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Editorial
Not by military action
Violent cycle of Kashmir necessitates the need for political intervention
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Fresh violence in the Valley since Sunday has already claimed 16 lives as eight militants were shot dead in three encounters; six army personnel and two civilians lost their lives, pushing Kashmir on the edge again. Whether it is lives of security men or the civilians, these are precious lives that need a collective mourning as do the several injured persons need all the support and concern to survive and recuperate. The issue necessitates attention that goes beyond this humane response. The spurt in violence itself is a cause for concern and reveals the dark under-belly of Kashmir's volatility. It busts the hollow claims of 'Kashmir limping to normalcy' or 'demonetisation stopping terror funding'. The genesis of militancy and the recent trend of young men joining ranks of militants as well as signs of increasing public sympathy with the militants need to be first of all dispassionately analysed before tackling it. Insurgency can never be tackled simply militarily. That has been tried for nearly three decades and either meets with minimal and temporary success or sometimes helps in perpetuating more militancy and acute frustration in view of colossal loss of lives, horrifying bloodshed and the human rights abuse that come with the violent battles as traumatic and avoidable appendages. All this moves in a vicious cycle - one thing feeding the other - militancy perpetuates military operation which in turn encourage excessive human rights abuse that brings anger and rage to such a boil that youth are pushed to participating in violent agitations and picking up the gun. Needless to point out that perpetuation of such crisis takes a heavy toll of the psyche of the people, the economy of Kashmir, its environment and tarnishes its society in multiple ways. It would be foolish to believe that the trouble in Kashmir is either inspired by money or instigated from across the border by Pakistan's agencies. The role of both cannot be totally ruled out but samples of lives of young men picking up guns have revealed that many of them come from well off and educated homes. There are internal ground realities that play a far greater role in continuum of this vicious cycle of violence.

It is time that New Delhi wakes up to the realities with respect to Kashmir and begins a process of dealing with it in a more effective manner rather than prolonging the crisis by using its huge size of security forces as scapegoats. The genesis of Kashmir issue is political and human rights violations or other socio-economic and political conditions faced by people on a daily basis provide it the necessary fuel. By dealing with Kashmir simply militarily, the government is only dealing with the symptoms, not the malaise. The government can no longer abdicate its responsibility in resolving a long pending conflict while continuing to treat not just the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the country's security forces as dispensable and disposable. Instead, there is need for political initiatives, not as time buying efforts but ones that are aimed at final resolution of Kashmir dispute. Mature democracies around the globe are known to make efforts to resolve their conflicts through sustained dialogues. The Aland Island and Tyrol conflict resolutions through grant of territorial autonomy are some of the classic examples of how the scale of violence was brought down at the very initial stages. Territorial self-governance has been tried with some degree of success in Montenegro, Corsica and to a lesser extent in Bosnia, Herzegovenia and Kosovo but atleast there is a regular and constant process of introspection and engagement through peaceful means not military might. Britain realized the worthlessness of managing its Northern Ireland and Scottish conflicts militarily years ago. Despite much bloodshed and violence in Ireland, it has a roadmap of peace-making which despite all its short-comings, Ireland model continues to be a participatory conflict resolution process in which people are central to the peace process. Why not Kashmir? One of the worst phases of Kashmir turmoil last year should have inspired the government to start an initiative. However, several months later, it does not even show signs of mooting any such mechanism to engage with people and address their wounds. The sole efforts have been civil society initiatives including the one led by Yashwant Sinha. Even the team of parliamentarians that visited has not followed up their initial endeavour with something more holistic to connect to the masses.




News Updated at : Thursday, February 16, 2017
 
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