(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)
The death of Burhan Wani, Hizbul Mujahideen commander, made ‘hero out of zero’ by social media and other networks, has escalated the crisis situation in the Kashmir valley (note valley only). Wani played the ‘game of death’ and met with ‘his death’ having committed a number of killings.
Political leader’s daggers are out blaming each other for the present explosive situation both in the valley and also in New Delhi.
Analysts/Gazers/followers of Kashmir crisis over the past 67 years are providing their views depending on which side of the spectrum their leanings are poised adding to the fuel of psychological alienation of Muslims in the valley.
Let me highlight few key points. Valley Muslims alienation appears to be near complete except those enjoying power, patronage and few remaining moderates.
Who is responsible for such a sorry state to engulf the valley? No point in pointing the accusing finger at Pakistan, the ISI and its cronies or its Ambassador in New Delhi.
There is a cliché: “if one gives or allows a free ride, then someone would certainly exploit to gain full benefit out of it.”
And, Indian political and bureaucratic loggerheads “appeasement policies” from Nehru days onwards till now are responsible for the psychological alienation of Valley Muslims.
I can only recall one political leader who display iron will to stem the rot: Indira Ghandy. She arrested Sheikh Abdullah and his confidents and sent them to confinement in Ooty in 1970s. But, she too faulted – squandered the golden opportunity to permanently settle the so called “core issue” at Shimla in 1972 when Indian Army had in its custody over 90,000 Pakistan Army prisoners.
When will Indian political leadership wake up to the realities that “appeasement does not pay; viewed as meekness and weakness to gain the upper hand”.
Poor security forces including local police forces are doing a great job with “one hand tied to the back”. Yet, none other than the judiciary blames them for ‘human rights violations”. I dare challenge the wisdom of the highest judiciary of the land to shed their black robes and descend on the streets of the violence prone areas and lead the packs of local police forces to control the stone-pelting separatist followers.
My plea to the concerned authorities is simple. Arrest all the Huriyat separatist leaders and send them to Andaman and Nicobar Jail or erect a jail in the high reaches of Ladakh or Siachen glacier.
Next, peace talks can wait until normalcy is restored. Until then, shut down the Indian Embassy and consulates in Pakistan and direct Pakistan to wind up their diplomatic enclaves in India actively fomenting crisis proliferation in India, particularly in the Kashmir Valley.
Furthermore, carryout a sustained media blitz explaining that continuation of crisis proliferation in the valley will plunge the valley into total anarchy and chaos which be self destructive, beyond any doubt.
Also, security forces cannot be seen to be cowards when stone pelting crowds lay seize to their posts and rushing into them and loot their weapons. Local commanders must be given full freedom to deal with such elements as if they are enemies exercising right of self defense. If it culminates into a full blown war, be it so settle the issue once for all. No point in demoralizing the security forces or allowing the “slow bleeding of the country.”
Valley Muslims must be made to understand and appreciate that none of the political leaders or parties can take the decision to concede to their demands of “Azadi” for it would only mean their getting wiped out politically within in India and the pretensions of secular fabric shattered.
If the current mindless violence is allowed to continue, then I would not be surprised that the situation may soon end up as a repeat or replay of what is happening in the war zones of Syria and Iraq with homes completely destroyed, innocents or moderate people killed and refugee exodus spilling over across the borders.
Valley Muslims must face likelihood of such prospects! Do they want to turn their heritage of “Paradise on Earth” into “Hell on Earth”.
Hope better sense prevails and the situation restored to normalcy which depends on locals only. Left to political leaders and parties, they would further add to the confusion with their high decibel endless media cacophony. Hope, message will reach the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who returned from four nation Africa tour and reportedly holding a high-level meeting to take ‘firm’ decision on ‘boiling’ Kashmir valley.