At the time when the political impasse in the Kashmir valley seems to be in a state of frozen turbulence, Jammu & Kashmirs Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is battling to secure the states residuary powers and its special status. Her efforts to convince the Centre to appoint an interlocutor to hold talks is a victory for those who continue to hope that the violence will come to an end.
The impact of what can be termed as a hugely important Confidence Building Measure on the politics of Kashmir should be understood in the light of aspirations of the people and the nations welfare at large. The earlier group of interlocutors appointed by the UPA lost its glimmer and credibility as their months-long deliberations turned out to be nothing more than an orchestrated exercise .
Many may read the faultlines between the PDP BJP alliance to be the root cause of unrest in valley, but the PDP Chief has persisted in going the mile to convince the Centre to hold talks to end this prevailing bloodshed. Her tone, tenor and cadence over issues relating to the state have been bold enough while her recent statements without fear or favour ramifications articulates the need to uphold J&Ks special status.
Traditionally the outlook of the Centre towards regional parties has been fuelled by a lack of trust which has, admittedly, undermined the aspirations of parties who have worked tirelessly in establishing democracy in conflict. Under the extraordinary circumstances which pertain in J&K, these parties have also lost their party cadres to terrorist bullets. Recently many innocent PDP party workers were assassinated in the partys bastion in South Kashmir. The writing is clearly on the wall , that the central governments preferred iron fist response to problems will not resolve anything and may in fact deepen the feeling of alienation at the cost of innocent lives.
Likewise, the people of J&K were deeply disillusioned when the Modi government showed little or no interest in preventing recent assaults on J&Ks special status.
The PDP has compromised its voter base for development of the state and securing a regional balance. The BJP has an opportunity to reciprocate this sacrifice by promoting a sense of security and dignity at the grassroots.
The PDP has compromised its voter base for development of the state and securing a regional balance. The BJP has an opportunity to reciprocate this sacrifice by promoting a sense of security and dignity at the grassroots. Prime Minister Modis comments on the need to embrace the people of Kashmir and not just its territory has resonated among the people. This has also raised the hopes of the people who have been at the receiving end of terrorism for decades. They have endured the damage done to generations from systematic violence which has also forced the Kashmiri Pandit community to live in exile. The governments ham-handed response to civil agitations to act on the alarming rate of educated youth joining militancy , has misled a generation to glorify rebels and treat them as role models.
It must be understood that development and fiscal integration are matters of undisputed necessity, but what is even more important in Kashmir today is to accord political significance to issues and act upon those decisions. Having a separate constitution and a separate flag for the state are important but much more important is the drive for peace. Former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayees initiatives allowed the people of the Kashmir valley to trust the BJP again. This is the legacy of the BJP today.
Today the party has the unprecedented opportunity to integrate the hearts and minds of people in J& K with the rest of the country and end their growing alienation through a reconciliatory approach. The PDPs arduous attempt to give the BJP the space to deliver on its promises needs to be honoured by the Prime Minister who now needs to move beyond the rhetoric of backing its alliance partner for the greater good of the nation and long sought-after peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
TheArticle First Appeared In The Indian Express
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