The Kashmir interlocutors' report too had advocated much greater devolution of powers to the grassroots but now this process seems to have been subverted. It is a shame that administrative lapses in a period of relative calm have resulted in a vacuum which the militants have seized once again. There were several things which were going right in recent months. The main one was Pakistan's inability to fan the flames thanks to internal disturbances and pressure from the US.
In the light of all these, the Centre and the state government could have made several strides towards instilling some faith in the people that they have everything to gain from a stake in the Indian growth story and also assuring them of protection from militants. Kashmir has a disproportionate number of security forces and surely protecting the sarpanches should have been a priority. After the threats of violence against the sarpanches, the CM's challenge to militants that they should target him is meaningless. The CM has been guarded about the recommendations of the interlocutors. Though there was much criticism of the efforts of the interlocutors, they did meet a cross-section of people and have come out with some worthwhile recommendations about greater autonomy and devolution of powers among other things. The government should have acted on the report, or at least parts of it. But now a dangerous drift has set in once again. It is still not too late to act and stem this. The circumstances have never been so favourable as in recent times and the people never more hopeful of peace, howsoever tenuous.