The truth demands public attention; arguably even more now than ever before. As protestors mourn the death of an accused militant in the Kulgam district of Kashmir, we must honestly reflect on the cyclic nature of these demonstrations. How will it end? What are the effects of these largely public demonstrations on ordinary Kashmiri life? Kashmir has infrastructure. It has a great public higher education system, and touts multiple Universities with several Medical and Engineering colleges.
Despite a high level of intellectual capital in the valley, it has lured little to no private investment, with the exception of some nonprofit projects which are largely engaged in artificial demonstrations of peace. No local real estate developers have tried to develop affordable housing. No local and technology companies have looked into expansion with flourishing public-private partnership with colleges and startups. Because of this lack of opportunity, coupled with the constant threat of unrest and killings, Kashmir has lost and is continuing to drain its talent pool to outside the valley. Those who remain then, are most likely poor and are more strongly susceptible to the financed gun culture introduced by India's neighbor to advance their own interests in Kashmir.
The political class has failed in bringing new opportunities and enterprises in Kashmir. There is no focus on development. Instead they invest resources and time into continually provoking civil unrest for political expedience. The lack of effective leadership makes people suffer. Though I would not have said it before, the current realities of the valley are such that many residents of Kashmir may actually much prefer an army overthrow of the current and largely ineffective political class.
(Prof. Sanjay Kaul is a professor and chair Technology department, Fitchburg State University, Massachussets, USA)