In every part of the world democracies and political leadership empowered new voices, provided people with greater freedom of expression, ensured opportunities for civil society, education for all, and a space for political participation.
This is still true, especially in places where the democracy is still an unfinished agenda in the struggle for achieving new dispositions. We have seen, in recent years, that some fringes are using certain tactics to undermine and manipulate the idea of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir.
Polarisation and manipulation through politics is being dispersed to undermine the idea of Jammu and Kashmir. The dangerous divide of Jammu versus Kashmir will only serve the propaganda of those who don’t want J&K a peaceful and developed state.
Hate speeches, fake analytics and concocted history has become instruments of choice for political forces to divide people of Jammu and Kashmir on religious lines.
Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and others are living in Jammu and Kashmir from centuries and the narrative of Hindu versus Muslim suddenly gained impetus and can prove dangerous for a state that is going towards normalcy.
We must never forget that J&K is a bordering state that touches border with three countries who never have been friends. Jammu and Kashmir must be made a ground for harmony where love over hate can prevail.
It needs to function as a single unit not battle ground for polarization otherwise it will only hurt the larger fabric of communal harmony.
The absence of liberal and greater Jammu and Kashmir politics will hurt both Kashmir and Jammu. It will only harm coexistence and empower fringe in the state. Jammu has been always a safe ground for every person. In worst times, it was Jammu who welcomed Kashmiri pandits with open arms, and it is Jammu who welcomed Kashmiris in worst times.
In a democracy everyone has equal rights and not only the loudest voices who wants to gain attraction. Those voices ultimately lead to emotion for overpowering reason and diminishes the footprint of common person on ground. People of Jammu and Kashmir need to understand the difference between facts and falsehood. Loud politicians, their fake promises, allow fringes to recognize and to profile common people who buy their hate.
The political dishonesty and lack of will towards Jammu and Kashmir prosperity will only lead to bifurcation, Hindu Versus Muslim, disinformation, reduce individual liberty, and enforce control of capitalists.
An honest political reach out for safeguarding democratic fabric and communal brotherhood can only interconnect Jammu and Kashmir that should be based on trust and respect of every individual.
It should be the goal and the paradigm that we the citizens first and the political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir should explore. A dishonest, hateful and disoriented politicians, based on manipulating human vulnerabilities and on polarisation and mistrust is the biggest threat our leaders should address.
Delimitation concerns are legitimate but it should not create division. That’s why it is high time for parties to do some homework on inclusive agenda that don’t hurt the sentiments and won’t allow regional polarisation in already disturbed political state.
The democratic debates should bridge the gap. There are obvious differences on delimitation procedures but it’s important to understand how our leaders should articulate it.
A negative debate can widen the already prevalent geographical gulf into political division also. Leadership, parties and government must work together to secure the idea of together JK than creating division on religious and regional lines.
Umer Wani is US Legislative Fellow 2016 & UK Bridge Institutes Kalinga Fellow 2020.
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.