The recent Ramban outrage perpetrated by BSF with tacit approval of a beef-witted district magistrate is a concatenation of a chapter of accidents that has befallen the citizenry in this benighted State. Indian establishment is caught alimproviste and Home Minister, a mediocre minion in the central government, is meant after such incidents occur to offer amende honorable. The Kishtwar communal strife has only added fuel to escalating fire, making J&K State a raging inferno.
The youngish Chief Minister of the State feels beleaguered and harassed. The Gool BSF version is the accentuation of the low morale of the armed forces in the State, who according to official version are treated with naked contempt by unarmed mobs. The Kishtwar communal clash shows the imperative urge of Jammu Muslims to become armipotent.
The situation reminds us of the grim situation of 1971 in Bangladesh, then East Pakistan. These events show that the present situation is leading the State to a crisis. People in Kashmir regard India as a mediocre state of South Asia. Indian might is being considered as a stuff of a fable. People realise the Indian polity is utterly fractious.
The meteoric rise of Narendra Modi emphasizes the complete failure of the Indian integrationists and the complete alienation of Indian Muslims from the mainstream. The recent Oldie Beg incident in Ladakh showed India cowering in front of an emboldened China. In Kashmir, India, is no, longer shining. Modi has become an icon of Hindu nationalism and a symbol of abject degradation of the notions of secularism in India.
Hurriyat factions realise that they have become irrelevant and cannot even, if they endeavour, keep in low key, peoples wrath against the establishment. The establishment is so pessimistic that it cannot even conceive the circumscribing or military/BSF personnel to the barracks. Stage is now set down for a show of the secessionists with the establishment . In Kashmir the Indian democracy is tarnished as a mirage. The consequence is that resistance movement in Kashmir is once again getting organized. The million dollar question to be answered is, why such a situation has emerged? The answer is not obvious but events shows:
a) India has failed for the past 64 years to achieve uninterrupted political stability.
b) The Maoists and Naxals have raised a banner of revolt once again with redoubled fury, against the Govt.
c) The Indian’s integrationists have failed to unity the racially and ethnic diverse elements of Indian polity.
d) The rise of Hindutva in central India has polarized Hindu and Muslims for the coming next 25 years.
e) The Sino-Indian conflicts demonstrate that India is a paper-tiger and now it has against sanctioned 65 thousand crores for raising a new mountain division force corroding the developmental plans in the offing.
This situation has its impact in the Hilly State of Kashmir in a magnified manner. The consequence is that the law and order situation is deteriorating at a fast pace, and, when this happens in a State, then the net result is that uncertainty prevails. The hate-establishment campaign is greatly invigorated.
Once this happens the armed forces become the chief focus of hate, and, all troubles are blamed on the Armed Forces. This is what aptly can be described as ugly turn of sentiments. In Kashmir no officer above the rank of Subedar or Havildar can walk down the streets of Srinagar without security. Army has lost its awe representing the might of the nation.
The elections to be held in 2014 are looked down upon as a farce. N.C. and PDP, the two mainstream parties, are totally discredited . The Central Government is floating the idea of Congress rule in the State, but that would invite a backlash. At present the State is on the verge of a so lapse.
In such a situation people are bound to be encouraged to defiance. All confidence building measures have come a cropper. Inter Kashmir Trade has not improved the situation even cosmetically. Aman Setu Bus service and trade across LoC has proved a farce. The real question is why India’s efforts to integrate Kashmir failed? Why are voices of dissent becoming louder and louder?
How can social transformation be achieved in a distraught State?
First, why India has failed to achieve social cohesion in J&K State? In other words, why are Jammu Province and Kashmir Province now antipodal? Can regime change in Kashmir improve the situation? Or will it further worsen the situation?
Can economic amelioration of J&K State fill up the void created by intellectual and existential contradictions of the leaders who present the secessionists struggle and the mainstream parties. The recent Kishtwar communal riots, show that Hindu nationalism is now not only proliferating but becoming strident. The next step is the new demarche that aims at foisting criminal prosecution and tramped up charges on Hurriyat that is dysfunctional. The polarization of Hindu and Muslim in J&K State is now total. This polarization enables the government, to launch groundless persecution of political opponents. In my estimation this policy will be translated into action in the year 2014 and as such another Kashmir Conspiracy case is in the offing. So far Kashmir is concerned Indian think tank consider that Kashmiri Muslims are undergoing the trauma of crisis in leadership. Gool and Kishtwar events shall help BJP to garner votes, but would lead to further alienation of Kashmir from India.
The answer to these questions lies in the present situation in the subcontinent that has impacted both India and Pakistan. While the provenance of the contemporary situation that has made India and Pakistan antagonists lies in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is compelled by circumstances to endeavour to get strategic depth in Afghanistan so that in future nobody in NWFP strives for an independent Pukhtoon Khaw State. India is equally determined to get a toehold in Afghanistan so that it can mobilize the Afghans to undo the Durand line that divides that NWFP from Afghanistan.
We should not forget that Congress party openly exhorted Badshah Khan and his brother Dr. Khan Sahib not to attend the flag hoisting ceremony on 14th, August, 1947 in Peshawar.
Pakistan cannot forget that historic event, and is still convinced that Indian policies draw strength from that ominous ideology that now is the core of Indian Foreign Policy. I fully endorse the views of William Dalrymple when he says:
"……While most observers in the west view Afghanistan conflict as a battle between the US and Nato. On the one hand and the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, on the other, in reality the hostility between India & Pakistan lies at the heart of conflict in Afghanistan." Unquote. Mr. Dalrymple is an objective and perceptive observer, and, his views are eminently, accurate, and, he has earned the wrath of Indian intellectual class, and, admiration of the people of Kashmir for being a dispassionate commentator.
In my estimation the exit of US forces from Afghanistan in 2014, will be a tremendous centrifugal force that will pull India and Pakistan in diametrically opposite directions. So the circumstances are such that progressive estrangement between India and Pakistan has become inevitable. At present both the countries are busy revising plans for 2014 and updating new strategies. The emphasis on track two diplomacy is sheer camouflage meant to district attention.
The aim of India strategy is to entice Pakistan away from China that, now has visible -stakes in Kashmir. This Indian poly is bound to fail as both USA and UK realize that Pakistan is their only conduct to China, Kashmir occupies a strategic position between India, Pakistan and China.
At the same time, China realizes that Pakistan is its only conduit to Afghanistan. Gawadar Port is strategically important China for maintaining its hegemony in Indian Ocean. Bhutan and Nepal are now getting over shadowed by the mighty China steadily and slowly.
India has been drawn into an arms race with China that is why Rs. 650.00 crores have been sanctioned by the Union Cabinet for raising a new mountain division force and like amount is expected to be sanctioned for updating Indian Navy and Airforce. In nutshell this has ensured that India will lag behind China so far economic development and exports are concerned for and during the next decade. Daniel Altman the US economist shares this view see his article ‘Eight Myths about Indian growth story’.
This situation will leave its imprint upon Kashmir to gain strategic depth. In Afghanistan, the Pakistan establishment will fail to reign in the Jihadis from Afghanistan infiltrating the J&K State in 2014 itself. In fact actually and factually Pakistan is not in position to fight Indias war against Jihadis on its own soil.
In sum, for the next decade Kashmir will continue as the epi-centre of turmoil in India. I envisage dire future for J&K State, unless providential intervention proves otherwise, it is my conviction that miracle’s do happen under the guise of miraculous chance, called destiny. In that way I am an optimist. I lament that India at the moment has no clear cut Kashmir policy especially when the fragile Karzai Government in Afghanistan is fully exposed to its enemies, and India is fully marginalised in Afghanistan. U.S. exit from Afghanistan means India’s exit from Afghanistan. A new chapter Indo-Pak antagonism is about to begin 2014 A.D.
Kashmir is part of the Afghan Problem. This reality has eluded Indian think-tank, and that is why India is at sea at the present moment. The situation in Kashmir has only added a new dimension to this confusion. Kashmir will continue to remain on boil for the next decade. Now it is the valley of horrors and nightmares.
(The author is Senior Advocate, J&K High Court, Srinagar.)