parts-parts) lobby to disintegrate India into parts in order to earn the TRP’s and appease the political bosses of the mainland India.
Being part to the problem, India and Pakistan must shun their rigidity, egoistic clashes and face-offs for the greater good of the people of the respective countries, particularly for the suffering people of J&K.The Kashmir issue has already consumed thousands of precious lives of the common men over the years of political turmoil. LOC trade has suffered to a remarkable and vast extent. The growing state of animosity between India and Pakistan is not good gesture at all. India and Pakistan need to annihilate the looming crisis through the medium of a viable-cum-meaningful dialogue and reconciliatory approach with each other, keeping in view the state of chaos and disorder in J&K.
There will be no desendency of something divine to mediate thereupon so far as Kashmir issue is concerned, rather, it is the parties to the problem that have to negotiate for the redressel of the issue looming large over the Asian sub-continent.
Meanwhile, China has said recently that Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) could serve as a great vehicle to build better bilateral relations and ties between India and Pakistan.On June 4, Asif Ghafoor, Director General of ISPR, Pakistan accused India of 1,077 ceasefire violations since the start of 2018 till date and said that there is no space for war with India.This is a vital indicator that only peace is the guarantee of a peaceful relationship between India and Pakistan,which will be subsequent platform for the discussion on Kashmir.
Today, the state is caught in the quagmire of a political crisis,where killings have become the order of the day. The major challenge for the governor’s office is to bring back the state towards the state of normalcy and pedestal of peace. Today, when,nobody is ready to take the baton of heading the political scene,the vital task is to dissolve the assembly for the fresh elections,till normalcy returns in the state of J&K, rather than keeping it in a state of suspended animation. The forego of BJP in the coalition government seems to be a devious plan of political motivations to create a ripple effect between one and the other to woo the nationalists. Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are three limbs of the same body,tied up all together,which cannot be separated by the political divisions of polarising policies of a single party which augurs ill to the interests of the state itself.
The valley of Kashmir is today submerged in a sort of political waywardness. The question is not about the troika of roads,electricity and water or a law and order problem, rather, it is a political problem and requires a political solution. This is the time to move beyond the rhetoric of dialogue and show action for a permanent solution from the political bosses, lest anarchy would spin thready network of uncertainty in the future.
It is the common Kashmiri man who is being killed in the enmeshed imbroglio process and victimized due to the lingering issue at stake, be it militant, army man (Lt. Colonel Fayaz, Aurangzeb, etc), or a common man. The lingering imbroglio has consumed thousands of lives since the eruption of insurgency in nineties in the state of J&K.
Still, peace eludes the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Thus, along the pedestal of wheel from ceasefire to the current state of political crisis, all is not well in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. If the same situation persists, Kashmir will move towards a state of complete anarchy.
The security agencies must be given directives by the higher-ups to have an ultimate human regard for the common masses and particularly their precious lives during the state of protests. This will repose faith in the dictum of law among the masses, who have already suffered at the cost of the issue at stake.
Today, the situational turn of events have washed away the stay of peace among the masses. No one is aloof of the unwithering pain. It is rather a collective pain for which political prescriptions have failed to contain it. The political engineering of politicians seems to be a farce exercise. The ultimate question is for how long the problem of multitude will persist without any solution. People are in no hurry for the quick fix solutions, but rather yearn for a permanent solution, once and for all.
*Abid Ahmad Shah works in the Govt. Education Dept. J&K, views are personal.