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Pursue a solid solution

Pursue a solid solution
Highlights

Raging protests in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander and poster boy of new wave of Kashmir militancy, Burhan Wani, are taking a deadly toll of the State and the administration. Protests on such a massive scale were last seen in 1990 post-elimination of a JKLF leader Ashfaq Majeed Wani.

Raging protests in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander and poster boy of new wave of Kashmir militancy, Burhan Wani, are taking a deadly toll of the State and the administration. Protests on such a massive scale were last seen in 1990 post-elimination of a JKLF leader Ashfaq Majeed Wani.

What is disturbingly discernible in the current turmoil is the utter helplessness of moderate elements and the State government to prevail upon people to restore a semblance of peace and order in the society.

Even more worrying is the emergence of a home-grown movement spawned by a leaderless mass of youth seething against India. Recourse to social media and brazen defiance of Indian State was never attempted before. It is romanticising militancy and fuelling alienation of masses, while the religious overtones can have ominous implications if the rot is not stemmed now.

Amarnath Yatra had to be suspended midway, leaving thousands of pilgrims stranded in the hills. Anti-India sentiment assuming anti-Hindu sentiment is a dangerous portend. Hawkish BJP leaders would only want to seize upon it to score brownie points in the ensuing Uttar Pradesh polls.

With Al Qaeda and Islamic State calling for attacks in India, the impressionable youth may be swayed to act. The solution, though, does not lie in mere garrisoning of Kashmir and quelling of violence. What is needed is statesmanship.

It’s true Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown energetic outreach to Pakistan, especially his besieged counterpart Nawaz Sharif, and initiated talks. But, the attempts are getting nullified because of Pathankot terror attack.

However, having done more than any of his predecessors, he should make fresh attempts at re-engaging Pakistan. Despite prospects of an inevitable failure due to intransigence of the Pak military, the talks will at least force Pakistan to rein in its handlers, lest it should get opprobrium in the comity of nations. Simultaneously, local separatists, too, should be wooed to jointly explore a solid political solution.

One perceives a policy paralysis of Delhi as far as Kashmir is concerned. Successive Union governments have been addressing the Kashmiri issue only during surge of violence, and treating the outbreak as only a law and order problem.

Alas, even quelling of violence was never followed with grounding of liberal promises doled out now and then. With economy in doldrums and jobs not forthcoming, the restless youth is seized by a sense of alienation and victimhood at the hands of India.

Unless common Kashmiris’ concerns are addressed and its youth integrated into the mainstream with more education and job opportunities, alienation cannot be contained. Meanwhile, muscular attempts at separate colonies for Kashmir Pandits would be seen as changing the very demographic profile of the State.

Recent calls of BJP and Sangh Parivar to abrogate Article 370 are exacerbating the anger and frustration of Kashmiris. Peace-building is a slow process and is ridden with umpteen pitfalls, but the arduous journey must begin and not break down midway. The Kashmir conundrum no longer brooks any delay.

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