Kashmir issue was deliberately stretched by the political class from the very beginning. For 70 years we have been trying to add them to the mainstream through dialogue. Unlike other states, we have been in-fluxing maximum resources into J&K. Militants in J&K responded to mainstream India with Pulwama and other militant activities. We have more than 14% Muslim population where thousands of organizations exist. Why didn’t they organize ‘meetings’ over there to solve the Kashmir issue? There are more than 250 members in AIMPLB (All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board) why didn’t they launch the talk process to join the mainstream? According to a report published in the Times of India, In India, there are 1 cop for 943 people & 1 NGO for 600 people. Why did they fail? Is it only govt business to persuade Kashmiri?
Notions of Pakistan
Pakistan believes that Kashmir is unfinished business of partition. India believes that partition process has completed. Pakistan take has been clear from the beginning, but Indian leaders were confused. Pakistan added ‘Gilgit Baltistan’ as their 5th province but India didn’t pushed the require thrust against that action. But this is first time in the history that Indian govt has clarified its take legitimately after abrogation of Article 370 and ending Kashmir issue. Pandit Nehru made Kashmir issue international by going to UN. Indira Gandhi made Kashmir issue bilateral through Shimla Agreement. PM Modi clarified legitimately by abrogating Article 370 that Kashmir issue as Domestic issue which should be the India’s take from the beginning. Principle of integration speaks the same because Hari singh signed instrument of accession.
If anything, which has destroyed Pakistan, is their ego and thrust of getting Kashmir. The day Pakistan leave the notion of Kashmir as unfinished business of partition, it will start growing relatively at faster pace. Asif Ghafoor recently threatened India in press conference that if they fail in Kashmir, war-fighting becomes a compulsion instead of a choice. It is up to India and the rest of the world. On this note I remembered Stephen Cohen who rightly said in his book “Idea of Pakistan” that “Pakistan now negotiates with its allies and friends by pointing a gun to its own head” (Page 270). Maturity unveils when he said that Kashmir is his “jugular vein” & they would go to any lengths for it. They officially claimed their irresponsible behavior to the world. Nothing could be worse than it for any country.
There is one more perception in Pakistan regarding UN resolution 1948. In 2016 American author Christine Fair was talking about her book at Washington DC. One ‘Fulbright’ (Prestigious scholarship by USA) Pakistani scholar asked her to recall the 1948 resolution of UN, which promised plebiscite in Kashmir. She slammed him by asking “Did you read UN resolution?”. He admitted that he didn’t read. She suggested him not to make out of himself in public. Even Pakistani scholars, intellectuals & politicians didn’t read resolution which is available at UN website free of cost. Reality is that UN resolution is conditional. First condition was that Pakistan should stop infiltration in India. Second, it clearly mentions the demilitarization of the valley by Pakistan first ‘and then India’.
Militants and Army binary
Militancy in Kashmir has been unilateral blamed on Army in context of Kashmir issue. When you ask about militancy in Kashmir, a set of people will counter by asking that just think why they are becoming militants. For Naxals it is being justified by saying the underdevelopment of tribals led to the discontent among them. Then what about Kashmir? In 2000-16 J&K gets 10% of central funds for only 1% of population. UP makes up about 13% of the country’s population but received only 8.2% of central grants. Here they superficially justify that humiliation done by the army let them to become militants. They must also answer that how many Kashmiri pandits raised up gun against their mass humiliation of 90s? Indian army has been the real victims of it who can’t speak, since even Fundamental rights do not extend to them like Kashmiri.
It is also true that since some of the security personnel have misused their power, our security forces didn’t get desirable confidence of Kashmiri people as expected. On the other hand, Indian army shows professionalism in executing operations. Indian army as well as govt gives enough space to bring back militants into normal life. Once army gets intelligence information that a person have joined militants. Team of army goes to the home of militant & meet their parents. Team advice parents to persuade their children for surrender and offer some monetary benefits. Sometimes parents misbehave with team also. If militant didn’t surrender then one more chance is given to militant at the time of encounter. Followed by this, encounter is executed.
One misleading fact is circulated in Kashmir Valley to make them scare that there are 7 lakhs Indian soldiers in Valley. It’s Pakistani propaganda to make them to feel insecure. There are total 14 Lakhs of soldiers. How could it be possible to engage half of the soldiers only in Kashmir Valley to solve so called Kashmir issue. What about the rest of the border area? It’s illogical to even think because India has large territorial boundaries with Bangladesh, Nepal, China and Myanmar in the east. It is known that Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh are each defended by two regular infantry divisions, with about 20,000 to 30,000 troops in each. Such kind of information creates discontent among the people living.
Politics of Perception
Intellectuals had been successful in creating an environment of fear. Narrative of fear was pushed in Kashmir as the tool to contain the democratic actions of the State. Ethos of the government action become secondary and the people reactions become the primary. These philosophies won’t work in any authoritarian or communist country. But it works in Kashmir. Example – First, In Kashmir a kind of fear psychology was created that any touch with Article 370 will result catastrophic blow from Kashmir itself. Second, Pakistan also created fear psychosis of nuclear threat to pursue his policy of ‘Bleed India with thousand cuts’. Intellectuals create such fear psychosis to maintain their hegemony against the state. Objective of these stakeholders to keep so called Kashmir issue alive.
Dissenters asks why govt took action on Article 370 without getting their consent and making them unconscious about it? First, country got consent once. There will be a state of anarchy if all 70 years old 565 starts behaving like that. I think 70 years are not a little time to build consent. Instead of getting consent of people toward India, mind of some Kashmiri youths has been tempered by the separatists for a very long time with the help of religion. It’s not normal disease which could only be cured by making unconscious. It is better to unconscious Kashmiri for a few moments instead of experiencing pain of operation. This is for the people of Kashmir and against the tempered minds.
Sunday headline of ‘The New York Times’ says that with Kashmir move, Modi is trying to make India as a Hindu Nation. See the way how contexts are being changed to make civilian unrest. Similarly, some more myths have been spreading that government is going to remove reservation & abolish special status of Nagaland etc. False narrative has been fabricated to create state of anarchy. PM of India is merely representative & his decision is the decision of the people of India. With this decision, India is trying to pull out Kashmiri from Islamic radicalism to Democratic mainstream. India can’t never be a Hindu state. It’s fabricated fear of the critics to generate false narrative against the govt.
NC chief Farooq Abdullah remarked his dissent that it is not the idea of India in which he believed. Abdullah and Gulam Nabi Azad accused that central govt attacked on secularism. No doubt ‘secularism’ is also a part of idea of India. 42nd amendment of 1986 added word secularism in preamble to make our country more united. But J&K govt refused to implement it. That time same Abdullah was in power with the coalition govt of congress. In fact congress had 2/3rd majority during 1977. Even Gulam Nabi Azad himself has been CM of J&K from 2005 to 2008, but on action on it. How could the idea of India be that where Muslims are in majority should not secular and where in minority must be secular ?
Need of reconciliation
Both sides need to work on their sides. On the one hand, It’s foolishness of some people who are claiming to buy lands in Kashmir or marry their women. It’s matter of condemn. Land is brought on economic consent between the two parties. Marriage happens on the social consent between the two sexes. Constitution doesn’t give any kind of absolute power on any women. It’s matter of personal liberty and expression. If you celebrate abrogation of Article 370 on this cause then I am not be part of your celebration. It has been narrowness of male superiority. Women have been the victim of every war. One hand, foreign invaders like Mughal captured & slaved women if the king won the war. On the other hand, women did “Johar” if the king lost the war.
On the other hand, Kashmiri people need to understand that Pakistan is showing the mirage on the name of “Independent Kashmir”. First, every Pakistan govt has promised to his own people “Kashmir Banega Pakistan”. They won’t care about Kashmiri since they want to please voters of Pakistan. Second, Pakistan declared the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region as the fifth province. Where were the leaders of so-called Kashmir independence? Third, ‘Karachi Agreement’ was signed b/w three parties in 1949 – founder President of PoK, All J&K Muslim Conference & Pakistan govt. Two parties sold PoK & GB to Pakistan govt. Even the people of GB had no representative of theirs while deciding the fate of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The political establishment did what it should do. Rest of the work left on non-state actors like media, people & intellectuals. We must open our arms to welcome Kashmiri brothers and sisters. Convince them to join mainstream if you use social media. Expose the businesses which have been run by the political elites of Kashmir. People must stop inciting them by poking like winning a war. Oppose those who are celebrating this move against the Kashmiri. Positive Information warfare is needed in Kashmir to counter the false narrative propagated by Pakistan for many years. Just like the idea of India is incomplete without the idea of Kashmir. The idea of Kashmir is incomplete without the Kashmiris.
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Very informative and thought provoking!