Friday, July 23, 2010

Kashmir and the poverty of politics


Kashmir and the poverty of politics

Protesters shout slogans in Pampore, on the outskirts of Srinagar, on Wednesday. Kashmir's latest unrest needs to be seen in context, wherein the politics of New Delhi and Srinagar has lost favour with the Kashmiris.
APProtesters shout slogans in Pampore, on the outskirts of Srinagar, on Wednesday. Kashmir's latest unrest needs to be seen in context, wherein the politics of New Delhi and Srinagar has lost favour with the Kashmiris.

It is easy to blame Pakistan, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Opposition for the troubles in Kashmir. But the fact remains that it is the National Conference-led government's deplorable poverty of politics that has set the State alight again.

The ongoing unrest in Kashmir is the result of a failure of politics, political courage, conviction and empathy. If Kashmir burns time and again, it is because politicians in New Delhi and Srinagar have failed to extend a powerful and convincing political argument to the Kashmiris. Gone are the days when a nation state could demand the undiluted loyalty of its citizens by force and coercion; today, a modern multinational state such as India can command the legitimacy of its citizens only by the power, persuasiveness and attraction of its political arguments.

Kashmir's latest unrest needs to be seen in context, wherein the politics of New Delhi and Srinagar has lost favour with the Kashmiris. It is easy and convenient to blame Pakistan, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), dissident parties in Kashmir and the Opposition People's Democratic Party for the troubles. Indeed, they might have even committed their own acts to fuel the unrest. However, the fact remains that it is the National Conference-led Jammu and Kashmir government's deplorable poverty of politics that has set Kashmir alight again.

Forgotten promises

The historic election of 2008 saw Omar Abdullah elected Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir with a remarkable voter turnout of 61 per cent, despite the vote coming in the wake of the Amarnath land dispute. It was hoped by many that the young and dynamic Mr. Abdullah would lead the State towards peace and prosperity. However, the NC-Congress administration in Jammu and Kashmir has failed to accomplish anything more than the preceding governments and has been equally unable to prevent the State from sliding into further turmoil. Mr. Abdullah also appeared to falter on many occasions in the last two years, including recently when he attempted to blame the unrest on the LeT and anti-national elements. This is a sentiment, of course, shared by the NC's coalition partner, Congress. The Chief Minister has said on a number of occasions that Kashmir is a political issue, first and foremost, and rightly so; what then, one wonders, has prevented him from addressing it as such?

The new government in Jammu and Kashmir came to power pledging zero tolerance to human rights violations. But this is observed more in the breach. The Chief Minister also briefly flirted with the idea of setting up a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission' of sorts; however, it remains one of his pet grand ideas and has never materialised. The process to amend various draconian provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is yet to get under way in a serious manner. The five working groups established by the Prime Minister to resolve State issues at the end of the second round table conference in 2006 have not been given adequate attention, despite the encouraging suggestions proffered by many of them.

In 2000, the NC pushed a resolution through the State Assembly demanding autonomy that was rejected in totality by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government in New Delhi, which termed it “anti-national.” One wonders why the NC has not renewed this demand, given that it is now a coalition partner in the UPA government at the Centre. All the NC and Mr. Abdullah have done in this regard, though, has been to make occasional references to it. It is one thing to orchestrate a litany of promises; it is an entirely different thing to have the political will and courage to pursue them.

Premature triumphalism

The previous two years of mainstream politics in Jammu and Kashmir have been marked by a post-2008 election euphoria that has led to a misplaced sense of triumphalism in Srinagar and New Delhi regarding the victory of democracy and the defeat of dissent in the Valley. The politics of indifference and complacency took root in place of a realisation that this sense of relative stability could be used to usher in a programme of political reconciliation and peace. Mainstream politicians in the Valley forget what has always been true in the case of Kashmir: peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice, as famously pointed out by Martin Luther King Jr. The politicians of Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi should have had the wisdom to capitalise on the positive post-2008 atmosphere by promoting substantive conflict resolution processes in the State. The absence of a political reconciliation process has convinced the people, especially the youth, that their trust has been betrayed by the elected leadership.

Meaning of violence

There is also a widespread tendency among officials and those who write on Kashmir to assert that in a purely statistical sense, examining (for example) indices of poverty and other socio-economic indicators, Kashmir is doing far better than most other Indian States: so what are the Kashmiris complaining about? On the other hand, there are those who argue that the way to resolve the Kashmir issue is simply to pump ever more money into the State. Both these positions are half-truths, if not outright absurdities. Those who defend such arguments fail to understand the meaning of violence in its more nuanced sense. Peace and normalcy cannot be measured by poverty levels, or by other well-cited numbers such as the number of deaths by police fire. These statistics cannot capture the extent of political alienation and the severe psychological trauma experienced, especially by the post-1989 generation that has grown up in the shadow of guns and bloodshed. No amount of economic largesse will tempt this generation to buy unconvincing political arguments. When disillusioned youth fight for a meaning to their political existence, the political parties of Jammu and Kashmir ought to pay attention, for it is these youths who will decide their fate.

Pakistan factor

In this context, the argument that peace building and conflict resolution in Kashmir could not progress due to the post-26/11 acrimony between India and Pakistan falls flat. The fact is the governments in New Delhi and Srinagar need not wait to get the green signal from Islamabad to talk to their own people. Non-interference by Islamabad may well reduce violence and keep Kashmir militancy-free. However, the reality is that the current eruption of violence is marginally affected by Pakistan. Ironically, one could even argue that less interference by Islamabad could even prompt the Indian government to become complacent on Kashmir. In truth, it has certainly appeared thus since 2008.

Why should Pakistan dictate our Kashmir policy when we are certain that for the majority of Kashmiris, Pakistan does not even figure in their minds when they take to the streets protesting against injustice? Indeed, barring the marginal Hurriyat faction of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, no other political leader talks about going to Pakistan. Neither does the majority among them demand a complete separation from India.

Many of those in New Delhi and Srinagar who swear by the argument that Kashmir should be resolved “politically” because it is a “political issue” fail to comprehend what this really entails. Simply put, it means that we can win Kashmir back only by making a convincing political argument, by devising a politically conscious reconciliation process, and by being sensitive to the many injustices the Kashmiris have suffered.

(Happymon Jacob teaches at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.)

Keywords: Kashmir politics, civil unrest


Agreed. Absolutely correct.

Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 00:38 IST

I wish the author wrote in detail how to address the problems in a sensitive region.

from: Nikhil
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 01:00 IST

It is not the sport game that you want to win by techniques, it is the issue of millions of people whose basic issue is the right of self-determination "guaranteed by Indian parliment, UN and other nations". It's biased language of our intalactuals; they are talking about human rights issue, AFSA, etc insted of RSD which is the birth right of all human beings.

from: bashir
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 01:05 IST

I do not understand why we do not talk to Pakistan. We accuse them of occupying PoK. Being a bigger country why Indian politicians are not talking to them to get it back. On the other hand, Pakistan is claiming the part held by India. The world would definitely think that Pakistan probably is right because it is the one which is ready to talk and wants good neighbourly relations in the south east and the current situation in Kashmir does not make India look good at all.

from: raj
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 05:42 IST

There can be many opinions and ideas, but the fact is that the locals have not been fully integrated with India. As a soldier who has served 2 tenures in Kashmir, I have found that the locals treat Indians as foreigners. Give Kashmir full autonomy, let them choose their own Government, pull out the Army,BSF and CRPF and if Pakistan overruns them let them stew in their own misery. People like Geelani should know that the 'proof of the pudding is in the eating'.

from: S N IYER
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 07:30 IST

Happymon, excellent Article!!! I have never seen anybody writing such a realistic, pragmatic and sensible article about the issue of Kashmir.

I think you have given a solution to Kashmir problem in your article.

As a Kashmiri, I guess we are seeking more than autonomy but the realistic solution lies along the lines of Autonomy, Employment for youth and more importanly work at gross root level for an ordinary Kashmiri.

from: Koshur
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 09:16 IST

The author seems to have understood the core issues of the Kashmir problem. The present crisis is the outcome of mishandling by the political leaders especially by the NC-Congress coalition government. It would not be out of place to mention here that the same coalition has been responsible for the creation of the present crisis way back in 1987 when Rajiv and Farooq Abdullah accord threw the opinion and wishes of the masses to dogs and the politicians must understand that the time has gone when the wishes of the people were taken for granted.The Govenment of India must take immediate steps to prevent further damage by taking concrete steps especially in the matter of administration which the present set up failed to provide.The immediate cause of the present violence is maladministation which can to some extent be recovered by removing the present Government and placing the state under Governors rule.

from: tamsheed Gilani
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 09:53 IST

This is a nice and coherent editorial. Kashmir is lacking good politicians which is the case of most parts of India. Democracy can be fruitful only when it has efficient and honest politicians. UPA leaders MUST read this editorial and find some ways of cultivating peaceful and progressive environment in the Kashmir state.

from: suraj
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 10:19 IST

I am sure if the Kashmiri youths have enough jobs, money, tourism they will not take to the streets for such things.Off course, the police and administration has to be more answerable and killing for stone pelting is ridiculous. You can capture as many as you can and send them to jail and use other methods to disperse and control and dominate the area. Use section 144 if required but keep the things under control so that development can take place. This is where the government has to step in and carry out development at rapid pace and sincerity.
Omar sahib has failed in doing this and its a shame that a great opportunity has found him wanting.There is still time for him to get his act together. Make changes whereever required but I don't think the situation in valley is now that bad and separating from India is what Kashmiris only have in their hearts and minds.

from: Kapish
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 10:28 IST

Intellectuals,media and politicians either divert the main focus by raising the human rights issue, poor state government, lack of transparancy, unemployment, financial package etc. instead of focusing on the main issue - that is the Kashmir dispute.

from: Dr javeed
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 11:18 IST

Happyman Jacob's article is timely to correct the misinformed propaganda of Indian media. The present turmoil in Kashmir is indigenous and as a reaction to the stubborness of Indian state which treats Kashmiris as second class 'subjects'. Kashmiris have disowned the gun backed by pakistan, a reality attested by the fact that Kashmiris never go for strike when an armed militent is killed. It is high time for informed and mature intelligentsia in India to press their government to end the policy of status quo.

from: dr altaf hussain para
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 11:21 IST

It is a fact that the valley based politicians have frittered away some advantage that came their way ever since the last Assembly elections. Omar Abdullah has proved to be a big disappointment despite the huge goodwill he enjoyed among all sections. There is a lot of truth that a lot of blame lies with the Centre too but what is the author trying to prove by repeatedly mentioning " New Delhi and Srinagar" in almost every para.

from: Anil Kotwal
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 12:14 IST

A fantastic write up indeed.
I certainly agree with the statemet
" These statistics cannot capture the extent of political alienation and the severe psychological trauma experienced, especially by the post-1989 generation that has grown up in the shadow of guns and bloodshed. No amount of economic largesse will tempt this generation to buy unconvincing political arguments."
But I don't subscribe to writer's opinion on more autonomy for the state of J &K. It would rather do more bad than proving a boon for Kashmiris.

from: Kishore mohanty
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 12:37 IST

I agree with the views expressed by the author. In substance demonstrated lack of administration that touts fighting insurgency as its pritority cannot be justified for a prolonged period. People of J&K require food and shelter and education for which industry has to flourish. Clearly any large scale industrial development cannot be planned. But the handicraft industry can be encouraged to grow. Cynics to the concept may point that this may be a route to finance terrorism. Guns don't come cheap. Their inflow has to be controlled. That is why the armed forces have special powers which should be wisely used.

from: Swapan Chakravarthy
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 12:55 IST

Kashmiris, like all other Indians, must want, and be given, a stake in the future of the Indian nation. This means that the government, through its policies and actions, must show the Kashmiris that their contribution to the nation is valued, as would be the case for Indians of any other state. If this means giving the state more autonomy within the constitutional framework, so be it. At the same time there must be no human rights violations or any other miscarriages of justice. That said, we cannot ignore the fact that J&K is a highly volatile area with constant occurrences of violence from external and many internal elements. This means that the armed forces are certainly required, at least on the border areas. Members of the armed forces and the police are also humans and have rights. Throwing stones at them or attacking them via other means are also unacceptable. Of course the way forward is via political dialogue but all parties must be willing to compromise because it is not possible to fully satisfy divergent demands. Fundamentally, with which nation do the different Kashmiris identify themselves? Let us not be naive about the issues facing us. It may not be the economic, or even political factors, but rather ideological ones which will influence decisions.

from: Samir Mody
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 13:31 IST

Well Said Mr. Jacob.

Any political/Public policy which is formulated without understanding the pulse of the people will definitely fail. In the case of Kashmir, there is a pre-conceived notion prevalent among all parties that the people want separation-which as you rightly said, is not what the majority of them want. This notion is what has prevented all the parties from taking the pulse of the public. All the Kashmiris want is a peaceful life-a life void of violence and oppression. Fancy phrases like 'Truth and Reconciliation Commission' will not work.

How many more generations are we going to lose in Kashmir? How many more lost dreams? How many more "Civil Unrests" ?

How many more frustrated articles, opinions, movies and speeches are required before there is will and conviction to do something for the Kashmiris? And above all, how many more human lives?? The life of the Kashmiris is even more cheap than the others - we dont even track how many we have lost !!!

"Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice" - How true.

from: Smitha Biju
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 13:50 IST

The politicians and the vocal public opinion in the country seem to think that successfully conducted periodical elections prove the strength of our democracy. When a party or a coalition wins an election, it doesn't automatically follow that the country as a whole support it and its policies. We know that even with less than fifty percent of the electorate voting and with the winning party or group of parties getting less than a half of the votes cast, it can win an election. It is generally not realised that elections are only a working arrangement in a democracy to elect a government. If democracy has to be successful in the long run, the elected government has to strive to get the people behind its policies and programmes. While the successive State and Central governments have taken been taking election victories as a license to them to rule the State or the country as they like without caring for the feelings and views of the people. This may work most of the time in most parts of the country. But in modern India's most troubled State it simply doesn't. One can sgree with Happymon Jacob' observations in this regard.

from: K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 14:25 IST

I think the author has understood the Kashmir problem very well. In 2008 uprisings against India and barely a month or two later taking part in the elections by a good percentage of Kashmiries was only because a common Kashmiri found himself betrayed by Hurriyat leaders by putting an end to the protests when people were ready to carry it forward to the last. But unfortunately Delhi lost the opportunity to capitalise the situation. Now the same situation has arisen and this time Delhi should initiate a meaningful political dialogue with everyone including the hardline Geelani group so that so that the educated Kashmiri youth protesting on the streets of Kashmir are provided a ray of hope for their future.

from: nazir ahmad
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 14:48 IST

Well the article raises right questions but it would be nice to provide some concrete answers also. New Delhi might have been slow in reacting to Kashmir problems, but the failure of Kashmir leaders is to be blamed for Kashmir troubles. I don't think New Delhi has many options left. Though Omar Abdullah might not have succeed in doing what one were hoping for. However, he is our best hope, we need leader like him in Kashmir. The other party PDP wants to go more or less separatists way in the valley. One can certainly talk with anyone in the valley, but the separatists have not shown any flexibility in talks, and in my opinion this is one of the biggest reason for misery in the valley.

from: Naveen Kumar
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 15:09 IST

The recent turn of events in panic striken J&K has brought the government's inadequacy to the forefront. The people of Srinagar are going through a period of disillusion regarding the motives of the CM. Where it was once believed that Omar Abdullah would be the change for the embattled state, people have now understood the false promises. Both the state and the central government have not taken the issue seriously and allowed it steer out of control.

The belief of the government that continuous grants, subsidies and monetary schemes will improve the living condition in Srinagar is grossly misplaced. The government needs to be responsive and articulated to the political situation prevailing and make an attempt to ameliorate the situation by direct contact and interactions with people. Blaming pakistan, ISI etc is not the solution when the majority of population is against the divison of Kashmir and support the idea of a united state. It's high time the government gets rid of its lethargy and does something.

from: Vishal
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 15:19 IST

Simply sending or retreating the troops will not serve any meaningful purpose unless the aspirations of Kashimiri people are given due consideration while formulating the policies affecting their very lives. If this is the situation at a time when the government of state and central are ruled by same political party and peace talks with the neighbouring country are on a new dimension, then it may be anybody's guess how the things would be in contrary circumstance.

Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 15:53 IST

J&k has never been a law and order problem or the problem of good governence. Both India and Pakistan in the UN have agreed to let Kashmiris, on both sides of the border, to celebrate Right to self determination. So this is the the right time for the leadership of both sides to rise above politics, show maturity and let Kashmiris decide their future. This is the only way to end the unrest in Kashmir for ever.

Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 16:41 IST

It never ceases to amaze me how those appointed for carrying out justice,administration&development can be so numb to the issues of common people.Kashmir&its people so sorely need peace.Everyone around them seem to have failed at that or have been contributing to the chaos&mayhem.Makes me so sad&helpless every time I reflect on it.
Perhaps non-govt initiatives need to take the lead as it has happened in large parts of the country. It's only when civil movements have been at the issues of the day, that the govts by&large,all across the country, have responded in any positive way. That is the frustration....&challenge of our times perhaps. With violence&uncertainties thrown in,in the cauldron that is Kashmir,I realise,it isn't an easy task.But something has to be done!

from: arpana
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 18:23 IST

Thanks for providing us so much details on Kashmir issue. It might be true that Omar Abdullah govt has failed on many fronts but making accountable for all mishappening is not fair. Govt has done well on many fronts and we must see that Kashmir is a complex issue where Pakistan, Hurriyat,militants, radical Islamist group all are involved. When ever negotiation starts between India and Pak certain vested interests don't want to see it progressing.

Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 18:24 IST

This is absolutely a impeccable revelation.This is what is going in Jammu and Kashmir. The Congress regime is also responsible for this devastation.

from: Gourav Sharma
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 19:36 IST

A very nice article. I am saddened to see that Omar Abdullah (who was once hailed to be one of India's finest young leaders) failing to pacify the situation. Surely, someone of his calibre, having been brought up in the J&K, should be able to take appropriate decisions to curb the violence.

from: Aadhaar Verma
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 20:58 IST

I disagree with some of the comments that the author needs to provide answers. The citizens of this country spends crores and crores of rupees to maintain an election machinery, conduct elections and to feed the massive parliament. We spend sleepless nights after the elections to see if the party/ideology we think will make a change in our lives has won. And after all these, if we have to provide answers to the problems in this country, we might as well do away with what we call democracy !!!

from: Smitha Biju, London, UK
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 21:08 IST

The problem as identified by the author is somewhat correct but not in the absolute sense. Though the political will has been lacking, the reasons for this violence have been the violence that preceeded them. There is a vicious circle going on at the moment and anti-social elements are making the most of it by instigating mobs. I think more than political, the solution to Kashmir problem is socio-economic in nature. I still believe that till the time The Constitution of India is enforced in the region, we cannot talk of J&K and rest of India in the same sense.

from: Neeraj Sibal
Posted on: Jul 22, 2010 at 22:06 IST

You have summarized the current situation well, but where are the specifics for an amicable solution?

from: Anand
Posted on: Jul 23, 2010 at 12:20 IST

Did the author just say that Kashmiris do not want complete separation from India? Then he would perhaps care to explain why the common folk in Kashmir, refer to Indians (whether tourists or not) as "Hindustani mehman"?

from: Tix
Posted on: Jul 23, 2010 at 12:22 IST

In an atmosphere of systematic and institutional denial of justice, how would one expect people to behave. If the common man protests peacufully on roads, it is branded as "agitational terrorism". If a teenager (as young as 9 yr Asif of Delina Baramulla)throws a stone at Indian troops to vent his anger, his death, by showering volley of bullets at his tender body, is justified by saying ; he was a potential threat. You announce probes after every killing and punish none except those who raise their voice against this gruesome oppression.

from: Tariq
Posted on: Jul 24, 2010 at 13:01 IST

The present turmoil in Kashmir Valley is testimony to the long going agitation there for the last sixty three years, we have to be prudent about it and try to resolve this issue as early as possible, and stop the collateral damage to our security Forces and Kashmires. We can’t disown this agitation as a handiwork of external hands and blame Pakistan or Lashkar-e-tobia for every small untoward incident there, indeed problem is of indigenous nature. The author has rightly pointed out that Kashmiries have never integrated with India and never considered themselves as Indians, instead they consider themselves as a separate nation.

from: Amit Padha
Posted on: Jul 24, 2010 at 22:44 IST

The author has rightly pointed out all the aspects. Being a Kashmiri I fully agree with him. I salute the author. At least there is somebody for a true and sincere analysis.

from: shiekh irshad
Posted on: Jul 26, 2010 at 09:30 IST

Your last paragraph frames the reality in an untruthful way. You state that the majority of protestors think not of going to Pakistan, and that the majority do not even want a full separation from India. This is untrue. Poll after poll shows that up to 90% of people in the Kashmir Valley (where all these protestors are located) want a complete break with India (according to CNN/NDTV poll taken a few years back on independence day). The "less than majority" that you are referring to only occurs when you include Jammu and Ladakh into the equation. With them included, slightly less than half of the entire state of JK doesnt want total separation, however, no protests are occurring there. Where the protests ARE occurring, ie Kashmir, the overwhelming majority desire a separation from India, and the overwhelming majority of those wish to be independent from both India or Pakistan.

from: Pradeep Vanam
Posted on: Jul 31, 2010 at 03:02 IST

Commendable job by the author, writing in such a detail and almost pin pointing the ground realities faced by the Kashmiris and its hopeless political parties.

Being a young Kashmiri myself, who has been brought up in this period of turmoil since 1989. I have seen nothing but violence almost everyday of my life. Kashmiris have never seen themselves as a part of India and never will, its embedded in their subconscious mind.

This is the right time for centre to come to the ground realities and accept the fact that Kashmiris want a concrete solution without blaming Pakistan, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), dissident parties in Kashmir and the Opposition People's Democratic Party for the troubles in Kashmir. Leave the sepratist factions aside, who India argue are spreading the unrest even the main stream parties are to blame for fueling the anger of people take the example of recent comment by Farooq Abdullah " Kashmir Ko Goli Maro". This comment by such a senior leader of NC came like a rude shock to all of us at this critical situation facing Kashmir. To add to this argument even the relief commodities coming from rural areas for srinagarites city was ceased by the authorities, now what do u call that state terrorism.

Its imperative from this ongoing situation that its not going to get quelled till the central govt does not come up with at least some measures like revocation of various draconian provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), release of all political prisoners and restoration of Autonomy which at least will give some glimmer of hope for this nation that Govt of India is serious about the aspirations of Kashmirs.

from: Syed Gazanfar
Posted on: Jul 31, 2010 at 10:06 IST

a balanced article. Kashmir is basically political problem and Indian leadership should not be shy of accepting it. India has never owned Kashmiris and so Kashmiris also do not trust india. Indian security forces behave as absolute tyrants in Kashmir while facing a minimum resistance from kashmiris during the latest up serge in kashmir.All right thinking people of the region should put their heads together for resolving this chronic issue so that we can live peacefully here.

from: shafi
Posted on: Jul 31, 2010 at 11:39 IST

This is one of the few articles that reflects realistic thinking, but hard for the politicians. Power hungry as they may be, I would sincerely think that Manmohan Singhji will think seriously on this without party hats on. there are several intersting observations in this as well. The right to self determination by the Kashmiris is long needed. Apprehension that they will decide to go with the state of Pakistan is far fetched. Just as they have opposed Indian rule, they will have similar feelings towards Pakistan or China in fact. some blogger thinks that self determination is a guarantee for jobs and progress. Whilst on the one hand, India has been using Kashmir for political purposes, a lot of funding still gets there for the Kashmiris. Re-building the economy and finding jobs for the locals will be a great challenge, once they are left on their own.
With so mucn of angst against India, the Kashmiris might very well decide to sever ties with India and this would be counter productive. the alternative with Pakistan might not be as palatable as they might perceive as that country descends into religious anarchy.
It is time for India to sever its umbilical cord anbd let Kashmir decide for itself. If India does that, Kashmir might be a lot closer and more friendly than we imagine.

from: Thodur Vasudevan
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 06:06 IST

I am amazed by both the article and the comments. The author and all the letter writers express an amazing lack of knowledge about the world today. You really take the Pakistanis and the Kashmiris by their words. It is very intriguing that so much call for fairness and democracy directed at India come from Pakistanis and Kashmiris, and on other occasions from the Chinese. These people, and the people supported by them have killed hundreds of thousands of people through the years, including people who used to be their co-religionists and co-ideologues. Thousands of times more than what India has done. Do not believe in them or in what they say. If Kashmir is gone from India, or even if its association with India is weakened, the next item on the agenda will be the destruction and breakup of India itself. It is progressing very well, and judging by the ridiculous and out of touch analysis by the author, this newspaper, and all these letter writers, it may be unstoppable. Maoist insurgency, where the Maoist leaders openly support the breakup of India, the Northeastern insurgents, combined with the upper caste otherworldly and stupid intellectuals and other outright vicious intellectuals, have already set the stage for the potential destruction of India. As a low caste Indian abroad, I have suffered most bad behavior from fellow liberal Indians, all of higher caste. Just hoping, that may be just may be these people will wake up. All of India will decide the fate of any part of India, including Kashmir, Assam, Tamilnadu or Telengana, or for that matter Chattisgarh or Jharkhand. The target should be to get the whole of Kashmir back into India, including the part occupied by China.

from: dinkar jagu chandra
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 06:47 IST

I really commend the author of the article for a very realistic analysis. The Kashmir situation is of far greater importance of any commanwealth sports or any other issues . It will determine the future of India and it requires a leadership which so far has been lacking. Sending more troops will not solve it and may inflamme it. What is required is a bold political decison which will take Kashmiries in confidence and which will promise and delievr economic and peaceful objectives and measurable progression toward normal situation as exists in other parts of the Union.

from: vinod
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 07:19 IST

Hats off to you sir, for providing such a nice article on the Kashmir issue.

"The Prime Minister can forget about the Commonwealth Games, AfPak and other issues. Kashmir is where his leadership is urgently required. The Indian state successfully overcame the challenge posed by terrorism and militancy."

The above concluding words of yours is really an eye opener to our Government Of India.

Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 07:22 IST

The PM needs to step out and address the problem in a pro-active manner. Enough time has been wasted by pussy-footing around it.

from: Anil Kotwal
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 07:22 IST

looking at the present crisis there seems to be no quick fix for the solution as I really think that the people will take some more dayz to actually calm down because lets face it, this resentment and eruption of anger is but a result of more than half a century of anguish and oppression of the Kashmiri people at the hands of successive governments as well as of the atrocities, gross violations and brutalities of the Uniformed terrorists( military, paramilitary forces). one is amazed at the response of both the govts (at central and state level) as well as the moronic opposition who still are breathing in denial. The leader from both the spheres of governance seems to have actually no regard for the sentiments of the people and their approach to solving the present crisis seems to be utterly absurd. Do these leaders actually think that force or deploying more and more personnels is the answer the to the problem. have they forgotten that this youth is a generation brought up in an era of bloodshed and turmoil cannot be countered by threats of death or physical hurt. understand that the only way to ensure peace is by respecting for the right of the people and creating avenues for their prosperity . The people deserve a govt that sincerely concerns itself with the welfare of the people and is not like the present and utterly regardless regime. Also it is high time now for the Central govt to restore the autonomous status of the state and end its cover of impunity to the armed forces in the state. it is what the people are demanding and it is what they rightly deserve.

from: FARAZ
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 07:29 IST

Hope this will be published.

What is the package which in this world is needed for the people of Kashmir. Can you distinguish the sufferings of people of Kashmir with other states in country. Do you think the other states live with full financial security and free of problems. Nope!!

You cannot justify the violence with the offering of new package. Then it will be become a trend setter for the next violence and why not, it can be for other states in the country.

There is no single solution for the problems suffered today. It is all induced by 1. Pakisthan 2. Locales which in fact want to go with PoK

There should be zero tolerance for the violence which in basic is lacking with current govt in handling things about Kashmir, Naxalites etc.. Country really needs corougaeous / bold leader.

from: Vinoo
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 08:29 IST

This article does not represent periphery of kashmir dispute. I am a kashmiri and i accept that the root cause of uprising in kashmir is injustice in every walk of life at the hands of state and central govt..peaceful protesters raising voices and seeking justice against fake encounter killings, beating of 8 year old toddlers to death by crpf are silenced by live ammunation which nowhere on earth except in kashmir happens...kashmiris are world's the most millitarised race..

from: Adam
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 09:01 IST

The time has come for India to ask UN to implemnt its resolution:
1. Pakistan to vacate its occupation of Kashmir
2. India to thin down its defence forces for the purpose of maintaining law and order
3.UN supervised plebiscite in Kashmir for their self-determination.
It pains me as a proud Indian to be accused as an oppressor and the situation in Kashmir being compared with Palestine.

from: Dr. Ashraf Ali
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 09:59 IST

Dusting the history Books i have come acroos following quotation which had to be an eye openner to Indian establishment by a person who had been very vocal and active to sell india to kashmiris. But the policy makers of indian republic have not even paid alittle attention to these warnings. I think this establishment is accelrating the process of dismantling of indian nationhood which is clear by the fact that today 40% of geographical area of indian state is beyond the authority of delhi adminis tration.The quotation reads as:

from: Riyaz Bhat
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 10:02 IST

India should resolve the issue of Kashmir on international table first. A poll should conducted for all Kashmiri people whether they want to be part of Inidia/Pakistan or autonomous.

If they they want to be autonomous or merged with Pakistan then let them go, and create a new boundary line at Jammu to protect Indian territory put army there to protect rest of our people.

But If Kashmiri People want to be part of India and they should, then Indian government should first put all separatist leader in jail, remove army from cities and put them on Indo-Pak border to prevent infiltration. Now as Kashmiri people are part of our family, they must have all rights/responsibilities same as other Indian. PM should directly talk to people of kashmir and should take interest in there problems and solutions personally.

There is responsibility of Kashmiri people too take part in their constructive development.

from: Ashish Gupta
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 10:22 IST

The central government might have been aloof around this issue, except for displaying strong message thru the court ruling of the case, while the new Minister has will to disentangle the ethnic clashes in the region. In this situation, if Pakistan militants were stopping raids in the region and Indian did so too, the new Minister would take time to lessen the degree of militancy and also would get more space to voluntarily settle more concrete peace talks, among villages and factions, rather than the dreamy 'long pipe line' story.

from: Choi Heungsun
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 10:45 IST

I'd like to add, as the son of a prominent Kashmiri Pundit, that the best solution for Kashmir is along the lines of the Hong Kong model. Let Kashmir control all of her own affairs, including a border control that stamps passports issued by India or Pakistan, and its own symbolic currency (pegged to the INdian Rupee). But let the Indian flag fly in Srinagar. People really don't care who's flag is flying, they want to control their own state, because Kashmiris regard themselves as a seperate nation. Give them the "Just-less-than-Independence" option. Removal of Article 370

from: Pradeep Vanam
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 10:52 IST

I have serious doubts the Indian establishment has the ability to address Kashmir. Their near total reliance on the discredited political urchins and renegade intelligence and security establishment in Kashmir (which cannot be unwound for its sheer size and depth) will keep them from any access to the pulse of the free in Kashmir. India the way it is can at best manage an occupation. The longer it lasts the worse it will get till finally the lie will explode and smear its face.

from: Fazili
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 10:52 IST

I'd like to add, as the son of a prominent Kashmiri Pundit, that the best solution for Kashmir is along the lines of the Hong Kong model. Let Kashmir control all of her own affairs, including a border control that stamps passports issued by India or Pakistan, and its own symbolic currency (pegged to the INdian Rupee). But let the Indian flag fly in Srinagar. People really don't care who's flag is flying, they want to control their own state, because Kashmiris regard themselves as a seperate nation. Give them the "Just-less-than-Independence" option.

from: Pradeep Vanam
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 10:52 IST

India's Greatest Problems doesn't lie outside but within its own closed walls. 'Internal Security the greatest threat to Democracy' Why is the 'Government of India' playing 'Numb'?? its High time... We being citizens of India, are totally cool and have no Objections with the way the Government of India, collects Taxes and amasses or generates Huge Sums of National income or Revenue, that is used to modernize the military and intelligence wings... But none of them, is proving the predicted efficiency in controlling internal issues and guaranteeing Security to her Citizens... Or is it the Lack of Good And Effective Decision Making or Planning by the Center??? Or is it the Center's influence, that hinders the Military and Intelligence to act timely and independently??... Please, No one wishes to see another 'Collapse of The Soviet Union Effect going rendezvous with India'... So On behalf of all Patriotic and Peaceful minded Indians, Please 'Act' Now itself, & Take 'Constructive measures' before it becomes... 'Too Late...'

from: Neeraj
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 10:52 IST

Nice article.
J&K is a state which has special status. That means the laws made are in total control of the assembly of J&K. There are points that are raised about maladministration, but with due respect, aren't the administrators people's representatives? Haven't they been voted into power by the people of J&K ? That said, aren't development policies within the state a matter of concern for the state itself ? Why is the entire India being blamed for this ? Making plans and shouting them out is not the solution, ground work is. More than the government it is the people of Kashmir interested in development who are required to participate actively for their future. Most of states have their share of problems, India as a whole should be considered and improved as one.

from: Akash
Posted on: Aug 5, 2010 at 12:38 IST

(Source: The Hindu, July 21, 2010. URL: )

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