Issue :   
July 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         June 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:May' 2018

FRANKLY SPEAKING

Kashmir back to square one

Tough task ahead for Governor Vohra

Hari Jaisingh

The way Kashmir affairs were being run for quite some time, the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition was inevitable. In the first place, this was a “marriage” of convenience. Mehbooba Mufti’s party had her own calculations for this ‘political nikah’. There was no change of heart in her basic attitudes and postures. She had her support base deriving its sustenance from moderate to hawkish Islamist elements within the party.


N N Vohra
The BJP vote bank mainly came from the Hindus of Jammu. Its master coordinator of Kashmir affairs Ram Madhav saw in the coalition phenomenon a big opportunity for the party to become a partner in running the affairs of a Muslim majority state and thereby politically ensure the BJP a wider credible base as a national party. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, have overlooked certain dangerous facets of the evolution of Kashmir’s communalized politics and changing grassroots realities over a period of time.

The Central leaders, over the years, have always given the impression that they know the answers to manifold problems of Kashmir. Alas, they know so little. Neither the Congress leaders nor the BJP stalwarts have so far shown that they know how to deal with the complex situation. They have only been groping in the dark. Merely changing governors or power brokers does not constitute a policy or strategy. We do not have a national policy for Kashmir’s multi-dimensional complexities. In its absence, we often look towards the political poltroons strutting about on the streets of Srinagar.

The Centre has done well to retain veteran administrator N N Vohra as J & K Governor. He is the best bet for the state caught in various complexities of terrorists and stone-pelters. Kashmir has to be governed with a measure of firmness. And firmness has to be based on irrevocable principles and not on the expediencies of electoral politics. It is a pity that power has become the main objective of most politicians.



Shujaat Bukhari : The silencing of a rational voice
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is rather unique, having three distinct ethnic groups. The people of Jammu and Ladakh have several legitimate economic grievances, but that is not the case with the Valley people, whose per capita income is the highest among the three regions of the state. So any talk of neglect and poverty is a calculated canard. There is no poverty in the Valley. If life is hard today, this is the fate the Valley people themselves have chosen. It is militancy and Paksponsored terrorist groups which have destroyed the tourist trade and related economic activities for the prosperity of the people and progress of the state.

I do not wish to go into the ifs and buts of history. However, the moot point is: how come the question of autonomy theoretically has remained a matter of life and death? How is it that we have failed to tell the Kashmiris that they have more autonomy than others have in other states?


Mohd Haneef : “My son has died but don’t stop sending your own to Army"
Be that as it may. The Centre has done well to retain N N Vohra as J & K Governor. He is the best bet for the state caught in various complexities of terrorists and stone-pelters. Kashmir has to be governed with a measure of firmness. And firmness has to be based on irrevocable principles and not on the expediencies of electoral politics. It is good that two former senior officials have already been appointed as advisers to assist the Governor. I would suggest the Centre could induct two more advisers with grassroots knowledge of the Valley and Ladakh.


Mehbooba Mufti : “We are convinced that a muscular policy will never work and the only way forward is our healing touch policy... Kashmir is not an enemy territory.”
As it is, Kashmir today is badly caught in its own vicious circle of the gun cult and violence, aided and abetted by Pakistan’s ISI arm. The latest gruesome murder of our illustrious fellow journalisteditor Shujaat Bukhari (51) in Srinagar on the eve of Eid is yet another grim reminder to the NDA leaders and the rest of the country that adhoc policies and postures pursued so far by various leaders and parties at the national and state levels have virtually brought Kashmir to a point of no return.

The Valley’s liberal elements like Editor-in-Chief of Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari were looking forward to an extension of the Ramzan ceasefire but alas, that was not to be. The silencing of Shujaat Bukhari’s voice showed how fragile were and are the threads of ceasefire and peace quest in a Valley where the writ of central and state authorities had ceased to work.

Shujaat’s elimination, apart, the abduction and killing of Rashtriya Rifles’ Kashmiri soldier Aurangzeb by militants in Pulwana on June 14, tells us about another dark facet of the Kashmir tragedy.

The only glimmer of hope in this dark setting is the voice of Aurangzeb’s 56-year-old father Mohd Haneef of Salani village in Poonch. He tells his fellow Kashmiris: “My son has died but don’t stop sending your own to Army. Death has to come one day. I had got him recruited in the Army to serve the nation. A soldier’s job is to kill the enemy or get killed”.

Mr Prime Minister, it is absolutely necessary to break the backbone of militancy, destroy the terrorists’ training camps in PoK and along our borders, eliminate the fear of the gun and reestablish the credentials of Indian establishment as a truly functioning people’s democracy opposed to the cult of the gun! This is the answer to Kashmir’s complex problems.



Mr PM : Time to break the backbone of Pak-sponsored terrorists
This is the spirit of courage, determination and sheer survival of Haneef and his family as they were waiting for their son “jebi” for Eid. Though devastated, Haneef insists he is far from broken. They deserve a salute!

The moot point is: what was the PDP-BJP J&K government, under the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, doing to strengthen the Haneef-like spirit of courage and conviction of the common people of J & K? The state has been in a state of drift.

The security forces have been doing their job exceedingly well even in the socio-economic area for
Ram Madhav : “National integration is paramount for BJP and it can’t compromise on that,” Madhav said at a press conference.
Kashmiri Youth, despite the absence of a clear direction from the political masters amidst provocative acts by stone-pelters and terrorists from across the border. Hurriyat-sponsored stonepelters need to be politically managed and neutralized. But, who cares? Political leaders of all colours and hues have miserably failed in Kashmir.


What is more, the Modi government does not seem to have any coordinated, long and short term policies and strategies. Jammu’s BJP leaders have their own Jammu-centric angles and angularities. The qualities of leaders, I am sorry to say, are poor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has his own ‘global agenda.’ He has cast himself in a larger-thanIndia mould, as a global leader. Who then would take care of the changing ground realities in the Valley? Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh? His occasional interests in Kashmir affairs could not have helped him much to come to the grip of frightening grassroots realities.

Prime Minister Modi should take active interest in close cordination with Governor NN Vohra and his team of knowledgeable persons to set a new agenda for action in coordination with Kashmiris of varied backgrounds and opinions to put J & K on the path of peace and development.


Rajnath Singh
This is not a tall order. The Prime Minister has to find a solution beyond getting resolutions passed at international fora. Related to this complex reality is the China factor and its patronising tilt towards Islamabad.

In this overall task, the changing ground realities have to be constantly kept in mind. Equally crucial is the firming up of various options to tackle the challenging situation.

In the first place, in the conduct of foreign policy, South Bloc ought to give up adhocism in dealing with Pakistan. There should be no place for adhoc thinking or responses in regard to Islamabad and even on the question of dialogue.

Second, New Delhi must evolve both short-term and
Zeid Ra’ad Al Husssein : biased views on human rights
long-term policies and strategies and initiate moves according to its priorities and overall national interests.


Third, as a major power, India must set the pace for events. This is possible if our policy-makers pursue the agenda for bilateral relations in a forward-looking, flexible and dynamic way. Mere condemning terroristkillers and setting up of SIT to probe into the Srinagar editor’s killing cannot help to tackle the basic problems of Pak-sponsored terrorism and spreading wings of Islamic fundamentalism in the Valley.

As for the latest report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), it is out
Omar Abdullah : “Governor’s rule, then polls”
and out biased and should be dismissed for its jaundiced views on human rights violations in J & K.

Shockingly, it virtually glorifies terrorist groups LeT and JeM, calling them as “armed groups” and PoK as Azad Kashmir, thanks to Zeid Ra’ad Al Husssein, High Commissioner for Human Rights and author of OHCHR report! Well Zeid Hussein, what about the human rights of families of Shujaat Bukhari, Aurangzeb and thousands of ordinary Kashmiris, including FRANKLY SPEAKING Kashmiri Pandits, who have lost everything in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the Valley?


What is needed is the political will to call the Pakistani bluff and OHCHR duplicity and break the backbone of Islamabad’s militant links within the Valley and beyond.

It also needs to be realized that under a clear-cut political directive, the security forces have to be given a free hand to deal with terrorists and stone-pelters. Of course, every act has to be performed with transparency and accountability. Equally vital is to stop the supply line of modern equipment and money flow to militants and check infiltration of terror groups fully.

It was disquieting to see that New Delhi and Srinagar continued oscillating between confusion and uncertainty to the advantage of Islamabad. The Modi establishment must find its own answers to break the Pakistani orbit as well as its nexus with militants.

Mr Prime Minister, it is absolutely necessary to break the backbone of militancy, destroy the terrorists’ training camps in PoK and along our borders, eliminate the fear of the gun and reestablish the credentials of the Indian establishment as a truly functioning people’s democracy opposed to the cult of the gun! This is the answer to Kashmir’s complex problems.