Indian media reports events in Kashmir these days, as if it is describing a cricket match, counting the death score every day. What is conspicuous is while the media reports the death score of the agitators, it is silent as far as the sufferings and death amongst the personnel in Kashmir police and Indian army are concerned. Further, the Indian media has not cared to ascertain the views of the people of Kashmir who are not part of the agitators. It is further noteworthy that there is no mention in the media about the attacks on Kashmiri pandits by the terrorists in recent times.
People defied poll boycott call from separatists:
There are around 13 million people in Jammu & Kashmir, of which around 7 million people live in Kashmir side. Around 97% of the people living in Kashmir are Muslims.
In the assembly poll conducted in 2014 in Kashmir, more than 65% of the people cast their votes, in spite of the vigorous campaign by the separatists asking the people to boycott the polls. This amply indicates that separatists do not represent the views of the people of Kashmir. It further highlights the fact that people of Kashmir have faith in Indian democratic set up and do not subscribe to the view of the separatists.
Proxy war and not separatist movement:
Recently, a member of the Kashmir cabinet pointed out that only less than 5% of people of Kashmir are involved in agitation, who indulge in violence and arson. With obvious support from across the border for the agitation and infiltration of the terrorists with arms and ammunition, the separatists have been attacking the police stations, army barracks and are fighting against the Indian army.
Obviously, it is a proxy war in Kashmir today by separatists who want to take Kashmir by force and who enjoy the support from terrorists and militants from abroad. The government of Pakistan has gone to the extent of extending open support to the terrorists, which only highlight the fact that the terrorists and separatists get their inspiration not from Kashmir but from elsewhere.
In any country, it is always possible for a small group of determined militants and agitators to paralyze the administration by their demonstrative methods and acts of arson. In a population of 6.9 million, it may just be possible for a few thousands of people to organize themselves to create scene of unrest.
While the agitators who are separatists hit the army men with grenades and stones and several army men get injured in the process, the army has no alternative other than retaliating to bring the situation under control and restore peace. In the melee, valuable lives have been lost on both the sides which is unfortunate and unavoidable. Of course, army has been criticized for using pellet bombs and the government of India has given instructions to the army not to use it anymore. While the army is asked to show restraint, the separatists go on with their militant activities.
Call the bluff of the separatists:
No government in the world can allow a small section of the people to take arms, disrupt peace in society and demand separate state, even as the separatists do not represent the large segment of population and majority of the people do not participate in such disruptive activities or extend support.
To restore peace in Kashmir, all that is required for Modi government is to call the bluff of the separatists.
A few years back, there was Khalistan movement in Punjab when separatists indulged in arson and killings. The police and army faced a situation similar to what the army is facing in Kashmir today. The then Indian Prime Minister Mr. P.V.Narasimha Rao ordered elections in Punjab, even when the terrorists were still in full cry. People in large number came forward to vote, defying the threat of terrorists and that was the end of Khalistan movement in Punjab.
Modi government has to think of some strategies where it can ensure that general public in Kashmir would be facilitated to express their view, which will certainly be in favor of peace, harmony and unity. Mr.P.V.Narasimha Rao was able to do this successfully in Punjab and this positive and confident move of Mr. Narasimha Rao resulted in calling the bluff of the terrorists and driving them away from the scene. Modi government has to work out some strategies on similar lines.
The stick for the militants and carrot for the peace loving citizens are the need of the day in Kashmir. The voice of wisdom in Kashmir should be heard and it is possible for Modi government to facilitate this, as cross section of citizens of Kashmir clearly see the ill-advised motives of the separatists.
It is not out of place to point out that it has been proved now that the separatist’s movement launched by the militant outfit LTTE in Sri Lanka was not the voice of the people.