Opinion DC Comment 21 May 2018 J&K: More empath ...

J&K: More empathy needed

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published May 21, 2018, 12:39 am IST
Updated May 21, 2018, 12:39 am IST
The PM was not on a healing-touch mission.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In Srinagar on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the youth to return to the “mainstream”, which he defined as going back to their families. That, he said, would ensure development. He said Kashmir and India were “destabilised” each time a young person picked up a stone to hurl. But were the youth paying any attention? That’s a million-dollar question. But chances are the PM knew he was cutting no ice. Hurriyat’s strike call was fully observed as Mr Modi and CM Mehbooba Mufti, who praised the PM for the conditional “truce” during Ramzan, spoke.

The PM was not on a healing-touch mission. He had gone to inaugurate hydel power and road projects. As he would be in Kashmir, the Centre had announced the ceasefire as a goodwill gesture. But it’s plain to see there was nothing giving the move any solidity. In short, it was not thought through. This was evident when Mr Modi told Kashmiris that if they had problems they could present them to the Centre’s “representative”, Dineshwar Sharma, a retired Intelligence Bureau chief. This cannot give Kashmiris any confidence that the Government of India is looking at their concerns with any empathy.

 

The Centre seems to have forgotten that J&K has a governor, who represents the Centre in our federal setup, and is also the state’s constitutional head. Why should the people approach Mr Sharma, rather than the governor? For that matter, why shouldn’t they go to the state government they elected? There’s still no realisation in New Delhi that a festering insurgency is not dealt with only through the security setup. That is the basic problem. Empty rhetoric can’t go far.

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