Wednesday, December 19, 2018
 News Details
J&K: Way ahead

By B L Saraf

By way of mid-term appraisal of his governance, PM Narendra Modi has just reshuffled the Cabinet. Merit of the exercise apart, Cabinet changes are a routine affair, used as a device for ensuring administrative efficiency and effective political management required for better election results. We are given to understand that changes in the Cabinet were, partly, based on performance and, in part, aimed at 2019 Lok Sabha elections : that indolence has been punished and efficiency appreciated. It is good to see accountability catching up with the persons perched at the top. As it is with a commercial enterprise so with the Government, it is better to have a periodic stock taking of what has been achieved , so far , and what are the shortcomings.

We trust PM Modi has had J&K in the mind while stock taking exercise was on. It bodes well for the State. In this connection, a development that is underway in the Valley needs to be taken note of. In Kashmir summer 2017- completing the seasonal cycle – has been merciful, thus far, as against that of 2016. True, bloodletting has not stopped significantly but there are signs, albeit feeble, that sanity is returning to the scene. Though not closely related to each other, yet seen in a perspective these developments carry a meaning which should gladden heart of the optimist that peace and tranquility are on way to J& K.
Usually, matters set out themselves for the governance and targets get routinely fixed. Performance of the incumbent minister is judged on these parameters. But when a country is faced with unusual situations, unusual targets need to be set. In order to have some success on the front extraordinary measures ought to be, first, in contemplation and then put in execution.

J&K has created an unusual situation for the country which, despite serious efforts undertaken by successive Governments, has refused to be normal. From Narasimha Rao’s Burkina Faso resolution that “Sky is the limit” to AB Vajpayee’s Srinagar Airport’s ” Insaniyat ke daire mein… “pious declaration, nothing has worked to straighten up affairs in Srinagar .

Innovative approach is required to sort out the Kashmir problem. PM Modi is best person to adopt one. Given the festering nature of the problem and the drain it has been on men and material resources of the nation, it is time that ‘K’ issue is marked as a target by the GOI, to be achieved over a period of time. The complexity involved here requires that the job is entrusted to the Empowered Group of Ministers, for the delivery . We understand that it is a tough task, therefore. Progress can be measured only in inches. That one inch could be taken as a mile to be credited to the person who has managed it to happen. Similarly, failure to proceed on even by a centimeter should entail adverse comment for that person. Time will not be far away when electors, across the country, will start asking the vote seeking candidates to account for the continuing miseries in J &K. After all it their near and dear ones who shed blood in streets of the Valley. Emotive slogans, bereft of real action on the spot, will not satisfy them, any more.

We witness some action on the ground. NIA is going after the separatists who are alleged to be involved in Hawala transactions and use of unaccounted money to stoke fire of separatism in the Valley . It is a normal investigative process mandated by criminal law. Security forces are sorting out armed militants in the way they need to be. No doubt, these are hard actions but are necessary to soften stubborn over ground elements and the gun wielding demented young, operating underground. But these hard actions have their limitations. They can work only up to a point. Thereafter they turn counterproductive. So, in follow up a new strategy is required to wrap up the things.

We have reason to believe that GOI is contemplating a softer approach once the NIA and the Security forces have done their job; or, may be simultaneously. PM Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech where he called for ” Galle lagane ka ” approach to solve’ K’ issue could be a pointer. This statement has gone down well with a significant section of Kashmir civil society. After all, for so many peace loving residents of the State the ordeal has been no less harsh. Many are uprooted. They are in need of safe rehabilitation. Sentiments are bruised. So, before insisting on total amalgamation of the State it is desirable, first, to ensure people’s emotional integration with the mainland.

Peace in Kashmir is always in short supply. It arrives with an expiry date. So, make investment while the Sun shines. Who knows which of the many underlying fault lines gets activated well before the expiry date and we are back to square one.

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

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(The author is former Principal District & Sessions Judge)
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