The opposition political parties have been critical of the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir for terming the current situation in Kashmir as ‘Street Noise’[i] and have asked the state government to urge the Centre to resume dialogue with Pakistan.
It is indeed unfortunate that the present situation in the valley has been continuing over a month with as many as 55 people having been killed[ii]. The valley has seen similar agitation dynamics in 2008 and 2010 as well with much higher fatalities. The situation can be normalised by a synergised approach in which the National Conference, the Congress and the People’s Democratic Party need to work in close coordination.
The situation does need urgent introspection by all the stakeholderswho need to be engaged in a constructive and result-oriented dialogue process. As suggested by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the present situation demands application of balm on the wounds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The small proportion of population with separatist sentiments in the valley needs to be engaged. The entire state machinery has to start its work again in unison to win the hearts of people. As highlighted by the Chief Minister, the mounting cynicism in Kashmir over a period of time needs every confidence-building process to be followed up with sincerity of purpose[iii].Tangible confidence-building measures like initiation of sustainable economic development initiatives to tide over the trust-deficit is the need of the hour.
Pakistan which leaves no stone unturned to fuel the separatist sentiment in the valley through the Hurriyat has to be kept aside at the moment. It has no role what so ever to play in India’s internal affairs. The present situation of agitation in Kashmir valley is an internal problem of India, well within the law and order domain. It is being aptly handled by the state government and is showing improvement.
Though, long term peace in Kashmir does require revival of peace process with Pakistan under the framework of Shimla Pact and the Lahore Declaration; the present situation in the Kashmir valley is not ripe to commence the bilateral dialogue process.
Echoing the same sentiments, India demonstrated its high standards of politico-diplomatic skills during the recent SAARC interior ministers’ meet in Islamabad. Despite hostility in India-Pakistan rhetoric aimed at domestic politics in the two countries in the backdrop of the protests in Kashmir; the visit underlined the attempt to separate the SAARC ministerial from bilateral relations with the hosts. The Home Minister also ensured the SAARC protocol by not referring to specific countries while talking of states that equate ‘terrorists to martyrs’
[i] The Indian Express by Mir Ehsan | Srinagar Published: August 9, 2016
[ii] Express News Service | New Delhi/Jammu Updated: August 9, 2016
[iii] Express News Service | New Delhi/Jammu Updated: August 9, 2016