If it doesn’t, Kashmir politics will be heading towards disaster?
With the arrival of Durbar, Kashmir politics, as usual, is bound to get hotter. The battlefield has shifted to beautiful but now much-charged environs of Kashmir. All stakeholders have their fingers crossed with a long cherished wish to have a calm summer this year, may Almighty fulfil their wish! Since the start of discontent in the late eighties the dimensions of conflict, by and large, remained same, but since last year the contours and magnitude of conflict have not only changed but changed for the worst involving almost all sections of the society and every aspect of life in Kashmir. Stone pelting as an instrument of struggle and subsequent lethal retaliation by authorities with pellets and other crude curbs changed the whole description of resistance and counter-resistance in Kashmir. Stone pelting and stone pelters have become crusade and icons of Kashmir conflict and it has put the whole system of authority in a tight position to decide about arsenal and magnitude of retaliation against stone pelters. For more than two decades now in addition to peace Kashmir trade and economy are practically at the mercy of political unrest, but now the most vital sector—the education has come under the clouds of conflict in a big way. During decades of conflict, the endurance level and sustenance capacity of people of Kashmir surprised everyone, even some disturbance within the education system was managed with ease. However, for last more than a month after shameful incidents of violence in and around Pulwama Degree College, the vital and opinion boosting higher education sector got tangled in the cycle of violence in a big way creating huge hurdles in smooth functioning of these institutions. Apparently, such violence in education institutions looks very simple and manageable by force, but the authorities were wrong in reading the mindset of present educated techno-savvy younger generation who are in no mood to forget and forgive any dent to their psyche and self-respect. And the result was swift, fire like students unrest from south of the valley into the north within few weeks’ time.
Obviously, Kashmir unrest got hugely influenced and catalysed by the interventional policies of the federal government during last two years regarding food choice and other social and religious matters of a particular section of the society in the country. The policies being pushed rudely in the garb of promulgations and implemented with vindictive approach almost negate the secular and democratic concept that was promised to millions of Indians in 1947. The unfinished agenda of resolving the status of Kashmir (whole Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh under the occupation of India, Pakistan, and China) is more susceptible to such coercive influences and Kashmir valley being the epicenter bears most of the brunt. The induced stalemate in talks has made the tempers and feelings more volatile. People of Kashmir are unable to understand the reverse transformation of the agenda of promises, reconciliation, and simple talks. From plebiscite promise in 1947 at historic Lalchowk by none less than first statesman Prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru , ‘sky is the limit’ assurance by Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao in 1995 at Burkina Faso, Insaniyat (Humanity), Jamhuriyat (Democracy) and Kashmiriyat doctrine by Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Vikas (development) theory of Prime Minister Modi and off late his new addition to Kashmir political lexicon ‘tourism or terrorism’ has baffled Kashmiri people over the years. They are unable to trust anyone, anymore. Even international agencies like United Nations have lost credibility in Kashmir. And this situation of reversing the promises in a tactful and gradual manner compounded the situation for the worse. A trust deficit starts creeping into the minds of stakeholders resulting in reinvigorated resolve for pursuing unrest and only unrest! At present Kashmir conflict is getting a huge push from the brewing discontent almost on all fronts. Kashmir is heading towards a collapse—at best that is what I perceive as a common-man! Kashmir requires an intervention of compassion and reconciliation not that shameful tactic of ‘carrot and stick’. Without going more deep into rhetorical narratives Kashmir and its people—the worst sufferers are to be retrieved from the quagmire of discontent, despair, and violence with a rock-hard assurance to pave the way for resolving the unfinished task of the painful partition to the best satisfaction of all stakeholders. Otherwise, political disaster is looming large on Kashmir!