Home Minister Rajnath Singh"s four day visit to J & K State has reinforced PM's 15 August message to reach out to embrace Kashmiris with love. The visit has set at rest the fears about the tinkering with Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Constitution of India as applicable to Jammu and Kashmir State. Home Minister Rajnath Singh met scores of delegations both in Kashmir and Jammu and also intensely assessed the security scenario with the top brass of Govt.,the Army and other security and police leadership and a visit to turbulent Anantnag. "How the people have reacted" – CM said she welcomes the presser of HM and demanded the implementation of Agenda of Alliance, as if her partner BJP is an obstruction. Governor N N Vohra largely reacts by his silence that is how he is there, as interlocutor for four years without any report in public domain and Governor for nine years after being a director of prestigious IIC of which he recently became President to replace country's top legal eagle Soli Sorabjee. Political class cynical response–Delhi not sincere it will go on like this. Separatists despondent as usual with trumpet of trust-deficit and condemnation of the harshness of NIA. Civil society – despair and helplessness. Militants -Shoot & scoot. and at times surrender. Media in Catch -22 situation and people in a typical TO BE OR NOT TO BE fix.
Jammu & Kashmir State, consisted of its distinct entities in five separate regions with nothing common with each other. The hill areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Skardu and the Punjabi-speaking areas of Muzzafar Abad etc are with Pakistan. In Indian part of the State, there are three divisions- namely – Hindu dominated Jammu, Suni Muslim dominated Kashmir with Shia community, the Pandits, Sikhs and Gujjar communities, and Buddhist and Shia populated Ladakh.
Great leadership in the past with great efforts integrated these diverse divisions as the mosaic of different ethnic, religious and tribal groups and united these together in a culture of mutual tolerance and creative interaction as a plural and democratic JKState. Unfortunately it has got engulfed in the worst phase of militancy, intolerance and distortion by the self-serving myths of competing political interests.
Currently unlike past, when Kashmir used to enjoy the glory of peace and rich civilizational plural ethos popularly known Kashmiriyat, the situation in Kashmir is;- the radicalisation is taking over the socio-political discourse and gaining greater appeal and the pro Pakistan narrative which was noticeably very weak, has also become strong. The recruitment of local boys in the ranks of militancy is on the rise. The new age youth and students are up in protest against the very Idea of India and democratic process in the Valley. The young innocent lives and armed forces personnel are lost on a daily basis. The political space of main stream polity has shrunk. Democracy is in peril and the attempt to delegitimise the idea of India in Kashmir is galore.
Faced with the continuing death and destruction unleashed by mercenaries, the non-State actors since 1989, the colossal sufferings of the large components of Kashmir society, the Muslims and the Kashmiri Pandits in exile and almost a generation in the grave yards. Yet the Kashmiri population at the societal levels has the sense and understanding that radicalized separatism can not be and is not the option and "resolution of all the issues lies through a negotiated peaceful dialogue process"
PDP-BJP State government will be losing its plot in Kashmir. Top military brass, the security forces, the political class, the civil society and peace loving citizenry of the country and JK State have voiced such opinions for quite some time. I have been consistently writing the columns and I myself in my humble way as an incorrigible Kashmiri am voicing the peace agenda with PM, HM and his team, the Congress and other political parties and the international as well with domestic relevant forums.
The revival of militant activity in the state and elsewhere is a serious issue and a reminder that the militant outfits are spread, present and active to strike any time and anywhere. The youth in anger joining the militant ranks is hugely disturbing phenomenon, public support to militancy had considerably reduced but it has surfaced with renewed vigour. The phenomenon of terror, panic and disinformation is back in the valley. Security scenario, inwardly is not very assuring. Darker clouds of uncertainty are on the horizon. The militancy is on rise. Huge participation in the funerals of the slain militants is worrying. It reflects the people's subtle if not the express support to the revival of militancy. There is no centrally organised command of local terror groups they operate like criminal gangs and Pakistan is able to coordinate these gangs. They seem to gloat about their achievements on social media rather than displaying any radical commitment
The current turmoil and Loss of innocent lives on daily basis imperil democracy and human rights. Kashmiris are yearning for peace and peaceful and secured life and liberty for the current and future generations.
Country's strategic and constitutional interest lies in the welfare of people of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh and not in land alone". Country has to initiate the peace process through meaningful dialogue. Rajnath Singh the HM has reinforced PM Modi's message of embracing Kashmiris by his visit and meetings with people. HM has invited all that includes those who have not been part of mainstream polity for their own political reasons.
It is for the Kashmiri Leadership that claims to represent the turbulent sentiment of the Valley to come up with a road-map for talks in the best interests of the people. The mainstream political leadership has to take a call that State does not slip back into the olden abyss. Therefore the leadership and the administration in Delhi and Srinagar has to be on the same page to work together with focus on the affairs of the State rather than their own predispositions.
(The author is Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, a political analyst & Chairman, Kashmir Policy & Strategy Group)