A brief lull of ‘normalcy’ should not be misinterpreted as stability. It is temporary in nature as was the case in 2008 and 2010.
By Hayat Ahmad Wani
The dispute over Jammu and Kashmir, commonly known as “Kashmir dispute” is possibly the only international dispute where the parties involved agreed up on a framework for its resolution. And, time and again and the international community endorsed this agreement. Yet it was not implemented on the ground putting global peace and security at jeopardy.
Ever since Jammu and Kashmir was sought to be annexed and incorporated into India, voices of resistance and dissent against this were raised by people regardless of color, cast and religion. For a while, despotism managed to subdue the voice of dissent. The resistance, however, managed to revive assuming different forms with the passage of time. Almost all modes of resistance elicited harsh reactions from ruling elite of the time.
There were phases of resistance. The dismissal and imprisonment of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah triggered organized resistance through the Plebiscite Front (1955-1975). At this juncture, election boycotts, non-cooperation and civil disobedience were the mainstay of defiance. Peaceful resistance reached its climax and apogee in 1963 during the Moi-e-Muqadas agitation (when the Prophet’s (SAW) hair was stolen from his Dargah).
New Delhi, instead of responding to the popular resistance attempted to blunt the people’s movement through economic packages, legal and administrative measures, but Kashmir erupted nevertheless. A low key insurgency erupted in Kashmir which, in turn, catalyzed into the Indo-Pak war of 1965.
Only after a few years, after the watershed 1971 Indo-Pak war, Kashmiri resistance opted for what could be called a “Look east policy” and tried to emulate the strategy adopted by supporters of Bangladesh’s secession from Pakistan. The strategy involved participation in elections and using electoral mandate as an approach for achieving the intended separation. However, yet again, New Delhi manipulated the elections.
Electoral fraud and manipulation of election results finally, among other germane and salient factors, triggered the militant phase of resistance. While the insurgency was contained by the Indian state, Kashmiris attempted to rejuvenate and adopt a different way of resistance. This meant that insurgency in Kashmir, even though militarily suppressed never was vanquished. It merely receded into the Kashmiris sub-coconscious, capable of bursting into their conscious behaviour, at first chance.
Look east policy of the eighties and militancy of the nineties was substituted by the policy of looking towards the Middle East after 2005. The youth and resilient segments of leadership started to take recourse to peaceful demonstrations, hartals to vent out their anger against the brutalities of occupation.
A classic example of this was the 2008 Amarnath land row agitation which fructified this mode of resistance.
Instead of offering a solution, the government resorted to worst forms of oppression. This sowed the seeds for the uprising of 2010.Teenagers remained prime targets of state oppression. The promises of probes and penalizing perpetrators of killings did not materialize. They were a mere eye wash.
These, among other atrocities, could be held to be the seeding themes of the mass uprising of 2016 sparked by the killing of Burhan Wani. Unfortunately, it was again suppressed by dint of state force resulting in more than 100 deaths, maiming and blinding of thousands, losses to private property and businesses in billions of rupees. All these tactics have failed in past and sure to fail in future as well. A brief lull of ‘normalcy ‘should not be misinterpreted as stability. It is temporary in nature as was the case in 2008 and 2010.
An unconditional dialogue with all the parties involved is the need of the hour. What Kashmir needs and demands is conflict resolution rather than conflict management. Unfortunately the people at helm of affairs have not shown any serious concern towards resolving the conflict. Ironically, what they have done is promulgate measures for not only creating a new storm but virtually a tornado which may suck and sweep everything in its path. The potential trigger for this tornado could be the SARFAESI Act and domicile certificates for West Pakistan Refugees.