A clear political void is in Jammu and Kashmir and it is a fact that selected bureaucratic set-up cannot replace elected leadership in a democratic country. Jammu Kashmir has been to various difficult and different phases. Status-quo in Kashmir has not helped to end violence and bring peace or solutions to Kashmir.
Young people are gripped with fear and insecurity. They continue to die before and after abrogation of article 370. The successive regimes in New Delhi tried repeatedly to end the violence and bring out peace, but countless engagements with Kashmiri leaders or Pakistani leadership have failed repeatedly.
It is important to understand that there is an internal and external dimension to Kashmir peace and violence too. But what is more important for us to understand is that peace flows through Delhi. Although, violence flows from neighbors, but our talks, engagements and conversations for peace, solutions or empowerment has to be with New Delhi.
The most important part of today’s government is that it has a face. India has a strong Prime Minister, Home Minister and an experienced National Security Advisor, who have credibility to address and deliver, but do our Kashmiri leaders have capabilities to articulate and organize what they want and how? Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has full mandate to take decisions. Whether we hate or like him, he is the man who commands control over institutions as well as people in India.
Definitely, he has a Hindu constituency to address back home and that is a valuable addition and can convince the hardcore people back home. What is important for Kashmiri leadership is not to wait or bargain but talk to Government of India.
Time has ripened enough to talk to Prime Minister, Home Minister and talk to institutional heads like NSA who knows Kashmir very well. Wait may change regimes in India, but not our fate. We don’t need a soft, liberal or so-called secular state to engage. We absolutely need this regime to sort our problems. They are the ones who have to deliver and are the only ones who can deliver on Kashmir. We need a conversation with Delhi not an argument after argument. We don’t need to invoke foreign policies; we need to talk about Kashmir first with Centre. We need to make our J&K a point for talks with Centre, a people centric conversation not involving India’s foreign policy.
I am sure if Kashmiri leadership understands the damage that past successive so-called liberal regimes have done, they will never wait and waste time. Our time for peace talks and reconciliation is now. Because people who matter most in such situations are in command and control. Why wait and waste time. Will congress ever be able to deliver better on Kashmir. Will a third front in Delhi ever help. No. Only Prime Minister, Narendra Modi with huge mandate can take initiative. Today, we may disagree largely with their decisions and we do but they broke status quo on Kashmir that helped none. This is the fight between two definitions of rights. They are debating and implementing their definition of right. And we need to discuss what we define as right to Delhi- through talks and through dialogue.
Unfortunately, the Kashmiri leadership’s policy has been to use August 5 prism for every public meeting and challenges the Centre. That is why we are in the mess. What is needed is dialogue and political reconciliation with the Government of India for peace, reconciliation, reintegration of communities, rehabilitation of youth, release of political prisoners, reclaiming of political space, local political empowerment, inter- intra state connectivity or course corrections on delimitation, from statehood to constitutional guarantee and for everything there has to be a stage for talks.. Let’s end wait and see what talk for talks.
Kashmiri leadership need to grab the opportunity and ask Government of India to take inclusive decisions and hold institutional dialogue with Kashmiri leadership to end the growing uncertainty here. Let us forget China, Taliban and India’s foreign policy with Pakistan. Let us seek a people centric dialogue where we seek peace, stability and solutions with Centre for better future of Jammu and Kashmir.
Umer Wani is Ph.D. Scholar at Islamic University of Science & Technology, Kashmir.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.