It was supposed to be a new world that Lord Mountbatten traversed in those last months of 1947 as British India’s last viceroy. The
Indian subcontinent, so long the jewel in Great Britain’s imperial crown, had been born anew and transformed into two sovereign states. And yet, as he made his way from Delhi to Karachi, it must have occurred to Mountbatten how little things had actually
changed. Decades of nationalist struggle, two world wars, a formal transfer of power and millions of deaths later, he still had to mediate between the leaders of the new subcontinent. They were still grappling with – and fighting over – a number
of unanswered questions. Perched on the very top of those questions was the one of Kashmir.
For the most part, Kashmir has been known to people through state representations. This is true for Kashmir’s history
and perhaps equally so for the policies of the two states towards it. Both Islamabad and New Delhi ceaselessly try to expunge from public imagination anything that questions, albeit remotely, their official narratives on Kashmir even when the two narratives
sometimes are as divergent from truth as they are from each other.
Alas, because of this dispute between the two nations, Jammu and
Kashmir has been long a breeding ground of separatist ambitions. It has been wrecked by the insurgency since 1989. Although the failure of governance and democracy lay at the root of the initial disaffection, Pakistan played an important role in
converting the latter into a fully developed insurgency. Some insurgent groups in Kashmir support the complete independence, whereas others seek accession to Pakistan.
Funerals of slain militants, which customarily attract a mammoth gathering of slogan-shouting and stone-pelting protestors, have glorified death at the hands of state. The presence of active militants at the funerals, where they
give so-called gun salutes to their slain comrades, has particularly unnerved the security forces as such an unrestrained interaction is one of the key contributing factors facilitating recruitment into insurgency, besides increasing Islamist radicalization
and religious indoctrination.
Though there is no single silver bullet which works in all counter-insurgency situations, however, as
argued by Kilcullen in a book, the golden principle remains the same: ‘A defection is better than surrender; surrender is better than a capture, and a capture is better than a kill.” Realizing the ineffectiveness of ‘killing strategy’,
the Modi government recently came out with a brilliant proposal by revoking the Article 370, which granted special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, moving ahead with its plan to fundamentally change J&K’s relation to India.
Article 370: The end to all suffering
“Ever since Article 370 was abrogated on August 5, the Valley has been by and large peaceful apart from certain stray incidents of stone-pelting. The situation in valley is under control, there has been significant
improvement in all the violence parameters in Kashmir,” Lt Gen Singh told reporters.
“There has been reduction in terrorist
initiated incidents and in the protests that were carried out by the people or the large number of crowds coming out,” he added.
abrogation of Article 370 would pave the way for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, so far leading lives of second class citizens, to join the mainstream of the nation. After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, people of Kashmir will get education and job
which will thwart these self-proclaimed religious leaders from brainwashing them and furthering their agenda of making Kashmir an independent state. Pakistan’s reaction has been predictably dismissive to this renewed vigour in India’s pursuit
Most recently, in occupied Kashmir, The JKLF called for strikes on Feb. 9 and Feb. 11 to observe the anniversary of the
death of Afzal Guru, and then that of its founder Maqbool Butt. Although a partial shutdown was observed to mark the 36th martyrdom anniversary of Muhammad Maqbool Butt, however, normal life continued to function in the Kashmir Valley. The Indian authorities
were careful in imposing restrictions to prevent anti-India protests and to see to it that law and order is maintained. Most of the shops and business establishments remained open in Srinagar and other parts of the territory while traffic was seen to be normal
on the road. Also restoration of internet services could bring some semblance of normalcy to the region.
There are indications that the two-decade-old jihadist movement against India in Jammu & Kashmir state is entering its
last days. A decline in the militancy in Kashmir had begun after the 9/11 attacks, following which the jihadist-minded terrorist organizations everywhere lost legitimacy, including in Kashmir.
From various Indian media reports, one can observe signs of positive developments in Kashmir valley.
Post abrogation of article 370 and with militant attacks significantly down, Jammu and Kashmir – known as paradise on earth in popular imagination – is attracting tourists again.
The place has witnessed a 50 percent decline in militancy in the valley but the enemies of peace, who don’t want people to live in peace, are still alive… There has been
considerable improvement in the law and order situation in Kashmir during the current year and the authorities are trying hard to maintain peace in cooperation with the public.
What should be the approach