Art 370 abrogation alienated people of J&K: Bhan

Congress leader, Ashok Bhan on Friday said government of India has alienated people of J&K by scrapping the erstwhile state’s distinct status and bifurcating it into two Union Territories.

Speaking during a webinar meeting of lawyers associated with Congress, Bhan, who is Chief Coordinator AICC legal affairs, said Kashmir deserves to be managed with a “grand vision that encompasses a comprehensive process to resolve the imbroglio instead of dithering it.”

He said the BJP-led government has deprived people of basic rights of equality, life and liberty.

Bhan said the militancy in Kashmir “seems to have developed an autonomous raison d’etre in the absence of a visionary and comprehensive policy.”

“This is a worrying phenomenon for the nation and is viewed as a result of deep mass alienation caused by adhocism and mismanagement of Kashmir affairs from time to time. The unrest in Kashmir has always been attributed to cross-border hostilities. But the unabated turmoil and political turbulence in Kashmir is rooted deep in the denial of justice, disrespect to legitimate aspirations and frequent skullduggery resorted to by New Delhi,” said Bhan.

He said the “changing character” of the militancy was a serious signal that an urgent policy correction at all levels of governance, and a strategic shift, was urgently needed to prevent escalation.

He said Kashmir analysts were surprised that New Delhi’s policy and its political managers were “so incompetent, apolitical and naive, as not to be willing to leave any space or room for the Kashmiri leadership to exert a moderating influence that could prevent youngsters from taking up the gun.”

Bhan said government should acknowledge that use of military force was not a solution to the complex situation of Kashmir.

“It has to be a blend of engagement and dialogue with all the stakeholders. Therefore, the government should worry more about winning back the trust of people,” he said.

He said the government should work towards “winning the trust, hearts and minds of people of Jammu and Kashmir especially the Valley and put in place good democratic governance.”

“The prolonged Governor’s rule is not the legitimate substitute to democracy. End it, sooner the better,” Bhan said.