This is not the first time Prashant Bhushan has expressed his controversial views on the Army's presence in Jammu and Kashmir. Such comments will only help separatist leaders in the Valley and in Pakistan. The Indian Army is doing a great job in the Valley. Thanks to these efforts,peace has been made possible.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar,
Bagrakote, West BengalIt will not be too illogical to refer the Kashmir issue to a referendum. Prashant Bhushan is right in his own way to suggest recourse to this means. Constant surveillance by our armed forces in the border areas always gives the appearance of a war-like situation. People there are on the brink of near-emotional collapse. The AFSPA can therefore be suitably amended, and not repealed, so that it does not bestow undue privileges on them. This midway effort will keep both the Army and the people in good humour.
I agree with Asma Khan Lone (‘Mapping the Kashmir trajectory’, Jan. 10) on the strong desire of Kashmiris to hold on to ‘Kashmiriyat’. But at what cost? The Pandits are gone from the State. The natives’ problems range from socio-economic to cultural and political ones. People there live one day at a time, not knowing when there would be curfew imposed or shells start dropping on their roofs. Section 370, more then helping the State, has alienated it from rest of the country. It is time we created the next opportunity to solve the long-pending crisis rather then wait for a solution to emerge on its own. Regarding socio-cultural uniqueness, all one can say is that Marathis, Bengalis, Gujaratis and people from all other communities have done a rather good job by retaining their unique identity while strengthening the Constitution of India.
Asma Khan Lone’s pointing out the opportunities missed by India to reconcile with Kashmiris may be a wake-up call for the Indian state. Kashmiris have been suffering over the decades due to the “tug of war” which continues among various parties trying to decide the fate of the people of the Valley. India should make all efforts to ameliorate their plight.
For starters, it would be wise for the stakeholders in Kashmir’s egalitarian political elite to define what “freedom” means and to communicate it to the masses in the Valley, and to the larger country called India. If it means to have it be a part of India as any other State, then J&K should be viewed by the Centre just as it views any other State. That would be the best way to look at it from the perspective of peace in the Valley.
It was interesting to note the reference to the Central government as “India”, which suggests that, if the article represents the real people of Kashmir, it does not augur well for Indian national interest. It would be better for the JKLF and other political parties in Kashmir to concede minor interests on their behalf, such as promising full allegiance with the Central government and the State government and reconsidering Article 370, in a suitable time frame, in return for concessions such as repeal of the AFSPA and participative governance and development process from the governments.
These forces should come forward and participate in the democratic process, which will benefit people in the Valley.