Understanding Kashmir Imbroglio
The recent attack on our army in Kashmir has raised the steam in this boiling cauldron. The hot and sticky sensation characterising the Indian summer witnessed another nail struck into its secular fabric with the humanitarian crisis in the valley reaching new heights. The most disturbing of all was the totally lost sympathetic voices in the valley for the army in the time of dearth.
The valley, usually seen with a prism of violence, should also be looked with the reasons for the present scenario. Taking a troll around the past of our great nation one wonders what would have been the implications of Jammu and Kashmir if it had not been part of this great diversity bandwagon. A scenic heaven with its mystic charms that can easily mesmerize anyone with a minimum aesthetic power to absorb it, is aptly what summarises Kashmir. But in the recent decades where are we standing with it: the world’s dangerous place, a terrorist paradise, a killing habitat, displaced and distorted lives of the inhabitants and overall a scary cocoon?
On one hand, it is sad that the grim realities surface it to be still looked from the prism of just peace, stability and keeping attacks at bay even after six decades of independence. On the other, any talks to improve the situation always halts and that the awareness of such an existent beauty in our backyard is always shadowed by the prevalence of uttermost chaos in the region. Rewinding the wheels of time, history notes that Kashmir the bone of contention between the two neighboring nations gained its dark importance owing to the partition of the subcontinent.
As a Muslim majority state but ruled by a Hindu ruler it was obviously pointed out by Pakistan to be rightly under their administrative arc but the king wanted the state to have its own sovereignty and not align with either of the nations. The circumstances and tensions created by the onslaught of both Pakistani Army and the Muslim tribes in the north-western provinces forced the king to sign a pact with India in order to be protected by it and thus come under the union of India. This inclusion didn’t go down well with few and of course the matter was put front at United Nations but the planned plebiscite had not been held due to Pakistan’s objection. Though the link between the state and the union of India was established on the drafting of article 370, which serves as the thin thread binding the state and also retaining its autonomy and to a large extent self-control and special status in the constitutional manifold. The scenario and the issues on ground got worsen with passing years as in an informal way it was the unfinished agenda of partition; considered by our neighbour.
Though the valley had its peace and tranquil years, the life and daily activities were often disrupted and sent into commotion. Then 1965 war spiked the tensions as Pakistan’s policy of winning back the territory by sending insurgents to create angst among the local population and also a feeling of disharmony against India. The results didn’t yield for the Pakistani army in the following years but soon their cultivated plans yielded higher returns since the 1990s. During the years, after the adpotion of the new economic policy the insurgency levels had touched new heights that had forced the center to impose heavy restrictions in the state along with deployment of heavy numbered army contingents. Battling insurgents was a difficult task and mounting pressures which the army had to
tackle in the valley led the implementation of AFSPA which shielded the army from human right activists and also at some level the atrocities they undertook under this act gave them no reparations for their actions. These had led the people in the valley to see the army in poor light and moreover India with suspicions and grave anger.
The valley had fought bravely with twenty years of insurgency and still had good economic levels, low poverty, effective administrative agencies and proper democratic elections. The grave issue here is the dissatisfaction among the local youth regarding unemployment and various drawbacks related to the state as well as the number of missing people, frequent raids and interrogation by security agencies. This disaffection towards India has been vividly etched in our memories with the failed steps like the imprisonment of Shiekh Abdullah for charges not satisfactory and also the numerous allegations against men in uniform of false killings and mishandling of the situation. The climate is dingy also with the constant demand by our neighbour for a referendum; though one suggests no for any revision into the state’s inclusion as we all know if ever Jammu and Kashmir achieves a complete autonomy thus a independent state it would be very difficult for it to stop the marching Pakistan to complete its unfinished agenda. At the same time one strongly supports the roll back of the AFSPA act and punishments for the human right violations occurred in the state. Considering money, as the bottom of much satisfaction the Indian state should actively pursue rapid modernisation of the economy benefitting the youth and at the same time sending strong messages to the proxies of our neighbour who have time and again ambushed the state by waging war with human shield-the gullible youth. The locals have to be more vocal in their opposition to terrorism and also fight economy deterioration by democratic means rather than joining hands in the bloodbath. The valley once known for its extravagant beauty now being haunted by the dark marks of past, should be restored as a tourist paradise and its locals should be given the confidence of a safe and secured environment but, for all this, a simple hand of cooperation, support and understanding is needed both from within the sate as well as the rest of the country.
by Shreejit Abhishek