Stop the political games in Kashmir
What the state needs is deepening of democracy, not tactical, cynical political alliancesUpdated: Jul 09, 2018 17:52 IST
The political and security situation in Jammu and Kashmir is grim. Even though incidents of violence and killings may have considerably dipped from the 1990s, there is frequent unrest, taking the form of strikes and stone pelting, putting the security forces in a fix about proportionate response. Not responding could lead to anarchy; responding, to excess and violations and further alienation of the local populace. Already, local recruitment to militant groups has increased. The credibility of mainstream and national parties is under question. There is a rise of extremist sentiment. The gulf between Jammu and the valley has grown. It has been difficult to hold local elections. The space for moderates is squeezed as seen in the killing of Shujaat Bukhari. And, Pakistan remains a key spoiler, encouraging and abetting terrorism.
It is in this backdrop that the Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew support to the People’s Democratic Party-led Government in the state last month, leading to Governor’s Rule. Since then, there has been a major political churning underway in the state. The PDP appears to be falling apart, with rebels speaking out against Mehbooba Mufti. If on the one hand, there are reports of a possible Congress alliance with Mufti, on the other, there are indications that the BJP is toying with the idea of forming a government with PDP rebels and smaller outfits such as the one led by Sajjad Lone. It is not clear if this has top-level sanction of the party in Delhi or is an attempt by local leadership.
Either way, Kashmir does not need opportunistic political alignments that can lead to more instability, polarisation, alienation and violence. For now, in the short term, given the arithmetic in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly and the general security situation on the ground, Governor’s Rule may be the most advisable course. At the same time, the state must eventually allow the democratic process run its course. What Kashmir needs is deepening of democracy, not tactical, cynical political alliances.
First Published: Jul 09, 2018 17:52 IST