The missed opportunities, and the failures of successive governments at the Centre and the State of not recognising the sense of injustice felt by the Kashmiri people have been well brought out in SiddharthVaradarajan's article, “The only package Kashmir needs is justice” (Aug. 5). It has been written with boldness and a humane understanding of the problems and history of Kashmir. Justice has indeed been denied. Take, for instance, Patribhal: the notorious fake encounter of 2000, the kidnapping and killing of five Kashmiri civilians, and the charge-sheeted soldiers being vehemently protected by the Military Establishment. This is just one case which has come to light. There would have been numerous others unreported.
The advice given to the Prime Minister to accept the mistakes with humility and deliver justice, than mere rhetoric and show of strength, will help heal the wounds inflicted on the psyche of the Kashmiris for the last 62 years. The Prime Minister should take bold and innovative decisions and not the oft-repeated beaten track of denial and delay action.
We can't accuse mobs of spreading the mayhem in Kashmir because they are alienated, denied jobs and economic opportunities. How can they express their patriotism when they are ill-treated and abide in a sandwiched territory?
The article conveys the impression that justice has been denied to Kashmir since the day it was acceded to India. But the fact is that Kashmir enjoys a special status, which no other territory in India has, through Article 370 and that has lasted more than 60 years. Instead of reciprocating the special status and gestures that are made, the State is biting the hand that feeds it. Every State faces some discrimination or the other under the quasi-unitary Indian set-up, which is unavoidable. If we start justifying violence and allow a group to take law into its hands, India will be balkanised. The real solution lies in withdrawing all the special treatment. Doling our more under the pretext of a political solution will only exacerbate the problem.
The present unrest in Kashmir is the outcome of the misrule by the State government. Sending more troops at this juncture is tantamount to adding fuel to the fire and hence the only way forward is to dismiss the present government and listen to what the people have to say. A long-pending wish of the separatists is a referendum to determine their future.
R. Venkita Giri,
Keywords: Kashmir violence