Political initiative a must

The deep turmoil that has engulfed Kashmir since the death of Burhan Wani must serve as another strong reminder that a political engagement between New Delhi, Srinagar and Islamabad – taking into account the political realities in Kashmir – is inevitable for peace and stability in this region. Those whi are still unable to make sense of the happenings in Kashmir today must see this people's upsurge as yet another manifestation of the deep-rooted anger for the perpetual evasion of political dialogue for finding a durable and mutually-acceptable political solution to Kashmir and also New Delhi's attempts of tinkering the special constitutional safeguards underpinning the special relationship between Srinagar and New Delhi. Things could get worse in future, and hence the need of a new and honest approach. To begin with, New Delhi must initiate a result-oriented political dialogue with Srinagar, including the Hurriyats, without losing any further time. What needs an honest and bold acknowledgement is that the law-and-order and conflict management approaches used in containing the political alienation in Kashmir haven't worked. That is partly manifested in the universalization of popular street protests – hitherto limited to Srinagar and a few other towns – across the vast rural and semi-urban swathes of Kashmir valley and other parts of the state. For too long the security establishment had relied on the policy of political and security containment of Srinagar and other towns like Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag (Islamabad), etc. in the hope of stifling popular political dissent. The sense of siege among the people in Kashmir must end. What also needs an honest acknowledgement is that any tacit or active encouragement of violent means of promoting any political objectives would serve no one's interests. In principle, all sides must desist from glorification of any kind of violence and, instead, promote honest and realistic political dialogue. Things could get worse in Kashmir for a new demographic reality, mainly the reality of an educated youth bulge bubbling with political alienation and other resentments. New Delhi's half-hearted and time-buying initiatives of engagement with Srinagar in the past have largely been rendered futile. Kashmiris are today angry as if like never before. Both New Delhi and Islamabad need to listen to their voices, facilitate a durable political solution and evade a larger upsurge with potential cross-border ramifications.     

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