The Interlocutors have elevated the status of security forces as part of the solution but the fact of the matter is that they are part of the problem
The three wise persons, sent by New-Delhi as interlocutors, have added yet another narrative to the Kashmir problem by regurgating that security forces are an important stakeholder in the process of resolution of Kashmir problem.
At the time of landing in Kashmir, we were told that their role will be to facilitate a political process that undoes militarization and subjugation in the Indian administered Kashmir? With the passage of time and relative calm in the valley, the interlocutors are coming out with a statement which is quite repugnant to their stated roles.
So far the oft repeated narratives in any discourse on Kashmir were “confinement of Azadi sentiment to a small section of people in the valley, identifiable as Sunnis” or the “impracticability of holding plebiscite for a domino effect especially an adverse one on Muslims of India” and so on and so forth. But when these narratives were countered with facts and figures, the Government’s spin doctors ran out of the spin and in a bid to replenish their stocks, have invented a new spin to fabricate time tested clichés in the old formulae aimed at making matters more complicated and confusing for a solution of the issue in its just and historical perspective. But these are bound to fail.
Let us be frank to state here without any fear of contradiction, that we, the people of J&K, whose majority population is Muslim, are not against the people of India. We know that barring a tiny communal fringe, majority of them is tolerant and secular. Democracy has taken roots in their hearts. By all means and standards, they are lovely people and we wish them to progress in every sphere of life and if truth be told we love them a shade more than we love people on the other side.
What we loath is the Indian State which we perceive as an ‘occupier’ through farce and force. It is the ubiquitous sight of the security forces in every nook and corner of every street in every town in the Valley. The massive seven lakh plus forces in this State makes it a most militarized zone in the Globe leading to massive intervention in our daily lives through systematic surveillance, land seizures, checkpoints, torture, disappearances, gendered and sexualized violence, fake encounter deaths and countless daily humiliations calculated to break the spirit of the Kashmiri people. It also leads to provocations, invite retaliation, leading to human rights violations and the unending cycle of violence. And the security forces continue to be pilloried and in the process allowed to be seen as representative of an ugly and undesirable India. In such a scenario, talk of removing the trust deficit, winning the hearts and minds of the people etc. becomes meaningless.
So by elevating their status to an important stakeholder in the resolution process, Central interlocutors have made security forces part of the solution. The fact of the matter is that they are part of the problem and not the other way round. And if interlocutors have drawn such a conclusion it betrays their political naivety and historical ignorance. Their inference is wrong in principle and counterproductive in effect.
The only stakeholders in the dispute between two contending parties i.e. India and Pakistan is the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the only recipe for Indian security forces is to go to barracks in the first instance. From there, we and the Indian State, whether through the interlocutors or otherwise, have to decide their final destination.
Author is a practicing chartered accountant. He can be mailed at email@example.com