To shut your eyes or to lie to yourself on seeing a full-blown malignant tumor by passing it as an inflammation, will not heal it. All the medicines, investigations, reports, procedures, surgeries are bound to be a wastage of time and resources. If you want to cure it, you have to get the diagnosis right. Everything else will fall into place thereafter.
Let's be very clear. The Kashmir valley along with Pirpanjal regions, Chenab valley of Jammu division and Kargil district of Ladakh division which forms around 70% of Indian side of J&K have never believed in the story of accession of J&K with India. And If we add Pakistani Kashmir, 80% population of the erstwhile J&K believe it to be false. This population figure does not include those 500,000 Jammu-Muslims who were killed and about a million who were hounded out to Pakistan due to the Jammu massacre. Please note this 1.5 million formed a good pie of the J&K's population in 1947. Had they stayed, the figure would have easily touched 90%. I'm not communalizing the demography; it was the partition-formula accepted by both sides. If it's unpalatable, undo the partition, and if you can't, then do it properly; don't make our J&K a testing laboratory and its residents guinea pigs.
Fast forward to the recent times. The people own the movement, whether Pakistan supports it or not. The violent mode of resistance is surely not anybody's preference here. When peaceful protests are disallowed, people resort to stone-pelting. And when that doesn't yield results – which it obviously won't – some boys resort to guns. The state treats these gunmen as terrorists and eliminates them. This rekindles the concept of martyrdom in those young people who are already suffocated by the humiliations and enormous cruelty. As a result, militancy increases and so does the violence and deaths. It's amply conspicuous where the fault lies. The government of India still sees Punjab-model as a possibility. It's comparing apples to oranges. Kashmiris are not just 'angry', they are not just 'alienated'; they demand their promised right. If you do not want to give them that, at least don't lie that they don't want it in the first place.
For the welfare of Indian state – irrespective of whether it decides to concede anything to Kashmiris or not – it needs to get certain things right. The problem of Kashmir is not because of Pakistan, it is indigenous. Pakistan would even want to provoke Indian Muslims but have they succeeded in that? So, it's true they are involved (more involvement in early 90s and almost nil of late). Indians need to know that Pakistan is not the reason why our boys protest, pelt stones or take to guns. We are not fools that somebody sitting across the border can ask us to die and we would comply. Yes, when some boys decide to do it, they look out for support which at times they get in some form or the other. The sentiment is local, the demand for self-determination is aboriginal and the passion to achieve it is purely Kashmir's own. If somebody from outside finds it aligned with their foreign policy, that doesn't make it sponsored.
It's understandable when New Delhi does not want to fulfil its promise, it won't give legitimacy to the local militants. I have a reservation on the linguistic and logical basis. You can call Kashmiri militants as militants, rebels, violent guerrillas but not terrorists. One has to drive to be called as a driver. Similarly, one needs to terrorize to be labeled as a terrorist. Not as any political analyst, I want to argue on the basis of terminology. Kashmiri Terrorists? Who do they terrorize? People? People take bullets on chests to save these 'terrorists'. I ask again: Who do they terrorize to qualify as terrorists? India's half-a-million troops? Is that even digestible? Politics apart, these militants can be anything but terrorists- logically.
Nobody wants to see their son become a militant. We too want an end to militancy. You have to think as to how this passion manifests itself in other ways. Are you ready to let young people express themselves, non-violently? Is there a scope of a peaceful sit-in in your democracy? If you think, by curbing it all you kill it all, you are wrong; it will explode. It's simple physics. If our young would ask us why they wouldn't become rebels when nothing else works, we can argue of such a path being strategically wrong as it won't fetch us anything, but at the same time, they can't be told that they need to watch the show silently. That's not how young men are convinced. They cite UN charter where occupation can be fought violently. They cite Islam permitting them to fight oppression. Some more conscientious find it easy to opt for martyrdom than stand and do nothing. The point is if you adopt an approach where you want to believe that curbing every expression of dissent will achieve your objective, you're misleading yourself. This energy called-quest for self- will not dissipate. The ball is in your court and you have to decide whether you want it to manifest itself politically or violently. To begin with, admit the truth which is looking straight into your eyes. I repeat you are powerful and you may or may not decide to give Kashmiris their rights. Let that be secondary for now. As of now, just be honest to yourself and to your people that Kashmiris are fighting for the birth right.