Kashmir is a flashpoint between two major south Asian nations – India and Pakistan. The two nuclear-armed countries were at the brink of war recently after the episode of deadly suicide attack on a government force convoy in Kashmir. They were at loggerheads with each other after Pulwama suicide attack and it seemed a major full-scale war was inevitable as both the countries used aerial power against each other and were on high alert amid the escalated tension that last several weeks. Kashmir is a regional issue with international implications. Nowadays, situation is very disturbing and alarming as well. Kashmir has experienced a rise in militancy in recent times as the number of youth joining militant ranks has steadily been increasing since year 2014. The claims of normalcy, peace-building measures have proved to be a hoax to say the least.
For the last more than seventy years, Kashmir issue remains unresolved. This conflict has consumed countless innocent lives and has brought unending misery, death and destruction. The situation in Kashmir is getting from bad to worse with every passing day. Massive presence of armed forces across the length and breadth of Kashmir has created a kind of fear psychosis among the gullible masses. The huge presence can be gauged from the estimates that on an average there is approximately one forces’ personnel to every 10 civilians in Kashmir. Due to this, every Kashmiri is facing psychological pulls and pressures and the sense of being in a conflict zone is getting stronger.
If we see the track record of Indian policy makers in terms of Kashmir conflict and its resolution, it becomes evident that the government has never been honest with Kashmir problem and its people. From Pugwash conferences to ‘Vajpayee-Musharraf saga’ nothing substantial was done to redress this issue on its merits and dimensions. The governments have proved that ‘buy time and forget’ is the only viable solution they can offer to Kashmiris. Everything so far has been stage-managed without any positive outcome to say the least.
Almost all national political parties of India (with the exception of Left parties) have a common stand when they talk about Kashmir and its people. Parties like Indian National Congress show a soft corner as their play card and BJP and its allies prefer a hegemonic stand while dealing with Kashmir conflict to secure votes that have been fostering hatred for Kashmiris. These parties very well know how to take a common Kashmiri for a ‘jolly good ride’ by providing him false promises of hope and peace with dignity.
So far, whatever the governments have done to address the core issues are debatable, but one thing where the governments have succeeded, without any doubt is – they have created a cream of local Kashmiri politicians who are sincere, loyal and diehard fans of most of the policies related to Kashmir. These regional politicians and their parties including NC, PDP and others are the biggest beneficiaries. Their ‘bread and butter’ is vested in protraction of the Kashmir conflict. They always try to please their bosses so that they will remain in power come what may.
All these regional parties are least bothered about the sufferings of Kashmiris. They play the role of ‘shylock’ by hoodwinking poor and gullible masses through hollow slogans and cunning strategies. The slogans of autonomy, self rule, achievable nation hood and many more are the examples of narcissist character. The national parties in power have been using the services of these parties to fulfill and implement their strategies in Kashmir. In order to prove their loyalty, the leaders of these parties always try to be ‘more loyal then the king’ by using horseplay. These sham rhetoric’s are blots on their ‘grey dress’.
History is a witness to the fact that whenever they are in power, they only follow the script and remain confined to their personal interests only. But the moment they are out of power they shed crocodile tears and start criticizing New Delhi and the policies regarding Kashmir. The solution of Kashmir conflict will prove the deathbed to these parties because their relevance is directly proportional to the lingering of the conflict.
Presently all the leaders of these parties are out of there cozy cocoons for their election campaigns. They have started their age-old tactics of critising India just to garner support of those people who act as ‘cannon fodder’ for them. At the moment, these regional parties not only criticize India and its leadership but also are busy in doing mudslinging against each other as well. Each and every leader is trying its best to prove that ‘He and his party’ is the ultimate savior of the Kashmiri people.
The state assembly elections are also around the corner. The people of Kashmir are still the worst sufferers of the protracted conflict. The unresolved conflict has turned into a demon of unabated killings and psychological torture. One fails to understand why the people of Kashmir still follow these loudmouthed clowns. These power hungry people have left no stone unturned to justify the unabated killings and bad governance when they were in power. They muzzled the voice of the people through jackboot means.
The so-called champions of democracy are again taking a section of self-centered people for a ride. The leaders of these parties have a sorry figure in their kitty, keeping in view their report card viz-a-viz ‘Kashmiri people and their problems’. The old age slogan of ‘Bijli, Sadak and Pani’ is again gaining momentum among the people.
The question that baffles a sensible thinking Kashmiri is – do people of Kashmir have started to live merely for bread and butter in this world? Do they have stopped the harboring genuine political aspirations? The answer for these questions needs a deep introspection of our thoughts and actions.