It is all but official now. All it needs is a public declaration that New Delhi believes the only way to bring about peace and calm in the Kashmir valley is to resort to force. As was reported in this newspaper yesterday, the government of India has decided to adopt a string of measures that would leave no room for any talks between it and the separatist leadership of Kashmir.
The approach talks of countering Hurriyat by what it terms as isolating the joint resistance leadership of Syed Ali Geelani, Mohammad Yasin Malik, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. It also speaks of countering their hartal and protest calendar. For the past nearly one month it has become clear that New Delhi would not budge from its obdurate position to have no talks with Hurriyat and that it would brook no dissent of any kind in the Kashmir valley. The young guerillas or the stone-throwing young protestors would find no mercy in the government forces that confront them on the streets.
It has been all along apparent, since the BJP came to power in New Delhi, that the Hindu right-wing party would have a more aggressive approach on Kashmir, guided by its misplaced notion of India’s territorial integrity and oneness. What it fails to take into account is the history of Kashmir’s link with India and how that relationship has come to a point where the two can hardly see eye to eye. The deep mistrust and hatred in Kashmir has only been aggravated over the years with a policy that only sees force and repression as the only way to bring peace to Kashmir.
New Delhi should desist from such measures to bring peace and normalcy in the Kashmir valley. The only way that can be brought about is to initiate a substantive dialogue with Kashmiri leadership and Pakistan. Unless India heeds the demand for a political change in Kashmir it would find it much more difficult to keep the Kashmir valley quiet. Force has never brought peace in Kashmir as is apparent by the policy followed by the successive governments in New Delhi. The young generation of Kashmiri youngsters who are out on the streets confronting the government forces have made it clear that they would not submit to force and oppression, that they are willing to sacrifice their future and their lives to force India to concede political autonomy. New Delhi should pay heed and begin a process of dialogue in earnest and spare this restive region of more bloodshed, trauma, and tragedy.