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

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Redeeming Ourselves as People in Jammu and Kashmir

The approach towards Kashmir is based on the assessment that this phase of the azaadi movement will tire itself out. Instead, it is more likely that it will eventually result in the re-emergence of armed militancy. It is never too late to do the right thing and once the Indian state removes restrictions on civil liberties, it can reach out to the azaadi leadership for unconditional talks.

The all-party delegation (APD) came, saw, met no one of consequence and returned from Srinagar having accomplished nothing. Even after being two months too late, the political parties representing the Parliament of India, for all their eloquence, achieved nothing to make the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government to stop the killing, maiming, blinding of people or the arrests and night raids. Word spinners of Hindutva passed the use of brute force as an act of “tough love,” where casualties are necessary in service of the “Indian nation,” so long as it is the Kashmiri Muslims who are affected. The APD was meant to fail, because it was a charade enacted by the BJP–Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) coalition, which has displayed no desire for a political resolution. The central government ruled by the RSS–BJP nexus calls the shots while Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has no authority to prevent the use of pellet guns, let alone remove the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) or Disturbed Areas Act (DAA), and restore civil liberties of the people. Thus, in an atmosphere of lack of reason and understanding, we watch confusedly, if not helplessly, as the crisis in Kashmir spirals.

In a situation where trust is lacking, truth becomes a casualty of conflict, the quest for justice is jettisoned for impunity of the armed forces, and “development” results in further militarisation and financial dependence. It is then inevitable that the space for political resolution will shrink. The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu on 4 September 2016 delivered a message of “peace and prosperity” on behalf of the state government, but did not utter a word about a political resolution.

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