Counseling Political Emotion?

Counseling Political Emotion?

Omar Abdullah has stated that instead of threatening people, the government should conduct counseling of those who rally towards encounter sites. Referring to the army chief’s threat that people who disrupt counterinsurgency operations will face tough action, Omar said that more people have been coming to the help of militants even since General Bipin Rawat issued his warning. While Omar may be right in pointing out the increase in the number of people rushing to encounter sites but it is not clear what he means by “counseling” people who do so. Generally speaking, counseling refers to therapeutic advice given to people who need psychological or emotional help. The use of the word and its connotations then call into question what Omar meant. The former chief minister may have meant that instead of a crude threat approach, people who surround and rush to encounter sites should be talked to and disabused of their enthusiasm to reach encounter sites. But then, this particular trend which has been gaining traction recently, is not of a nature wherein the cold calculus of logic and reason can apply and consequently a “neat solution” applied. It is in a surfeit of emotion that people rush to encounter sites and then engage forces in stone pelting battles. The issue then is of what may be called “ political emotion” , in the sense that, emotions have been politicized in Kashmir on account of the conflict in and over Kashmir. Political emotions are then the psycho-emotional framework upon which the rush to encounter sites are premised upon. “Counseling” people who do this then is a suggestion that is moot. Broadly speaking, and , to repeat, people rushing to encounter sites is a phenomenon that is a manifestation of “political emotion” in Kashmir. This emotion can neither be checked by threats nor coercive measures. What is needed is a perspective on this emotion. The first step towards this would be to understand its nature and then take remedial action. This means enacting and instituting a conflict resolution paradigm that redounds to the benefit of all. Of course, rooting for a multi stakeholder conflict resolution paradigm is a hackneyed and clichéd assertion. But given the nature of the conflict in and over Kashmir and the “ political emotion” it has generated, there really is no other option or alternative. It is on developing this paradigm and working on it that political energies must be expended on. Anything other than this is mere corollary.

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