Thursday, 6 August 2020

New Ray Of Hope For Kashmir

Updated: December 13, 2014 12:30 pm

It is now a happy occasion for all of us, Uday India is celebrating it’s proud six years. We are obliged to our patrons, readers and patriots, who inspired us in making Uday India a successful Voice of the Nation. In this competitive age of Mass Media, to survive a print media is a Herculean task. But we managed succeed overcoming all sort of bottlenecks and without compromising journalistic ethos. Let’s hope for a long road ahead for Uday India, and for this, I request you all to join us in this nationalistic movement for a Developed Nation i.e. Bharat. “A self-confident and resilient nation does not postpone the inconvenient issues of yesterday to a distant tomorrow. Rather, it strives to decisively overcome the problems of the past so that it can pursue its developmental agenda for the future with single-minded determination.” These were the words of former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee in 2001, when he passionately strove for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

No sooner did Mr. Vajpayee disappear from the political scene, the ruling Congress party; true to its founding father’s nature, yet again shelved the resolution of the ‘inconvenient issue’ of Kashmir. Successive state governments in Srinagar have since then faithfully managed to help further alienate Kashmiris, through heavy handed tactics dictated by New Delhi’s policy makers. As a result of this, New Delhi’s recalcitrance was matched by Kashmiris’ defiance. We had reached a flashpoint of a dangerous stalemate. On the other hand, the BJP’s public articulation of the historical animus toward Pakistan has always served as an explosive issue for stalling any new initiatives on Kashmir. Narendra Modi knows that the Kashmiris primarily do not want a plebiscite; rather they want roads, water, schools and employment. 71 per cent voting in first phase of elections proved that J&K public believes in democracy. Whatever advice prevails on Modi’s calculations with regard to Kashmir, the one given by one of India’s finest scholars, president of Center for Policy Research, Pratap Mehta, is worth considering: “The prime minister should have a vision of looking at India’s challenges through a lens that is larger than the narrow-minded and self-defeating vision of the security specialists.”

In the previous election of 2008, the Jammu and Kashmir assembly has seen 11 BJP seats. These were won largely due to the Sangh’s role in the Amarnath land agitation that year. When mainstream political parties, separatists and civil society groups launched an agitation against the allocation of forest land to Amarnath Shrine Board, the Sangh Parivar projected the agitation as anti-Hindu and anti-Jammu, and local BJP leaders threatened an economic blockade of Kashmir. This led to polarisation. The 2014 floods have given Kashmir an opportunity to look back at its recent past and reflect on all that has happened in the valley since the 1989 uprising. The muted cry for Aazadi that had become strident and shrill is now toned down. Aazadi from what and from whom? Isn’t Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution of India giving the state freedom to do things that would be considered as criminal in the rest of India? Doesn’t Article 35A of the Constitution of the state of Jammu & Kashmir give it powers that are exclusive only to it?

There is a lot of hue and cry about the presence of security forces in the state. But they were not always there. Even after 1948, 1965, and 1971 when India fought three wars with Pakistan, the presence of security forces in Kashmir was only at the borders or in their barracks. It was only after the 1989 insurrection and the targeting of the minority Pundits that security forces had to be brought out from their barracks and deployed in the streets. But even this did not prevent the Pundits from fleeing the valley. So, what is this Aazadi we keep hearing about?

Kashmir is the most pampered of all states in India. It is a state that is economically and financially heavily dependent upon the Center for survival. Its productivity levels are abysmal, and it does not raise enough money to even pay for the salaries of its bloated and inefficient bureaucracy. There is a new dispensation at the Center; a palpable new hope across the country that things may actually change for the better. There is no reason why Kashmir should not benefit from this change. But, for that, the people of Kashmir have to rise to the occasion and vociferously reject the calls of the separatists. They must exercise their franchise and use their vote to demand governance and accountability from their legislators. In the past, elections have routinely been rigged and engineered by the state, the Center, and the separatists, to favour some political dynasties. These dynasties have failed in delivering justice and equity, keeping the people dependent upon handouts as if they were beggars.

The present elections give an opportunity to the people to reject these political tyrannies and to elect a truly representational legislature. For this they have to come out in large numbers and use their vote judiciously. Over 70 per cent turnout was recorded in the early phase. The young and first-time voters were particularly enthusiastic about casting their vote.

The BJP is for the first time projecting itself as an alternative to the ruling coalition, which could attract many fence-sitters. It is stressing all-round development. And rather than openly raising its pet issue, abrogation of Article 370, it is urging people to discuss its advantages and disadvantages.

Modi Government has completed six months now, and it looks the government is seriously taking up all local, national and international issues including controlling price rise for the common man. The wound of 26/11 is also still fresh, and it would add another feather in Government’s cap, if it can capture dreaded terrorists like Hafiz, like US was able to find Osama in Pakistani soil, by sending a strong message to Pakistan.

Deepak Kumar Rath

Deepak Kumar Rath

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