Kashmir. What next?
That remains to be the question of curiosity
ANALYSIS BY NAYEEMA AHMAD MAHJOOR
Apparently, Kashmir seems to have moved forward from the summer of discontent in 2010. It has come far away from the period the valley was placed under siege during the two decades of armed movement. And, it has perhaps left behind the dark scars of the era that are still oozing the blood and memories of the violent past. What Kashmir seems not to have forgotten are the promises made by the governments in the state and the centre to look deep into the political issues of the valley so that a viable and everlasting solution could be found. There is a disarray, disappointment and disillusionment among the people and the leadership because yet again the governments have not learned any lesson from the past and show no seriousness to take advantage of the normalcy that could pave the way for open and useful dialogue with the stakeholders inside and outside the state. On the contrary, the governments are repeating the practice of leaving the issue on the back burner without giving a thought to the apprehension that the silence has turned into a storm in the past.
There is no doubt that Kashmir has become normal now. Schools are open, business is booming, seminars are held, political rallies are becoming incident free gatherings, NGO culture is growing and cross border people to people contact has united the divided families. Yet, if law and order organisations are asked to give guarantee of maintainable peace and stability in the region, that is far from the reality because the plenty of experiences of the past tell otherwise when so much had happened under the garb of peace, normalcy and silence in the valley. There is still tension beneath the surface and something yet again is simmering within the public and political circles which are keenly watching the government policies to promises. They are wondering if the government is serious about resolving the outstanding issues. Many initiatives which were launched have not yielded any tangible results so far.
Strangely, if the leaders become silent for the time being their followers express unease and demand them to come forward with the programme for future course of action.
It has been a common practice that after every bloodshed the governments in the state and centre come with big promises of resolving the issue, framing committees to interlocutors to confidence building measures with Pakistan. Once, the people become calm and wait for the action taken, the governments become indifferent. Government of India did huge investment on interlocutors, seminars and other NGO's for their efforts to calm down Kashmiri population during 2010 when more than one hundred ten young boys were killed during protests in the valley. But the interlocutors report is still pending, there is no relief in laws such as AFSPA, the statements of state government to remove it has rather embarrassed it when the central government did not heed or the boys languishing in the jails were not all released as promised by the authorities. The ruling party leaders in the state do cry out more often in the political rallies for finding the possible solution of the Kashmir problem, their coalition ruling party at the centre hardly listens to them. People read this a clear indication that the Kashmir problem is not in the priority list of the central government at the moment, which is reeling after its debacle in the UP election recently and the corruption scandals.
National conference has lot to learn from Tamil political parties which, only with few members, were capable to raise the issue of Tamil violations in the Sri Lanka and forced the government to vote in the United Nations. Or take lesson from Mamta Banerji of TMC who was about to bring the government down when one of her members and the railway minister submitted the rail budget with price rise in rail tickets that went against the election manifesto of TMC.
When Omar Abdullah took over from his father in the state politics, there rose a glimmer of hope that being young, educated and dynamic and more or less known to NC politics and its past blunders, he will not only take lead in understanding the problems of the youth, their aspirations and future stability but would also make Indian government to understand that Kashmir cannot be treated like mistress anymore and it needs to be resolved according to the wishes of the population which has invested its three generations into the political turmoil of the six decades. Although he has to his credit, fought for the removal of AFSPA and amendment of the PSA, but, he has yet to deliver and people especially youth are waiting eagerly for the change promised to them. There might not come another chance in the history.
Resolving Kashmir once for all is not for the betterment of the state only it is beneficial to millions of those living across the Sub-continent. Kashmir has a potential to become harbinger of peace and prosperity to the whole region. But, if governments here and there think that all is calm now and there is no issue anymore, those are living in fool's paradise because a little spark has become a big flame in the past. The people might have become silent spectators at the moment when you talk to them it becomes evident that they have not forgotten the political future which they want to achieve peacefully, amicably and with dignity.
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Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Mar 2012 00:00:00 IST
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