Not a Numbers Game

Not a Numbers Game
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Kashmir and the conflict thereof is neither about numbers nor statistics. Yet, powers that be seem to adhere to the illusion of numbers. The “new” surrender policy wherein a militant who surrenders will get six lac rupees is an eloquent example of this and a case in point. Another inference that can be drawn here is that the administration or powers that be that formulate and draft policies for and toward Kashmir view the conflict only through and in a narrow, parochial prism which begets distorted or skewed policy approaches. The cash for surrender policy is one glaring instance of this. The causal loop and schema that accrues is then warped. That is, powers that be get the causality wrong: they mistake the effect for the cause. Militancy, in Kashmir, in the final analysis, is the effect; the cause is the conflict in and over Kashmir. It is a manifestation of profounder issues and causes. But, yet, powers that be elide over the causes and choose to “fix” the effects. Consider the graph and trajectory of the militarization of the conflict in Kashmir dimension. While it has witnessed ebbs and flows, the prosaic fact is that it has not gone away. The reasons are commonsensical: militancy in Kashmir is the manifestation of the conflict in and over Kashmir (to restate the obvious). The “cash for surrender” policy with the hope that it might lead to attrition in militant ranks amounts to a policy “fix” and a pious wish. But, this approach is doomed on account of multifarious reasons. The primary of these is the macro reality of the conflict in and over Kashmir. Other allied reasons pertain to the sociology and psychology of the conflict. All roads then lead to this primary cause, so to speak. Instead of then tinkering and attempting a policy fix, as flawed as it is, the approach that will lead to peace, within and without, is the resolution of the conflict in and over Kashmir. Admittedly, this is a hackneyed and even a clichéd assertion and assessment, but there is no other real and substantive option or alternative. To employ the jargon of economics, and graft it onto the conflict in Kashmir, there is the demand side and then there is the supply side. The demand side is predicated upon powerful abstractions and politico emotional dimensions that stem from the conflict. If this side remains unaddressed, the supply will always be forthcoming. Prudence and sagacity then warrants that the these issues be addressed for good. One major step towards this would be the resolution of the conflict in all its dimensions.

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