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Home / Editorials / A political hand in Kashmir

A political hand in Kashmir

Manoj Sinha will be judged on whether he can revive the political process

editorials Updated: Aug 07, 2020 06:13 IST
Hindustan Times
The Centre has appointed Manoj Sinha as the new constitutional head of Jammu and Kashmir
The Centre has appointed Manoj Sinha as the new constitutional head of Jammu and Kashmir(Hindustan Times)

In a surprise move — exactly a year after Parliament effected constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and just a little over nine months after he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) of India’s most
sensitive Union Territory — GC Murmu has resigned as L-G. The Centre has appointed Manoj Sinha as the new constitutional head of the UT.

Mr Sinha is a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician, a former minister, a leader rooted in the politics of Uttar Pradesh, and is understood to enjoy Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s confidence. The fact that a political figure has been sent to J&K is a positive sign, for the impasse in Kashmir is fundamentally political. Politicians often have deftness, agility, interpersonal skills, the ability to reconcile contradictions, and look for out-of-the-box solutions that bureaucrats lack, mired as they are in a lifetime’s training of following processes and rules.

But being a politician alone is not enough. Mr Sinha will have to understand the nuances of Kashmiri politics and society, the security scenario, and establish a cordial relationship with all stakeholders immediately. He must also reach out to mainstream political leaders, some of whom remain in detention, and bring them back into the political process; create a more democratic environment for civil society to function; and then, create conditions for elections. Mr Sinha will be judged on whether he can hold free and fair elections in J&K, ensure a return to normalcy with democratic rights, and maintain peace.

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