Denial is no solution

This refers to an article by Ashwni Kumar Chrungoo Kashmirmust prosper (GK May 31 2019. It starts by talking about how people from acrossthe world are attracted towards Kashmir by its civilisation, culture, history,landscapes, nature, arts and crafts. The article is the summary of apresentation given to a team of Nordic states representatives in the Swedishembassy.

The author alleges that Ladakh and Jammu have beendiscriminated against by various regimes and hopes that the newly elected BJPgovernment will usher in an era of development and peace in the state. Heblames Pakistan for the migration of Kashmiri Pandits while accusing it ofsupporting violence in Kashmir. The question of KP migration has no simpleanswer. This oversimplification will not result in any solutions. Separatists,as well as the unionist politicians in Kashmir, have repeatedly called for thereturn of Kashmiri Pandits who are an integral part of our society. Recently,Roshan Lal Mawa, a Pandit trader returned to Kashmir and resumed his businessin Srinagar. He was welcomed with ‘dastaar bandi’-a ceremony to accord respect-by the local traders. Talking about the past is very important; but withoutproviding a wholesome context, it becomes toxic.

   

The author seems to be very far from the ground reality.Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed one of the lowest voter turnouts in history andyet he boasts of BJP’s 46% vote share in these elections. The people haverejected the electoral system of India. The Indian idea of democracy has beenrejected owing to massive militarization and refusal of the government tolisten to dissenting views. BJP’s promise presented as a beacon of hope for thepeople of the state is laughable to say the least. What has stopped BJP to endthe alleged discrimination towards the people of Ladakh and Jammu in the past 5years of their rule. 2018 was the deadliest year of the decade with 160civilians and 159 armed forces personnel losing their lives to the conflict.The local militant recruitment is at an all-time high, but BJP is stillprojected as a party which can bring peace and development to the state.

I fail to understand why author is asking for a SpecialCrimes Tribunal only to investigate the violence against Kashmiri Pandits.According to the government data, over 43,000 civilians have died in thisconflict, and about 10,000 have disappeared. Why shouldn’t all these killingsand disappearances be investigated?  Afirst-ever report published in 2018 by the Office of the United Nations HighCommissioner for Human Rights details hundreds of killings and instances oftorture committed by the armed forces since 2016. Pellet guns have blindedhundreds of youth.

Colouring the political aspirations of the people asradicalisation and pitting the issue of Kashmiri Pandits against the largerquestion of right to self-determination is absurd and needs to be denounced.The suffering of the Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims is because of theunresolved dispute of Kashmir. These two are not counter narratives. Reducingthe Kashmir dispute to an issue of terrorism and radicalisation is escapism andwillful ignorance of the worst sort. The only ideology that is unrealistic andabsurd is the one which pits pellets against slogans and bullets againstdissent. Delegitimizing the views of the people will only lead to moreresentment and violence.

Kashmir can only prosper when its people are listened to andtheir agency is respected. Only then can peace and prosperity dawn upon thepeople of Jammu and Kashmir.

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