Wednesday, May 22, 2019
 News Details
Pulwama Carnage - Reinforcement of the resolve

B L Saraf

The deadly terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama which resulted in the martyrdom of fifty brave hearts of the Force has , understandably ,caused a huge national outrage . Perpetrated on the ground by local lackeys , the dastardly act was orchestrated by Jaish –e - Mohamed ( J e M ) masters sitting in Pakistan .The gruesome tragedy , as said by P M Modi , raged fire in him and hearts of the countrymen .

Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the Army has a free hand to respond appropriately to the attack , at the time and place of its choosing . This despicable terrorist act has united India in grief . We see reinforcement of national resolve to combat terrorism and ensure that perpetrators of the crime are adequately punished . A political truce is visible . It must continue : bipartisan approach is required to tackle the menace . Some of the measures initiated by the government have started to unfold . M FN status granted to Pakistan has been revoked . Diplomatic channels have been activated to name and shame Pakistan at the world stage .

The Nation has great faith in capabilities and morale of its Armed forces . They will surely respond in appropriate measure . At the same time nation too has to discharge its responsibility . It is time to stand by the government : no act- intentional or otherwise -should be done which will disturb peace and distract attention from the main task of bringing perpetrators of Pulwama carnage to justice . The reports of Kashmiri students facing harassment following this terror attack are really unfortunate . The fact must be emphasized that what binds Kashmir to India is not a military force but a commonality of basic ideas which get strengthened by voluntary movement of people from J & K to other parts of the country . Whoever says that Kashmiris should be boycotted is facilitating enemy’s job .

We are in critical times . In Hague before the ICJ , India is arguing for the release of Kulbhushan Yadav who stands incarcerated, in Pakistan , on a trumpeted charge of sabotage . India’s argument is based on the apparent absurdity of Pakistan military judicial process and dubious nature of its laws which have condemned Yadav to death . It will be foolhardy and detrimental to the interests of Kulbhushan if we are seen competing in absurdities with Pakistan . India , in contrast to Pakistan , is known for its Constitutionalism and belief in Constitutional morality . We can’t afford sullying this image .

Kashmir is in flux . Terrorism has hit it badly . This is a two dimensional problem .One is external where Pakistan’s state lends support to cross –border terrorism . This could be tackled by employing military and diplomatic means . There is internal dimension which depends upon the relationship between the Central Government and the people of Kashmir . A mutual engagement based on regard for the respective sensitivities is must for addressing this dimension . Particularly so ,when many fault lines stand activated which may further worsen the security scenario .

When Narrandra Modi led NDA government took charge in Delhi , in May 2014 , Srinagar had an elected government in place . The December, 2014 state Assembly ushered in a new coalition government headed by late Mufti Sayeed - of which the BJP was an important constituent . Central NDA government is completing the term and J & K doesn’t have an elected government . We seem to be back to the period of 1990 when , for years together , we didn’t have an elected government in the State . The situation is so developing that when Narendra Modi will go to the polls in May 2019 for a fresh mandate we won’t be having a people’s government in J &K . Electoral politics has nosedived since 2015 . It had gradually picked up since 1996 when it got resumed after a long pause . In 2008 and 2014 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections voting percentage did reach a healthy proportion . But it touched abysmally low in 2017 Srinagar by –poll .

In such a situation people will ask questions how come the conditions have so deteriorated that even political forces don’t find it physically safe to contest the elections, when till 2014 they would voluntarily plunge in the fray . True , election process is integral to the democratic form of governance . So it has to be gone through at regular intervals . But it is a travesty of sorts that Policy planners in New Delhi have sought to show case it as a sole sign of stability in the state . Kashmir has demonstrated that elections have failed to satisfy the ‘ normalcy logic .’

Nation’s cause won’t be served it mainstream political formations in the Valley get squeezed out . Marginalization of mainstream politics would mean giving away to the terrorists whatever little space these parties occupied in the political arena of J & K . It is bad politics to taunt the mainstream politician in Valley of being beneficiaries of ‘ farcical elections .” Reference is made to low turnout in the last by- election of Srinagar Lok Sabah constituency . The repeated use of term ‘ farcical election ‘ by any one claiming to be a ‘nationalist’ would only gladden hearts of Pakistan and its apologists in the Valley . This is the term they have coined to deride the whole election process played out in Kashmir . The ‘ nationalists ‘must care to know that that election to the lok sabha is not held to elect a specific person but to constitute the lower house of parliament of India . The “ farcical election “ idiom repeated ad nauseam by the ‘ nationalist ‘ will only discredit Indian election process . By all means ,throw mud on your political opponents but don’t throw baby out with the bath water .

While arguing that local mainstream politics must have a space ,there is a concomitant requirement on their part to play role in restoration of peace in the state . Both N C and the PDP must not buckle under the pressure of terrorists . One must tell NC and PDP leaders that by running down security force’s effort to restore peace in The Valley they are doing no good to their credentials required to govern J &K . This attitude has disappointed many peace loving people in the state , besides portraying them as spineless political entities .

In the aftermath of this outrage , government has withdrawn state security cover provided to the separatists leaders . In an atmosphere of heightened emotions this may tend to be a fair decision . But it won’t serve a desired purpose . We assume that once emotions subside a judicious view is taken in the matter .Some of them need to be protected by the state . We cannot afford re -creation of the murky scene that unfolded on the assassination of Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq , in may 1990 . These leaders have in the past acted as a buffer between state government and the armed young insurgents . It must be recalled that some of them had exercised a cooling effect during Amarnath land agitation and post Burhan Wani uprising .

For Governor Malik the moment has arrived . He must advise Delhi to revisit the Kashmir policy followed so far – if it had one : start interaction with the stake holders and try to get as many of them on board as will be helpful to repair the state’s damaged social and political fabric . Situation calls for a serious introspection at all levels . In Kashmir we need a benign touch. .

(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )

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