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What ails Kashmir-II?
The Kashmir valley is very much in the news; some articles have recently been published on the problems that continue to plague it, the most recent is by Shri Bharat Bhushan, titled "Why Kashmiris feel that India and the world have abandoned them", published on catchnews.com. Shri Bhushan is of the opinion that:

1. What is happening in Kashmir ought to shame every Indian.

2. The current political atmosphere in Kashmir is unprecedented.

3. The Modi government brand of politics has reduced the Kashmir problem from a political issue to one of national security and law and order.

4. The BJP has adopted the Hindutva ideology as governance strategy in Jammu & Kashmir.

5. That the BJP also perceives the Kashmir problem as a Hindu-Muslim problem.

6. The tendency to blame Pakistan for everything ignores the need to recognize disaffection amongst Kashmiris.

The natural tendency, generally speaking, amongst most persons who publish articles on Kashmir, is to hold the Indian Army responsible for all the ills that plague it. What this implies is that had the army not been deployed in the Valley there wouldn't be a Kashmir problem, as no human rights violations which have, to a large extent alienated most Kashmiris, would have taken place.

In my earlier article, 'What ails Kashmir?' I had said that the army was deployed to stop infiltration by terrorist / mujahideen across the LOC. However, when the local population thought it fit to assist these infiltrators with information and ground support, it was only natural that the local Kashmiris would also be targeted. In this scenario, human rights violations were bound to occur, but is the Indian Army solely to blame? Have not the locals contributed to this problem?

Further, please note that:

1. Shri Bharat Bhushan has not taken the trouble to explain why India should be ashamed of what is happening in Kashmir. Most likely he believes that the army is the root-cause of what ails Kashmir.

2. Shri Bharat Bhushan is obviously a 'Modi- baiter', if not a 'Modi hater', as the situation in Kashmir is both a political and a law and order and security one. Infiltration into the Valley has to be stopped, but if the locals are going to help, assist and support the terrorist / mujahideen, it definitely becomes a security issue. There are connotations of the problem having religious overtones as well.

3. I do not think Shri Bharat Bhushan is sufficiently conversant with the Hindutva philosophy to have suggested anything so outlandish. He gives no evidence to support such a claim. To my mind, the "Kashmir problem" is a political issue, with distinct religious, economic and security overtones.

My other observations are as under:

a) The total lack of infrastructure and industry resulting in a complete lack of opportunity and employment has caused massive frustration and despair. The huge amount of funding …….10 per cent of India's GDP…that was sunk into the Valley, every year, resulted not in development, but to bloat the coffers of the Valley's political spectrum, to be precise, the respective chief ministers who 'ruled the roost' at any given time. The government at the Centre for most of the last 70 years has been the Congress, which kept on funding Jammu & Kashmir, but without accountability. In spite of the tremendous drain on the Indian economy, no development worth the name took place in the Valley. Resultantly, the Valley remains poor with no future or hope for youth, causing frustration, misery, hunger and anger, fuelling the fire of support and encouragement to the mujahideen / infiltrators. Action by the security forces leads to strife, agitations, stone-pelting, curfew, more firing, deaths, burials, more strife ……….a classic catch 22 situation.

(b) Secondly, by collaborating with separatists, the Kashmiri's have to a large extent succumbed to making a primarily political issue into a religious one, in other words, a Hindu-Muslim issue …….. Pakistan and latterly, the ISIS have motivated the Kashmiri into fanaticism, which led to ……….The most horrible pogrom in Indian history; the hounding of three hundred and sixty thousand Kashmiri Pandits out of the Valley, in 1990. In 2008, there was terrible strife; the entire Muslim population of the Valley rose-up against the government's plans to resettle some of those Pandits in the Amaranth yatra region.

A "Hindu bias" has been prevalent in Kashmir always, as is evident from the following tale. In 1969 one of the boys of a well known and reputed Muslim family of Lucknow was engaged to be married to a Kashmiri Muslim girl, in Kashmir. We knew this family extremely well. My aunt and her daughter were also invited to join the baaraat. In Srinagar, they were taken to the residence of the bride to be, where they had the most amazing experience…..they were asked if they were Hindus? When they replied in the affirmative, they were asked as to why had they come? Did they not know that Hindus were not welcome in Kashmir? I do not know of any Muslims who may have visited Kashmir recently to know if an Indian Muslim is welcome in Kashmir, or not, but we Hindus were not, when my wife and I visited Kashmir 3 years ago. The locals made it very clear that we were accepted only under sufferance. The bearer / waiter who looked after us on the house boat we were staying on refused to speak to us either in Hindi, Hindustani, or Urdu, but only in English. The dislike for us was palpable and evident in every way where ever we went; we were tolerated only because we were tourists, keeping their economy alive.

The moot question is where do we go from here? The separatists want to separate from India ….as their name suggests ………and join Pakistan, whereas a large faction of Kashmiris wants 'azaadee' i.e. complete independence. There are some who wish to remain in India.

It is beyond my comprehension why the government of India tolerates the separatists. They have committed treason time and time again and deserve the penalty provided by law for treason against the state.

With regard to those who aspire for azaadee, perhaps a dialogue could be started with representatives of this group to a ascertain precisely what they want, more than from what they have now? The state of Jammu & Kashmir has its own Constitution and a duly elected government. No 'outsider' i.e. one who does not have a permanent resident certificate can buy property in the state; what more do they want? How would the economic situation change from what it is presently? Funding by government of India will stop, rations and food grains which are presently provided at highly subsidized rates, will also stop. How will land locked Kashmir survive, without industry and without jobs? Will the terrorists who come across the LOC stop burning schools and let the populace live in peace?

On the other hand, the government of India should undertake immediate heavy investments in Jammu & Kashmir, particularly in the Valley; industry, educational institutions of higher learning, technical institutes of all kinds etc. etc. so as to create proper infrastructure for learning and development, as well as creation of jobs. Undoubtedly, these measures shall take considerable time to bear fruit, but a beginning has to be made!

Last, but not least the infamous and reviled Article 370!! Various shades of opinion debate whether this article may, or may not be deleted, but ways must be found as the situation, both political and physical is quite different from the time when the accession to India took place on 27.10.1947. The demographics have altered considerably, by the vicious and coercive ideology of a small number of radical Islamists. The homogeneity of the various ethnic groups that comprised the Valley, is no more and Nehru's dream of perpetuating the Sufi culture typical of Kashmir literally went up in smoke when the homes of the Pandit community were looted and torched to ashes.

Burhan Wani. Mujahideen. A terrorist. He was shot and killed, as he richly deserved. 10,000 or more Kashmiri's attend his funeral. A terrorist became a martyr. Shaheedo ke Shaheed ! Mahaa strife, agitation, stone pelting, curfew. More stone pelting, firing by security forces, young men die, more anger, more agitations, more stone pelting, more curfew, more shooting, more youths die.............. 120 days of curfew. Countless dead. Because a terrorist was shot and killed. This is our wonderful Kashmir! On which India doles out 10 per cent of its GDP every year, year after year. With nothing to show for its generosity. No accountability. Where have the billions India has poured into Kashmir gone? Just vanished!! Kashmir remains as poor as Maharaja Hari Singh left it, without development, without jobs, without hope, without a future, but Islamist and radicalized. The Sufis have been replaced with fanatics. Terrorists and mujahideen are the new heroes. 27 schools have been burnt down, as Islam does not recognize any other form of education except madrassa education…………. Such is today's Kashmir, once a paradise!!!!

India vis-a-vis Kashmir is a 'soft state'. On the one hand it pours millions into the coffers of the J&K treasury, as well as provides highly subsidized rations and food grains, but on the other hand suffers every kind of insult, abuse and injury imaginable. What does Kashmir do for India except have the Indian Army abused and its brave-hearts killed? My humble plea to his Excellency, the Prime Minister of India and his government is to either to take immediate, bold, decisive action, or cut off the cancer and let it sink, or swim with whatever comes its way.

Read also: What ails Kashmir?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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