The Big Picture: Home Minister In Kashmir: Where Does the Solution Lie?
The Kashmir Valley has been under continued curfew for last one and a half months now. The latest round of problems began with the killing of Burhan Vani, young commander of Hizbul Mujahideen and has continued unabated since then. Hundreds of people including civilians and security forces have lost their life. The Prime Minister’s concern and pain over the violence shows that there is a clear effort from the government’s side to restore normalcy in the valley. Taking cognizance of recent happenings, Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh visited Kashmir and said that the government was willing to engage into dialogue with everyone within the ambit of Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jumhooriyat.
What should be the mission?
- The immediate concern for both Central and State Governments should be to create preconditions for ending curfew and initiate a political dialogue with all the stake holders. It is much needed now that the freedom of movement is restored in the valley and they start living their normal lives.
- There is hatred among young people in Kashmir. The people in the valley who have taken to streets in past few cases are mostly students. There are larger issues of unemployment, economic development and poverty which have to be addressed here.
- Another major issue is the use of pellet guns by the security forces. There have been a significant number of pellet injuries among people and the results so far have been outrageous and provocative. It has failed to stop people from pelting stones at symbols of government authority. Government needs to look into gentler methods of crowd control.
- The turmoil in last 45 days has badly affected tourism, local shops and trade. The government needs to reach out and provide economic relief to these people for gaining their trust.
What should be the approach of Government?
- It is being suggested by many people that the government should go for the dialogue process without any precondition. It has been said that the Home Minister was willing to meet people within the framework of Constitution. If this precondition is removed, then the government might be successful in bringing the Separatists and other parties on the table as well.
- Social media has a great impact on youth. The government can aim to reach out to the angry young students on this platform as well.
- The development and dialogue process should go together. Simply providing assurance to people is not going to help. The repeal of AFSPA, reduction of troops and providing economic support to people are some steps that might help.
As far as the dialogue process is concerned, this is the appropriate time when the visit has been made by the Home Minister because it is most important to douse the flames when the house is on fire.