Kashmir: Where is the option to normalcy? Governor’s view dashes all hopes

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik in an interview to the Hindustan Times published on Friday has totally ruled out any dialogue with the mainstream political parties of Kashmir

Photo courtesy: IANS
Photo courtesy: IANS

Nitya Chakraborty/IPA

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik in an interview to the Hindustan Times published on Friday has totally ruled out any dialogue with the mainstream political parties of Kashmir for bringing about an early solution of the lockdown in the valley which began on August 5. Malik said there will be no dialogue with the mainstream political parties or the separatists. He elaborated his approach by saying political dialogue is important but ‘we would engage with the Kashmiri civil society’. The interview is full of scorn and banter against the mainstream leaders like Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah and the impression has been given that the Government will look for the chosen people in Kashmir for a political dialogue ignoring the mainstream political parties.

Malik must be projecting the views of the central government. By holding such views, one wonders how it is possible to restore the normalcy in the valley. The Governor, it seems, is living in a make believe world. He says that the centre will provide 50,000 jobs and millions of people will queue for these. This type of attitude to Kashmiri youth is something unthinkable. How, in such a delicate situation when the mainstream India has to deal with the Kashmiri youth who are already in an agitated state of mind following lockdown, can the Governor who is the head of the state now, talk in such a manner vilifying the dignity of the Kashmiri youth?

If this is the centre’s approach, the lockdown will continue and the Modi government will be left with little workable option. The Government and major sections of national media are talking about great diplomatic victory at the United Nations and among the Security Council members but this euphoria will be vanished if the lockdown continues and there is no breakthrough in restoring normal political process. The same countries who are supporting India now, will take a different position after some time if the internal situation in the valley continues to be abnormal and the paralysis of day to day activities continues.

Already, the US foreign department has changed its tone by expressing concern at the detentions and restrictions in J and K and hoping that the valley will soon return to normal political status as committed by the Indian Prime Minister. The international media are reporting the lockdown situation on day to day basis and the UN member countries are also monitoring the situation. They are friends with India as of now but they will like India to restore normal political condition in J and K by releasing the political prisoners and restoring press freedom.

For India, the meeting of the general assembly of the United Nations and the address of both Indian and the Pakistan Prime Ministers at UN assembly in the last week of September will be very important. Pakistan will try to make best use of the UN assembly meet to project its view and influence the member countries of the UN assembly as also the Security Council members. India Government has to really do some positive actions in the intervening period so that the Pakistan propaganda machinery can not take advantage of the continuing lockdown situation in the valley.

Nobody is suggesting that the situation in the valley can be restored easily since there is a long history of turmoil and the Pakistani agents have always been active in promoting insurgency. But right now, it is a new situation which has no parallel. The people who have all along kept flying the Indian tricolour flag in the valley defying all threats, have been put in jail. Governor says that he will talk to the people of Kashmir and not to the political leaders of the mainstream parties. Who are these people with whom the Governor will be talking? The mainstream has been vilified and their support base is being taken over by the anti-India elements.

Any sensible political strategy in such a delicate situation in J and K suggests that maximum efforts have to be given to isolate the extremists from the mainstream. The centre’s latest action by scrapping Article 370 and Article 35 only gave added strength to the separatists. They are now telling the mainstream pro India elements – We told you so – Indian Government is against Kashmiri muslims. The fact is that no normalcy is possible in Kashmir without involving the mainstream political parties. The time is short. Some progress has to be achieved by the Centre in facilitating the process of normalisation before PM goes to New York and addresses the UN General Assembly. Even some baby steps will be welcome, but that will need a major change in the present mind set of the centre.

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