Start talks, end curfew: 5 things needed for Kashmir peace

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 24, 2016 12:48 IST
Paramilitary soldiers guard during curfew in Srinagar on Sunday, August 21. (AP)

Home minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday begins a two-day visit to review the situation in Kashmir Valley, where 67 people have died and thousands injured in seven weeks of protests.

Many parts of the Valley are under curfew even after 46 days and there is a growing demand to end the cycle of violence and break the stalemate.

Here are five things the government can do to bring calm to the strife-torn Valley:

1. First and foremost, the government should take steps to initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders. While Rajnath Singh met political leaders during his earlier Kashmir visit, he needs to talk to civil society groups and even the separatists. The absence of dialogue with all stakeholders has been identified as the biggest impediment to normalising the situation in the Valley.

2. Weeks of curfew have restricted movement and added to anger. Steps should be taken to lift the curfew in a phased manner. Restrictions have made it difficult for people to procure their daily needs, students are suffering too and businesses, especially those connected to tourism, have taken a big hit.

READ: PM’s Kashmir remarks put J-K opposition one up on CM Mehbooba

3. An all-party delegation should be allowed to visit Kashmir and talk to everyone, even those with different shades of opinion. In 2012, home minister P Chidambaram led such a delegation to the Valley and it helped defuse the tension arising out of clashes between stone-pelters and security forces. An all-party delegation while conveying the concerns of the entire country will also help reduce the sense of alienation in the Valley.

4. ‎Immediate medical help to the injured including those who have hurt their eyes would be a good confidence-building measure. Though the Centre was prompt in sending a team of eye-specialists to Kashmir, the numbers of injured have rose dramatically over the weeks. The Valley doesn’t have the infrastructure for so many serious cases, the Centre should step in to ease the burden.

5. The state government should ‎start implementing the agenda of alliance that the PDP and the BJP had agreed to before joining hands. The state government has been criticised for failing to create jobs and providing aid to the flood hit.

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