Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier said that a solution to the Kashmir problem would be found soon and that no force on Earth can stop the Valley from becoming a heaven again.
The political observers might be a tad surprised by his statements. The present situation is such that those carefully observing the words and actions of the Home Minister, who is on a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, couldn’t expect anything that provides hope even in distant future. When he brags about making the Valley a ‘jannah’, the sensible lot could only have a laugh. This is because, on one hand, terrorist activities are escalating with the soldiers and police losing their lives every day for the past several days. On the other hand, alienation of the civilian society in Kashmir is nearing a completion. The question whether the Minister has any clear-cut agenda in hand for resolving the issue, is what is important. Although Singh reiterates that he has come to the Valley with an ‘open mind’ for resolving the issue, it’s clear that he is not willing to interact with the political allies or Hurriyat Conference leaders who oppose the government. That’s the reason why the Hurriyat leaders such as Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik were arrested even before Rajnath Singh landed in Srinagar. These leaders meanwhile, had called for a shutdown in Kashmir in order to prove the support of the people, they had. The latest developments underline that things haven’t changed a bit. As promised in the proclaimed agenda of the BJP-PDP alliance, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is firm in her stance that there was no other way but talks with all those concerned for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. However, instead of productive steps in that regard, inane moves to conceal the crucial issues that fan the Kashmir crisis as an ever-raging issue by holding discussions with the police and military chiefs as well as with several business and social organisations, are what visibly took place as well as behind the curtain.
It could be comprehended from the new moves of the Home Ministry that the Modi government is still aiming to implement the stubborn stance of the Hindutwa powers that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through force and not by politically resolving it. It was after addressing the military and police chiefs in Anantnag town and praising their supreme sacrifices that the Minister spoke about the Centre’s agenda of making Kashmir a paradise. Other than that, what strategy or solution does the NDA government have to present before the people and all the political parties for the resolution of the problem? No satisfying answer could be found for the question whether the Modi government would be willing to resume the stalled India-Pak dialogue or undertake positive moves that could ease the tension along the border like Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and opposition parties, demand. It’s not the development of the region or the Centre’s special package that are the key problems before the Kashmiris. There are certain issues they raise related to autonomy since achieving independence.
Instead of considering their demands in that regard, the central government had until recently contemplated on dropping the special status for the state envisaged in the Constitution. Turning a blind eye towards the stark reality of the Valley by claiming that the only reason for Kashmir turning more volatile was the interference from across the border, is what makes the issues more complex. Rajnath Singh claims that of the Rs 80, 068 crore development package announced by the Prime Minister, 78 per cent has been sanctioned. It’s the Modi government itself that has to find the answer as to why it still can’t win the hearts of the Kashmiris despite spending Rs 62, 599 crores. Another interesting fact is that the Congress team led by Dr Manmohan Singh have already reached Jammu to study the issue. It seems that a party which led the nation for almost half a century after independence and ruled the state for several years haven’t so far understood the crux of the Kashmir issue. As long as the political parties are reluctant to abandon such acts of fraudulence, Kashmir will continue to burn like a ‘hell’.