Does New Delhi want to continue with an endless cycle of violence or to do something about it. The measures like unilateral ceasefire and the dialogue can certainly make a difference. A political process geared towards finding a settlement will certainly deprive militancy of its raison det’re and address the public unrest.
After the mainstream camp headed by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called for a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir, groups of concerned citizens in Kashmir and across the country have issued a similar appeal. They have contended that the goodwill gesture “can bring down the levels of violence in Jammu and Kashmir and create space for genuine confidence-building measures and ultimately for resolution of the conflict peacefully through dialogue”. The group has also called upon the Joint Resistance Leadership to reciprocate “to a possible ceasefire announcement” with an open mind and use all its influence to ensure reciprocal ceasefire and end to protests.
However, the response from the BJP and the sections of the national media has been disappointing. The BJP despite being a ruling party and a part of the all party meeting that called for the ceasefire has gone back on it. The party has called for a continuation of the operation all out “to wipe out” the militancy.
Similarly, large sections of the national media have taken an antagonistic line against the truce, and more or less for the sake of it. There has been no critical discourse about the rationale for such a course of action. The line that has been plied is that a ceasefire will enable militant groups to “regroup, rearm and relaunch” the attacks on the security forces. Implicit in the argument is that the operation all out has somehow reigned in the militancy, which it hasn’t. On the contrary, the situation in Kashmir has progressively deteriorated since the Narendra Modi government took power.
The “muscular, militaristic approach” to the Valley as rightly pointed out by the former home minister P Chidambaram has brought Valley to the brink of disaster. He has described centre’s policy in Kashmir as an “undeclared internal war” and urged the CM Mehbooba to end “the farce” called PDP-BJP coalition as it is becoming a tragedy and lacks even “a shred of legitimacy.”
And this is absolutely true. As long as the BJP is in power in New Delhi, neither centre’s approach, nor the situation in Kashmir is likely to change. Militancy, as its trajectory over the past three decades has revealed, will hardly go away by killing militants -albeit it will go through its crests and troughs. A hundred or thereabouts number of militants can keep the situation in Kashmir on edge. And their killings can be easily replenished by the local recruitment and the infiltration. The cycle will go on endlessly.
It is here that an out of box thinking is needed. Does New Delhi want to continue with an endless cycle of violence or to do something about it. The measures like unilateral ceasefire and the dialogue can certainly make a difference. A political process geared towards finding a settlement will certainly deprive militancy of its raison det’re and address the public unrest. The regime in New Delhi needs to better heed the chorus for a ceasefire than go down the path of disaster as pointed out by Chidambaram who has emerged as one of the sanest voices on Kashmir in the country.