ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Kashmir: When Ignorance Begets Tragedy and Farce

This article was earlier posted in the Web Exclusives section of the EPW website.

As anger simmers under the relative surface calm in Kashmir, a farce threatens to turn into tragedy. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on the floor of the Parliament on 18 July that referendum as a concept is outdated and irrelevant. It is noteworthy that he has unwittingly lent legitimacy to this concept by bringing it to Parliament. This concept has indeed gained in relevance in the 21st century and is viewed as a democratic way to untie tangled knots and resolve intractable problems. When a state has nothing to offer to a rebellious people, and the ensuing armed conflict will not cease without a radical political offer, the demand for referendum is enough to politically nurture a movement while war rages.

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