(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)
The fear mongering spread by political rivals over the present situation is highly condemnable. The leading spokespersons of ‘fear mongering” must remember that they are doing fully conscious that it is detrimental to national security interests.
In the past, political parties rallied and lent their full fledged support to the ruling regime during the wars of 1947-1948, 1965, 1971 and also IPKF misadventure. And, the entire nation rallied behind the ruling regimes.
Today, politics in the name of freedom of speech and democracy have descended to such dismal low levels, that one feels dismayed at the course taken by political parties and their leaders. Constitutional processes should be damned at this critical juncture. Allow restoration of modicum of normalcy and peace to prevail even if it means extended periods of lockdown on selective basis.
So what, if there is extraordinarily unprecedented lockdown in the Valley? Otherwise, volcanic eruption of protests is most likely. So what, if there is outbreak of another INTIFADA? They have happened in the past; and they will continue to happen in posterity if political processes follow the same “Dynasty-centric” path in posterity also.
So, how to restore normalcy in the valley must be the sole concern for all alike – restore Paradise from Hell. All alike are concerned with the opposition political party’s postures in the past and present particularly the Congress Party led by the Dynasty for the present mess. They want to aggravate the situation further with the sole purpose of their future electoral prospects and fortunes.
“Unity in Political Diversity”, more than ever before, is the need of the hour, which is highly improbable. All political parties must rally and united to support the ruling regimes efforts to control the crisis situation in pursuit of the strategic end objective of retaining J & K in the Indian fold instead of excessive disparaging politicization contra national security interests.
No end to truth and lies or misinformation due to internet shutdown. Sentiments and emotions have been aroused among the Kashmiri Muslims in the valley over the past 30-years or more aptly over the past 70-years. Let the media shutdown be lifted. Violent protests cannot be avoided. In the past, security forces have managed them as best as possible. And, they will do the same even in posterity.
Ipso facto, panelists on Pakistani media channels with glee are naming the Congress Party, the Communist Party and others as the sympathizers for their cause. It is a shame and disgrace for those political parties and leaders claiming to be champions of India’s national security interests.
Kudos goes to Francois Gautier, who has been covering India for a long time, for exposing the western media, particularly the BBCs shameful coverage of Kashmir developments.
- Chidambaram and Mani Shankar Ayer, who held cabinet berths, must realize that their statements are only provoking, inciting and deepening the distrust and hatred nurtured by Kashmiri Muslims, mostly due to their past follies of lending support to regional political parties – NC and PDP – and also through back channels to the separatist leaders to keep the embers burning.
Rahul Ghandy, who relinquished as President of the Congress party, is making irresponsible statements contra national security interests. In his response to J & K Governor’s invitation, he stated “We are extremely concerned about the reports that are coming and the government needs to assuage the country and tell the country what is happening in J&K” after fake or fraud reports of violence in the Kashmir Valley was discussed in the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
Even senior Congress leader Anand Sharma has stated “even after nine days of the Centre’s decision to make J&K a Union Territory, there were severe restrictions on movement of ordinary people, communication was yet to be restored and a news blackout was continuing.”
The Congress Party also made a strong pitch for the immediate release of mainstream political leaders like Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah who have been put under house arrest since August 5. Why release the two leaders who are responsible for the present mess in J & K? How much money they and their predecessors have garnered from the grants given by the Central Government from 1947 instead of developing the State.
And, the same Congress Party leadership forgets their track record in 1975 when Indira Ghandy imposed “Emergency”. Also, on many occasions and in many states, the Congress Party had imposed “Presidents Rule” including in J & K. Why are they forgetting that the Presidents Rule was first imposed in Punjab in June 1951 immediately after the First Republic was established in January 1950? As per the reply to RTI answer, the President Rule was imposed for 115 times until June20, 2018 in various states. How can the Congress Party leadership lay claim to “Holier than Thou” over the Modi led NDA.
Thus, leaders who are fear mongering against the “Mood of the Nation” today must realize that they are maligning the image of the nation in international arena and spreading distrust and hate among the minority community not only in the valley but also in the rest of the country.
In reality, they are only attempting to create more nuisance and disturbance aided by partisan media which would give handle not only to Pakistan to malign India internationally but also pour fuel in the Kashmir valley.
On the other hand, the Congress Party in particular must take cue from Suhasini Haider article that appeared in the Hindu and launch counter psy war offensive against Pakistan in its backyard. She has clearly summed up Pakistan’s actions in POK to include: reorganization in the parts of Kashmir it occupied in 1948: military control and demographic changes in PoK; an ongoing process to dilute Gilgit-Baltistan’s autonomous status; and sustained support of terror groups inimical to India. Pakistan has done all this without any UN pushback. Add to them, Pakistan’s human rights violations in Baluchistan and FATA areas with fighter aircraft bombing indiscriminately terror groups in towns and villages. By doing so, opposition parties can lay claims to win over people to their side.
If excessive politicization over Kashmir continues as hither to fore hell bent upon tarnishing the image of the nation and working at cross purposes contra national security interests, even such leaders must be charged for sedition and put behind bars. Idealistic formulations of the past be dumped into the Indian Ocean or kept on hold in deep freeze on the Everest.
Realpolitik must govern decision making processes. Rightly so, the Ministry of Home has left ith to the State administration to progressively lift restrictions/curbs depending on the intelligence reports. If the State administration is being over cautious in lifting the ban in the Valley, they cannot be blamed for it. Any sensible person would like the Independence Day Celebrations to be over without disturbance.
Surely, the State Administration would gradually and in a phased manner lift the curfew selectively in various districts of the Valley soon. Already, restrictions have been lifted in Ladakh and Jammu Division.
Nonetheless, there is no need to be worried on account of violence escalation due to trust deficit in Kashmiri Muslims in valley abetted by Pakistan, the ISI and the “snakes” bred in their backyard? Nations cannot wilt under such external pressures.
So what if there could be dramatic increase in fatalities due to terror strikes, stone pelting and protests once the restrictions are lifted? Surely, there would be casualties on both sides. Whoever can absorb such shocks or manpower losses and fight back with resilience and resoluteness will ultimately emerge on the top.
The review of state of conflicts and violence on the global plane reveals that there are as many as nearly 50 conflict situations tormenting nations and regimes.
Take a look at the protests world over nowadays. Protests in Hong Kong what with China under a single party rule have brought the city virtually to a standstill. What about Xinjiang? Next, there also protests in Moscow which is yet another nation under autocratic Putin’s rule. What about Ukraine? And, there are protests in large number European nations. Most important, no early end to the conflict situations in Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan and so on where thousands have died and millions displaced. Add to them, the conflict situation even in Baluchistan in Pakistan.
Lesson of conflict situations is quite simple. Lack of unity can plunge nations into disarray. Political leadership is squarely responsible for escalating conflicts. Those nations and regimes collapse whose leadership cannot manage to keep conflicts escalating above the line of equilibrium.
The need of the hour is strong leadership to manage the J & K conflict situation. Modi led NDA must exercise resolute political will to deal firmly with the challenges that lay ahead in the form of protests, stone pelting, terror strikes as and when they recur, besides mounting criticism by opposition political parties what with partisan media coverage of fake and fraud news.
Surely, “We the People” of India today are no more gullible fools. They understand and appreciate the challenges that lay ahead of them. And, they would not allow national security interests to be undermined by those opportunistic and self centric political parties and leaders pursuing the course to destabilize the ruling party that may end up in promoting uncertainty and instability.
In sum, peace and restoration of normalcy is a forlorn hope in short term context particularly in the context of vicious internal political dissent. If it continues, a day may not be far too ahead when the band of fear mongers are treated as traitors and charged under sedition. In retrospect, the Supreme Court may like to take suo motto notice and issue at least a dire warning to “fear mongers” to exercise caution in making statements to remain relevant.