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Kashmir was never an issue. India moved on from Partition, but Pakistan couldn’t

In 'The Kashmir Conundrum', General N.C. Vij looks into the troubled history of Kashmir, and how Pakistan kept the pot boiling.

 

As far as India is concerned, J&K was never an issue. India’s view all along has been that after Partition happened in 1947, India has moved on and so should Pakistan. Pakistan, however, could not bring itself to see the reality, and for them, J&K has always remained an unfinished agenda of the Partition. As a result, in the seventy years after Partition, they fought four wars and unleashed a proxy war on India for thirty years. In the process, they have inflicted countless miseries on the people of the state. They have radicalised the people of Kashmir, the same people who were proud of their Sufi culture not too long ago.

For a Kashmiri, the ethnic aspect of being a Kashmiri is important, but there has also developed a strong and overriding Muslim aspiration. However, it may still be true that if a Kashmiri Muslim and a Kashmiri Pandit meet each other outside the Valley, they may hug each other. This is because being a Kashmiri takes precedence over being a Muslim or a Hindu. Yes, there is a political divergence, but ethnicity cannot be ignored. Similarly, when we talk of radicalisation, some people are of the view that there has been a political radicalisation in the Valley and not necessarily a religious radicalisation. They also feel that radicalisation in Kashmir is not a cause of the conflict but rather an outcome or an effect of it. Whichever way one may look at it, the fact is that the Islamist radicalisation in Kashmir is a major threat today. There should also be no doubt that radicalisation of the Kashmiri populace has come about because of Pakistan’s concerted efforts in this direction.

When one looks at various survey reports, it is obvious that the Kashmiris are being radicalised by the Wahabi, Barelvi, and Salafi ideologies. Perhaps this shift has also to do with how the global Islamist revolution is working. How does one otherwise explain the fact that just before he joined the militancy, Zakir Musa was an engineering student in Chandigarh, enjoying a secular life. He belonged to a prosperous family, with a father who was an engineer with the Public Works Department and a brother who was a doctor, both working with the government. And yet Musa became a staunch radical overnight. It is for scholars to study this aspect, but the fact is that fundamentalism in Islam has already acquired a central place and the entire world is trying to come to grips with it. The killings in Christchurch (New Zealand) on 20 March 2019 in two mosques are another example of how seriously the world is affected by Islamophobia. Kashmir is thus no exception.

India must therefore take all the necessary steps to curb this radicalisation so as to ensure that this menace does not spread to the rest of India, where the Muslims appreciably are quite moderate. The solution for this radicalisation/Islamisation can only be found through the wise political process, dialogue, and all-around development. There must be ample educational facilities and jobs available for the youth in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

And last but not the least, since they are India’s youth, even when misguided, we ought to have compassion for them. They have to be treated like family members who have gone astray. A feeling of security amongst Kashmiri students in mainland India must be ensured. They should be India’s ambassadors in Kashmir.

People of Kashmir Are India’s People 

The people of Kashmir are India’s people and it must make them feel that it is genuinely interested in their well-being, which in fact very much is a reality.

India should remember that Prime Minister Vajpayee won the hearts and minds of the Kashmiris when he said in Srinagar in 2003 that he would like to deal with the Kashmiri brethren with an approach of ‘Kashmiriyat, jamhooriyat and insaniyat’ (Kashmiriyat
denotes amity and cordiality, jamhooriyat denotes democracy and insaniyat denotes humanism).

The people of Kashmir are as much at the centre of the issue as is the geographical territory of Kashmir. They are the most affected by the situation and hence they are the most important players. Dialogues with representatives of the people of all shades and opinions in the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh must be commenced at various levels without any preconditions. It is important to instil a sense of belonging in the hearts of the people of the erstwhile state. India’s security forces also, when dealing with the Kashmiri people, have always kept this aspect uppermost in their minds. All the propaganda about human rights violations is the handiwork of the Pakistani deep state.

As a matter of fact, it is to the credit of India’s security forces that they have accepted casualties to themselves many a times just to avoid collateral damage. No country in the world takes as many precautions in this regard as does India. If the people realize this fact and cooperate, then gradually the security forces present in the Valley can be reduced.

22Dec 21/Wednesday                                                                                   Source: The Print

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