The editorial “Kashmir’s unsettled business” (March 14) on the terror attack in Srinagar which claimed the lives of five CRPF personnel calls for the lifting of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from Jammu and Kashmir. This only shows that some of us are dreaming of ideal solutions to a complicated issue. The truth which no one is willing to admit is that it is AFSPA that helps Omar Abdullah maintain a semblance of authority in Kashmir. His demand that it be lifted may be a ruse to pacify militants and may not be based on the security considerations of his government. Lifting of AFSPA will not help the government solve the Kashmir problem; it will only complicate the security situation. No matter how hard the Centre and the J&K government try, it is difficult to evolve a solution on Kashmir because Pakistan wants to keep the issue alive.
Repealing AFSPA will demoralise the armed forces fighting insurgency. It will give terrorists the upper hand. In fact, the armed forces should be empowered further to help tackle insurgency more effectively.
If the terrorists who struck on Wednesday were indeed from Pakistan, as claimed by the Union Home Secretary, the wisdom of erecting a barbed wire fence along the Line of Control at enormous cost to the exchequer and deploying the army with special powers in the State much against the wishes of the local people is questionable. The Leader of the Opposition who asked for 10 Pakistani heads recently should pressure the government to demand accountability from our own security forces.
The government should investigate the incident thoroughly and shame Pakistan with concrete evidence if indeed its nationals are involved. And the Opposition and the ruling party should speak in one voice at least in such matters.
Baikadi Suryanarayana Rao,
India is actually soft while dealing with militants, terrorists and Pakistan. In Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Kashmiris are in a minority now, as Islamabad has moved a large number of Punjabis and Pashtuns to the region. While fighting insurgents in Balochistan, Pakistan used helicopters. But New Delhi reacts to violence in Kashmir with minimum force. It is time for India to get tough with terrorists and their supporters.