Time to move ahead in a positive manner
IMPRESSIONS BY BINOO JOSHI
We are a complacent people. We tend to work only when we are forced to. We have moulded our mindset in such a way that when things go smooth, we lull ourselves into self-belief as if the world would stay that way for ever.
We, the people in Jammu and Kashmir love to live our life, the way we want. In fact, these are “good times”, the violence in the state is all time low. Economy is showing signs of recovery, with tourist arrivals touching all time high. In short, this is a very good summer for Kashmir. So then, why waste time wondering what would happen next, or make an effort to secure something more positive for the future.
So it’s the time to talk, and talk big. There are few who have the idea of history, they are sharing their experiences with their friends and foes to tell those parts of the gone by era, when many of us were not even born; others are relishing their achievements in the past, when they were in the government at the Centre or the state, and then there are sparks of brilliance by some to connect with different ages, saying that the age-old promise has not been forgotten and at the same time telling their middle-aged counterparts and the younger generation that they were as good as others who speak for the resolution of Kashmir crisis.
If Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tried to strike a new chord with the people on July 7, when he said : “K-issue is not the issue of money or gun but a political one and parliament, assembly or panchayats polls are not answer to the resolution of political issues of Jammu and Kashmir, he was repeating the statements that he had made in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in October 2009. It was a sort of reminder of his stand, which he had articulated in October last year on the floor of the state legislative Assembly in Srinagar that “ J&K had not merged with India”.
“Its genesis is linked with New Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan…the resolution of political issues of J-K is a human duty to be rendered to seek permanent peace and prosperity in the sub-continent,” he had said at Sumbal in Bandipore in the Kashmir Valley. It was interesting because the times were different this than when he had made an earth shattering speech in the Assembly, raising questions on the relationship of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of country. His thesis, this time of neither money nor gun, was a perfectly chosen phrase, positioning himself, equidistant from New Delhi and Islamabad. The money part was from New Delhi, because the Central Government has been pumping money for all sorts of investment in Kashmir, development, generating employment, training youth and setting up opportunities for the people of the Valley, and at the same time New Delhi has been sending high spending tourists to Kashmir. Even the increased presence of the security forces than the pre-militancy days, has greatly contributed to the day to day economy, with soldiers and troopers spending part of their salaries on shopping for their families and most of the army supply contracts from fresh vegetables to mutton are with the locals. The local contractors benefit from the construction activity of the army under its “ Sadhbhavana “ programmes.
The guns, on the other hand, have a definite source. There is no denying the fact that gun culture in Kashmir was introduced by Pakistan. This is a globally known fact and there is no need for one to be a rocket scientist to conclude, who armed the militants in Kashmir. This story is going on, and the infiltration from across the border offers the best evidence. That apart, there is story of another gun. Chief Minister must have been hinting at that too. The guns which were inducted to raise the counter-insurgency forces in the Valley. In any conflict situations, such forces surface and Kashmir is no exception.
Essentially, the Chief Minister was referring to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. To my mind, the term Jammu and Kashmir is more vague than ever before. We are in habit of reading Kashmir for the whole of the state, and at times Jammu and Kashmir’s definition is reduced to the Valley. It is with this contradictions that the people in the state, be they in Jammu, Ladakh or Kashmir Valley have been living all along. But political leaders are clever, they use J&K, sometimes for the whole state on this side of the LoC, on other occasions,, on other occasions, they include areas under the control of Pakistan and few separatists are now talking of involving China because Pakistan has gifted a huge chunk of land to Beijing.
Omar’s predecessor and political veteran Mufti Muhammad Sayeed spoke almost similar thing but with a sharp focus on the inclusion of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the roadmap making process. His exact words : “ the involvement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir was must while formulating any roadmap for the resolution of Kashmir issue.”
“We welcome the positive beginning made by Indo-Pak foreign secretaries and the leadership of both the countries will have to show political will to resolve the issue”, he said while addressing a public meeting at Mendhar
He, however, cautioned that” sustainable peace in this region was not possible without involvement of people of Jammu and Kashmir in the process of solving the vexed Kashmir problem..”
True, but a question may be asked, how many times the peoples of all the three regions have been consulted on a single platform to evolve a consensus before talking of their involvement in the resolution process.
PCC chief Saif-ud-Din Soz, to be fair to him, has been talking of speaking in one voice on the issue before Delhi. I think separatists should recognise these realities. There were times, when they were urged to join the dialogue process by Delhi, or to put it more candidly, Delhi made desperate efforts to get them on board. There were overt and covert attempts. Those days there was one Hurriyat Conference,. Now t is unrecognizable. There are two known groups, some men walking independent line, others having groups within these two groups, better known as moderates and hardliners.
New Delhi believes that it has done enough. No more of pampering. From the request or appeal for dialogue, it asked them to join the talks. The urgings got transformed into demand and, if we view it honestly and frankly, the separatists are being told to come and sit across the table. The tone of appeal has disappeared almost completely. And whenever the separatists ask, dialogue with whom, the direction arrow is pointed toward three interlocutors, regular visitors to the Kashmir Valley since October last year.
It is time for all to shed the complacency that things would work somehow, and read writing on the wall: it is time to move ahead in a positive manner.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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