Had the reported decision to divert land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board for the yatra period, taken after talks between Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra and the Yartra Sangharsh Samiti, been taken earlier, the killings and damage to public property could have been avoided. But one wonders whether the solution will be acceptable to those who are demanding azadi. Can the Centre, which played the role of a silent spectator to the episode, handle them? A failure on its part would lead to a serious threat to the unity and integrity of the nation.
Mohd. Tauseef Hussain,
The article “BJP on J&K: reversing its own legacy” (Aug. 25) exposes the BJP’s agenda in the State. In recent times, L.K. Advani, Prime Minister-in-waiting, has been seen by the minorities as having shed his political prejudice. Unfortunately, ever since the Shrine Board row escalated, he and his party moved swiftly to exploit it. History bears testimony to the fact that religious matters can be sorted out only by negotiations, mediation and mutual trust. The Shrine Board issue can be resolved if civil society institutions are roped in and political parties kept out.
It is only through concrete confidence-building measures that the Indian polity can assure the Kashmiri brothers that they are as important to us as their land is.
The ongoing turmoil in J&K should be handled with utmost care and caution. The Congress’ bungling of the Kashmir issue is well known. The BJP should stop creating a communal feud between the people of Jammu and the Kashmir Valley. Political parties across the spectrum should rise above narrow considerations to find a lasting solution to this vexed problem, which can threaten India’s territorial integrity.
Sibani Sankar Samantary,
Although the instrument of accession signed by the erstwhile ruler of J&K provided the legal basis to India’s claim over the State, it is clear that the people of the State did not emotionally integrate with India. We have been paying a heavy price to retain J&K. Funds badly required to alleviate poverty and other miseries have been diverted to strengthening the military, necessitated by the hostility between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir question. Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary solutions. It is necessary to go beyond the Constitution to find a just solution acceptable to all.
The article “Need to rethink our Kashmir policy” (Aug. 22) deserves commendation. It must be admitted that all our policies on Kashmir since independence have failed in bringing Kashmiris into the mainstream. Any anxiety or haste while dealing with the issue may prove to be disastrous in the long run not only for Kashmir but also for the rest of India. As the article argues, it is important to deal with Kashmiri sentiments with more patience and sophistication.
The problem in Kashmir continues to drag with all parties doing their bit to add fuel to the fire. For the first time, I am coming across a view that Kashmiris should be allowed to decide their own destiny. From the prevalent mood in the Valley, it is very likely that the people will opt for independence if given the option. But is such a course beneficial? Losing Kashmir would be a loss to India but would be a disaster for Kashmir in the long run. The future generation of Kashmiris will never forgive its leadership for distancing it from a vibrant democracy such as ours.
Americans abandoned Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces and it led to the supremacy of the Taliban. If India abandons Kashmir just because a section of its citizens want azadi, the result would be similar.
Despite the huge military spending and pampering of J&K, it remains highly volatile, inviting adverse criticism from agencies monitoring our human rights record. We have fought three wars with Pakistan but Kashmir still remains unresolved. It is worthwhile to consider any of the following: treat the LoC as the international boundary; revert to the 1948 status and try to find a solution; if a plebiscite is not agreeable, take the help of a neutral country to negotiate a settlement.