J&K roadmap needed, the stick is not enough

The security forces were attacked in Kashmir on Saturday and Sunday during Mr Singh's visit and they are continuing their operations.

The Centre has made a concerted effort in recent months to arrest and investigate a large number of persons, including those closely associated with the top rung of the separatist leadership in Jammu and Kashmir, who are thought to be involved with terror funding in direct and indirect ways. This complimented the process of the security forces launching repeated raids on militant positions in south Kashmir and elsewhere. It is in this backdrop that Union home minister Rajnath Singh is undertaking his current visit to J&K. But it has not been revealed so far if the Centre has any kind of roadmap in mind. While non-BJP parties and leaders, including Chief Minster Mehbooba Mufti, whose PDP heads the state government in alliance with the BJP, have been suggesting to the Government of India that the trust of ordinary people in the Valley can be regained by engaging them in a meaningful conversation on the issue of J&K’s autonomy within the constitutional framework, the BJP showed impatience with the idea and the security situation went from bad to worse as more and more youth got sucked into the whirlpool of extremist violence abetted by Pakistan.

The saffron party firmly believes that if militancy can be firmly put down by the security forces, the idea of talks or dialogue with various political elements in the Valley would be superfluous. That proposition is on test today. Although suspected hawala operators and facilitators of terror financing are being questioned in New Delhi by the National Investigation Agency, there is not enough to suggest extremism have been curbed. The security forces were attacked in Kashmir on Saturday and Sunday during Mr Singh’s visit and they are continuing their operations. During his visit, Mr Singh met the usual suspects — civil society organisations and representatives of trade and industry. It is far from certain if the home minister will learn anything new from such conversations. The key separatist leaders have been placed under house arrest as the home minister goes about his business in Srinagar.

In effect, it appears the Centre is engaged in a dialogue with itself. The home minister has held talks with the J&K government on the two-year-old PM’s development package for Kashmir for Rs 80,000 crore. On paper, about Rs 22,000 crore have been delivered for various projects. An audit of these is likely to reveal that no tangible benefits have accrued. This is on account of the turbulence through which the Valley has passed. While the purpose of the home minister’s visit remains unclear, it is also uncertain whether the Centre has a wider appreciation of the strategic picture.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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