Paradoxical Puzzles: Kashmir Inc’s activism and the Govt’s stoic silence

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SRINAGAR: In a twist to the VHP’s threat of imposing an economic blockade on Kashmir if the beef ban bill was discussed in the legislative assembly, Kashmir’s business community has both raised a voice against the threats and asked its counterparts in Jammu to make a choice about it. 

It is this assertion and challenge to the business community of Jammu that may , in the final analysis, make a difference and perhaps even lead to the toning down of VHP rhetoric. The reasons are self evident: Jammu and Kashmir businesses, in many domains share a symbiotic and interdependent relationship with each other. Jammu is also a transit for goods from and to Kashmir; in the process, the business community of Jammu benefits. By throwing the gauntlet at the Jammu trading and business community, Kashmir Inc has perhaps made very prudent choice. Interdependencies mean mutual vulnerabilities. If A and B are in an interdependent relationship, A’s negative actions can hurt B but also hurt A as well. This mutual vulnerability can concentrate the minds of both A and B and make them act in a way that is beneficial to both. The same applies to Jammu and Kashmir especially in the domains of trade and business. Mutual vulnerability should or could make partners across the communal divide settle for the calming effects of trade rather than the harsh, provocative rhetoric of politics. In this sense and if they lead to toning down of tension, Kashmir Inc’s statements are welcome.

All this is well and fine but , in the final analysis, the role and function for maintaining peace and order is the prerogative and responsibility of government.

From this perspective, what is and continues to be intriguing is the state government’s stoic silence on the issue. The VHP is part of the Sangh Parivar of which BJP is also a component; the BJP is in power in a coalition government with the PDP. The silence maintained by the Government makes the BJP complicit in the threat which, given that the PDP is part of the government makes PDP’s silence curious and intriguing as well. Aggregated this means that the Government is making the threat to its own people. One major role and function of Governments is provision of safety and security for the people under its remit. In terms of the beef ban controversy and VHP’s provocative threat, where is the government and what recourse do people have to redress their problems, grievances, issues problems and who ensures peace and amity?

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