Fasgaya – The Kashmir Problem- the immediate way forward.

04 FEBRUARY 2017

Resolving Kashmir Problem

  The Kashmir Problem- the immediate way forward.

Such a complex issue as Kashmir cannot be solved in one go. It is better to split it into solvable pieces and solve one at a time, one after the other.

In such an approach it is better to give priority to that part of the problem that is the most burning current problem as perceived by the people of Kashmir. (and not by the intelligentsia sitting in Kashmir or in Delhi). Once they see some solution in their most burning problem, which we may call the bottleneck problem, it raises their confidence in getting solutions to other problems. If we locate this bottleneck problem correctly and solve it even partially, the response from people would be beyond all expectations.

If we apply the above principle to Kashmir problem, what irks the people of Kashmir more than anything else is the AFSPA- in fact it is not even AFSPA as a whole but those portions of it that give unbridled powers to the Security personnel. The draconian aspects of the law are liable to be misused and they have been misused after all. You give such powers to the security forces to control the terrorists; however the law, in actual operation, is used not just to control terrorism, but in ways the law-makers would not even have dreamt of.

The officers it seems shoot down an ordinary citizen and claim they have eliminated a terrorist. Whether this is true or not is not that relevant as the belief of the common man on the street believing it is true! Why do the security forces do this do such a thing? According to the common man in J&K, they do this to get increments, promotions and medals based on their performance! Again this may just be a perception but what matters more is perception of the common man in a democracy.

There should be some sort of accountability on such acts of omissions, at least a severe punishment if it is proved later that the security person did it to someone who is not a terrorist. The punishment should be severe enough to deter anyone from misusing it for personal ends like increments, promotions and medals.

Assume such a feature is introduced in AFSPA, the response from the people would be overwhelming. The people will now believe that there is someone listening to them in the administration and taking steps to redress their most burning current problem. The people would believe that their innocent sons and daughters would be safe in the roads. In the absence of such a provision the law is draconian in this respect that there is no check at all in its misuse. The law is like an automobile without any brake, and of course, the crash is the result.

Once this portion of the law is amended as suggested it would be applicable in all areas including the North East where also it will have a salutary effect. If one is in doubt, and concerned with the negative effects of such a move, one can apply it in a chosen localized area or two in Kashmir for about 3 months to see how it works. And then decide whether to expand it to other areas or drop it altogether. At least the common man then would trust the administration more, as he would know the Govt. tried but failed.

Also the common man of Kashmir is clear in one thing: if at all he will align with any Nation it is India and NEVER with Pakistan. We should build on this trust by amending AFSPA as a surprise confidence building measure, as the first step and that too, immediately.

The timing for this step is now, particularly because Pak is getting exposed unequivocally as a terror state, which it has been for a long, long time, to all including the people of Kashmir. The timing is now because this step would come after the very effective surgical strike that is use of hard arm technique by India for the first time; the time is now because the demonetization has rendered Pakistan toothless to finance its misadventure and malafide intentions. Even its agents in India will go out of money sooner than later. Now is the time for the use of the soft arm which is amendment to the AFSPA.

After doing this soft arm action of amendment of AFSPA, we can take the next step which should be a hard arm i.e., dealing with the Pakistani agents inside J&K.

The alternate hard and soft arm use works like a pincer, hardly it fails to produce results.

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