Kashmir – Time for policy shift , not to bleed and weep.
The full blown crisis in Kashmir has not been averted but we are being shown that Government of India had been managed it from going out of Hand but if we try to see the realities on the ground we would be highly disappointed on the facts. Today again news came from some sections that CCS ( Cabinet committee on security) is going to sit to formulate a possible strategy to gradually cut down the special powers of army personnel in Kashmir by scaling down the famous AFSPA ( Armed forces special power act) . It seems the all party delegation in J&K has somehow has succumbed to the propaganda of Islamists and non performing Omar Abdullah government that the crisis in Kashmir in some way is related with special powers of Army. Before this all party delegation was designated for Kashmir visit one unilateral effort from cabinet was unable to move on as consensus was not being made on this issue as defense minister had to take care of Armed forces who are facing a war like situation in Kashmir with stone pelters targeting them and on other hand these stone pelters seems hand in glove with those groups who have vested interest in Kashmir for a long time. Due to this fuss cabinet had not been able to come to any conclusion and an all party delegation was designated to visit the J &K to assess the ground situation there. Now news are coming out that CCS will explore the options for gradual withdrawal of special powers of Army.
In this situation it is utmost important to analyze the whole scenario where army has been made scapegoat and no one has openly talked about the reasons which has paved the way for grim situation in Kashmir which has prevailed now.
There are few reasons which could be held responsible for Kashmir crisis.
First, attitude of Congress on J&K. Congress party is a party without ideology which believes in status quo and appeasement on various fronts to compromise everything to dissolve the problem and hanging it rather than solving it for the future generation. Since 1930’s when Congress was a mass movement its leadership has took an approach not to go in any solution which could be called as a solution without appeasing every party. The current situation in Kashmir should not be seen is isolation because Congress and its media management is trying to portray this problem merely as a law and order problem which is temporary phenomenon and could be dissolved for the time being with few cosmetic steps but the real fact which has not come forward yet is that Kashmir problem is a symptom which is going to be seen on larger scale in near future in few other forms.
Congress has never realized the fact that problem of J&K has historical roots and since independence we have repeatedly parroted that Kashmir is an integral part of our country but we have never tried to connect J&K with rest of the country before 1947. We have never been taught in our history that Kashmir has its integral nature with Indian because of its historical, cultural and spiritual connection. The last crisis which erupted in this troubled state few years ago in the name of Amarnath yatra and polarization took place on nationalistic and anti nationalistic line the congress party and media portrayed it on communal line. Those anti national elements that were burning tricolor national flags and chanting the slogans of Azadi had been treated with soft attitude and those who were marching with tricolor flags and chanting Bharat mata ki jai and Har Har Mahadev were treated as sponsored trouble makers as communal fringe.
The situation which has prevailed now in Kashmir has very much root with the agitation of Amarnath Yatra and attitude of Congress on that issue. Congress has never defined this country as cultural entity and always defined with the prism of British colonialists that this is federation of various small states with religious, ethnic, linguistic plurality which could be bind in one unit with political efforts and culture and spiritual factors are not relevant in national building effort on the contrary they are regressive factors which create chasm and rift among groups. Since 1947 Congress has always defined India in this term and lot of problems has not been solved due to this attitude.
Because of this attitude of Congress any movement for Hindu nationalism or cultural and spiritual integrity is being seen with suspicion from Congress and other political groups as well. The present situation indicates the dilemma of Congress and Kashmir crisis is part of that. Due to its apprehension for cultural and spiritual role in polity Congress has always treated Hindu nationalists as threat for plurality of India and last againtation on Amarnath Yatra was also defined with this syndrome and Congress made up its mind to stand firmly behind the separatists and gives full support to PDP. This was historical mistake which had been done by Congress and separatists cum Islamists emboldened with this attitude of Congress and have been able to divorce the cultural and spiritual integrity of J&K with rest of India and converting it in merely political problem. Separatists cum Islamists knows it very well that Indian state has put a precedent for future governments as well for Kashmir issue and had lost its leverage in Kashmir with rest of India. Beyond article 370 only cultural and spiritual connections is the only one leverage which becomes obstacle for separatist cum Islamists to separate Kashmir valley from India. On the other hand separatists cum Islamists had emboldened its efforts to enthuse Islamism with polity in Kashmir to mix it with flavor of Islamism to make it easily an issue for entire Ummah. Congress found it handicap in Kashmir issue where it has lost its leverage and totally helpless and depend on the mercy of separatists cum Islamists .
Attitude of Omar Abdullah – attitude of Omar Abdullah is highly responsible for creating a vacumn in political space by being so ambitious to play the both galleries of ruling party as well as opposition. Like typical Yasser Arafat style Omar Abdullah tried to play cards at the same time by keeping New Delhi in good humour with good relations with general secretary of Congress party Rahul Gandhi who always put him as a trump card as a face of secular nationalist Muslims and talking the lanaguase of nationalism as Kashmir being integral part of India and he is the sole custodian there to protect the interest of Indian state there. At the same time he tried to keep separatists cum Islamists in good humour with taking the stand of soft separatism as demands of autonomy and withdrawal of AFSPA etc. Omar Abdullah also tried to play the role of his grandfather Sheikh Abdullah and alienated the opposition PDP. PDP which had been for a long time playing in to the hands of separatists cum Islamists with demand of open border and joint currency openly joined with hurriyat and kept no hesitation in enthusing the Islamism with polity to repeat the intifada of Yasser Arafat of Palestine against Israel to make up this issue for entire Ummah as well international Islamic politics. This is the reason why suddenly those hurriyat leasers who had been sidelined during 2008 elections become so prominent that Islamists leaders like Syed Ali Shah Gilani dictate the terms in valley.
– situation in Afghanistan is also very much related with developments in J&K. president of US Barack Obama has declared his intentions of withdrawal of US armed forces from Afghanistan as early as possible in 2011 and this declaration has been taken by Pakistan and its Islamists and ISI allies as their chance for shift in their Kashmir policy. They want to exploit the US as much as they can on the cast of ensuring its dignified withdrawal from Afghanistan as well targeting Al queda and Taliban in its territory. US has been stuck in a situation where it was in 1980’s when it was fighting against Soviet Russia and was totally dependent on Pakistan for Jihad against Soviet army and during that period US done lot of favor to Pakistan for which even it had to pay the heavy price but US is again ready to repeat the same mistake by depending itself on Pakistan which is all set to exploit it for Kashmir. At the same time one point has not been put in perspective that role of China should also be considered in present Kashmir crisis.
Few weeks ago a leading news paper from US published a story that Pak occupied Kashmir in Gilgit and Baltistan had been filled with Chinese army PLA and lot of infrastructural work is going on in this reason from China. Indian took cognizance of this news and reacted sharply to this development which initially Pakistan denied and later on accepted the presence of Chinese PLA in Gilgit Baltistan. This new shift has also given a new dimension to the Kashmir issue and Chinese interest in South Asian region.
China has interest in Kashmir issue. First this is an underbelly for India and also an issue which hit most to Indian pride and stature as emerging power on world map. China has its design for the entire Asia and it also don’t want to confront US at this point of time in Asian region and for this reason it has applied a policy to target India to push its agenda of Asian hegemony. When president of US Barack Obama met his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiyabao few moths ago in Beijing they also discussed the Kashmir issue and Obama who is more constrained for economic crisis in his home constituency want to appease China at any cast and sensing the constrains of US president for economic and other engagements on Middle Eastern front China is pushing hard on its anti India platform to show India as a weak nation who is so much involved with its home grown problems that it has not the potential to become a super power and with this message China want to pursue US to abandon India and be part of China –Pakistan and Saudi Arab nexus. Although it is not possible for US to become member of this nexus but those reasons are not part of this article. US have its relations with Pakistan and Saudi Arab but both of them looking for new partners as wave of Islamism has made apprehensive to each other. US is shying away from problems and pulling back from various fronts rather than confronting it and it has created a vacuum in global politics which China want to exploit as early as possible.
The recent crisis in Kashmir is very much related with this assertive Chinese programme who knows very well that in this multi partner world it is not easy to attack or target any country directly as lot of stake holders has to take care before going into hostile atmosphere with any country and trade and economic relations are prominent among them. Few months ago when Indian foreign minister S M Krishna was almost snubbed and insulted by his Pakistani counterpart it was very much obvious that Pakistan is not going to be dictated by US alone and China has also become active partner with this rogue state in creating problems for India. In This present crisis of Kashmir this Chinese angle has not being considered with much importance as it deserves.
Where solution lies- The solution lies on two fronts. Ruling party must reverse its attitude towards Kashmir issue as well as seeing Indian problems as a whole and taking in to confidence the Hindu nationalist in coming to any solution to this problem as they are not the problem but they are part of solution and abrogation of article 370 should be seen in that perspective . We must regain our cultural and spiritual leverage in Kashmir which we have lost and emboldened the separatist cum Islamists there with defining the Kashmir as merely political problem.
Our leadership must show some courage and strength to have more leverage in Pakistan and China with implementation of resolution of parliament to make POK as part of our country and reversing our point of view on Tibet but all of them needs policy shift in our foreign policy as well as definition of nationalism. Are we ready for it? If not we should wait to be bleed and weep.
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