Kashmir: The Elusive Peace
It’s been a year since Jammu & Kashmir has been stripped of its special status and bifurcated into two union territories. Still, the Kashmir problem is not yet resolved. Clearly, we will have to walk miles before finding an amicable solution. But based the present scenario, it seems that the situation is conducive enough to make a new beginning in search of peace. An indicator to this fact is the prevailing situation in the often disturbed Kashmir valley which is relatively peaceful now. The number of terrorist incidents have gone down. Most of the restrictions imposed at the time of withdrawal of special status, have been lifted. Most of the leaders, who were put under preventive detention in August last year, have been released. Hopefully, a handful of leaders, who are still in jail will be released soon. Apart from political parties, the All Party Huriyat Conference (APHC), a combination of various social organisations, is now under new leadership. It may be a boon in disguise. So, the Central Government should try to grab this opportunity with both hands without any further delay.
There is no gainsaying peace can make a comeback in the valley only through dialogue. Delay in settling the issue across the table will only mean more bloodshed, more unrest and in the process, turn the paradise on earth into a valley of death. So, taking lessons from past mistakes, both sides should be engaged in fresh discourse. It must be remembered that interference from Pakistan has made the Kashmir problem complicated. It is Pakistani conspiracy which kept Kashmir disturbed for the last seven decades. Pakistan has played a role in Kashmir becoming a theatre for three wars and many conflicts. Even now, when it appears that the ball will start rolling the right direction, Pakistan has come out with a new map claiming the whole of Kashmir as an integral part of the nation. All these are tricks to divert India’s attention towards trivial matters, leaving burning issues unattended. Such moves are aimed at increasing the feeling of neglect among the Kashmiri people. So that a solution will keep on eluding all of us.
So to usher in a new era of peace, both New Delhi and the Kashmiri people should close the door on Pakistan first and start finding ways for an amicable solution. A dialogue without any pre-condition is best suited for the purpose. This model is capable of removing any mistrust between the sides, enabling the concerned parties to present their views without any fear or prejudice. Effectiveness of this model has already been proved in Nagaland and other Northeastern states. If implemented properly, hopefully it may provide the same result in Kashmir too. All it requires is sincerity, hard work and patience. We all know the solution of a vexed problem like Kashmir will not suddenly fall from the sky. We will have to earn it with sheer determination and proper understanding of the problem. That is the key to success.