By Dr. M A Ibrahimi, IAS, (R)
Despite concerted effort by centre and state government to bring peace in the region, Kashmir valley is still on the boil. The solution to the problem is as remote as it was before imposition of curfew nearly two month ago
The authorities say that it is only 5% of Kashmiri people who are creating trouble. This itself indicate apathy of the that authorities in handling the situation which has annoyed rest of 95% peace loving people otherwise how the curfew would prolong.
One important realisation by authorities is that use of lethal ammunition became counterproductive. Even use of pellette ammunition was criticised by several quarters. Now efforts are on to use chilli powder PAVA in grenade and tear gas guns. This will be useful in future.
The problem of Kashmir is not a new phenomenon. It has been there since accession of Kashmir with Indian Union. Since then there were Central governments of different political parties. Similarly different political parties were at the helm of affairs in J&K. Never effective steps were taken to win over confidence of Kashmiri people though Assembly elections are organised successfully. There people want more. Half hearted efforts used to be made to know sentiments of the people.
The previous UPA government appointed three members interlocutor group which held several meetings with all sections of society. It gave some useful recommendations. The reports are gathering dust in the office.
Earlier principle was also formulated to achieve goal of permanent solution: Kashmiriat, Insaniat and Jamhuriat. Even this principle was abandoned without achieving its objective.
Now, Kashmir is in turmoil and solution elusive. All authorities are now realizing mishandling of law and order in the valley.
The solution to the problem lies in changing mindset of authorities in dealing with hostilities of people of certain regions including North East.
Nobody should try to teach lessons to the people of any region. After all they also are Indian with some political resentment. With vibrant Constitution and rich cultural heritage of India it is the responsibility of people of rest of India to carry along even angry fellow citizens of some regions. Does it not happen in Indian family system?
For solving the problem all the authorities should believe in tactful handling of the agitation. They should also deal with people by showing big heart and showing genuine concern for their development. Action speaks louder than the words. Since start of agitation in the valley the statements of important authorities are also not in tune with the responsibilities they hold. Their utterance should help calm the environment.
Secondly everybody wants Kashmiri youth to hold computer, pen, books and cricket bat in his hands. This can be achieved if rest of India is sincere and can show magnanimity. Almost all adult youth of Kashmir should be appointed in massive way in government sector of Centre and all States. Here lies test of sincerity of authorities. If Kashmiri youth are employed through special drive there are many benefits.
If Kashmiri youth are doing job in rest of India then who will organise agitation in the valley. These youth will gradually appreciate living in pluralistic society in democracy in rest part of India. Their mindset will change. There is no need to create noise over payment of their salary.
There is huge expenditure on maintainance of law and order in Kashmir valley round the year. At the cost of one day expenditure on law and order in the valley the Kashmiri youth would get their job in rest of India. It would thus drastically reduce expenditure on law and order. Keep in mind that there is big poverty in Kashmir valley.
Thirdly, there is strong opinion among Muslims in India that Kashmir is an integral part of India. The concerned authorities of Centre and State should facilitate visit of Muslims from rest of India to Kashmir valley for interaction at various social and cultural fora. These Muslims would convey to Kashmiri people how Kashmir is an integral part of India and how their interests are more protected in India.
They would also convince that they should prefer to live in India as Muslims are living in rest of India. With this the concerned authorities would able to achieve lasting solution to the vexed Kashmir problem.