A few days ago, New Delhi announced a unilateral armistice in the holy month of Ramadan in Kashmir. Meanwhile, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India was in Kashmir to inaugurate some ‘developmental’ projects. All eyes were on his speech. Many were expecting to make him break his silence on Kashmir quagmire and take the ceasefire as initiation to move forward towards the final resolution of conflict in and over Kashmir. But, it turned out as a disappointment .In his half an hour long address at SKICC Srinagar, Modi commenced and terminated his speech in Kashmiri language to the surprise and astonishment of many. He however, invoked the same developmental mantra to resolve the Kashmir dispute. His remarks were oxymoronic, gimmickry, empty talk, repetition of rhetoric and full of hollow promises.
The Prime Minister remarked: “Only Solution to any conflict is development… a mother can’t differentiate between her sons…” He more over repeated his remarks which he earlier said from the ramparts of Red Fort in his Independence Day speech that: “Kashmir issue can’t be resolved by guns or abuses but by embracing people of J&K.”
On the ground, nobody is going to buy these mantras and theories. In practice, all these remarks mean nothing. The Kashmiri blood is not for sale in consideration of economic packages. It is not spilled and disgorged for development. Nobody will brace and poise a bullet for a stone and that too for development. People have political aspirations. They need to be addressed. The educated youths and boys belonging to well-off families are picking up guns. They didn’t left cozy and a cushy life for development. Thousands of those blinded by pellet guns didn’t aspire for development.
Moreover, everything can’t be bought and sold by notion of development. One can’t bring back smiles and grins on the faces of mothers who lost their sons by building roads out of jewels and pearls. Felicity is such an entity that can’t be bought by penny and money. Development can’t act as solution to all conflicts. Money, gold, 24/7 electricity and water facility can’t buy and kill people’s political aspirations. Kashmiris are not beggars either.
If Kashmir issue is all about development, then why are guns roaring on borders and elsewhere? Nobody is going to shoot, kill, maim, blind and rape for demanding development in the form of jobs, roads, bridges, tall buildings, parks, so on and so forth.
In a proper sense, talking of development in Kashmir is actually a mockery and travesty. New Delhi is plundering and ransacking the state resources through NHPC. Yet again, 87 percent share of new 330MW power project inaugurated by Prime Minister is going to be enjoyed by NHPC. And, only 13 percent share has been left for Kashmir. An RTI reveals that in 15 years (2001-2015), NHPC earned Rs 19000 crore from Kashmir waters. It soured out to Rs 200 bn from 7 power projects in 2017. Therefore, J&K was deprived of all this money, in all these years and it continuous to be so on same developmental front. Thanks to development mantra.
“a mother can’t differentiate between her sons…”. “Kashmir issue can’t be resolved by guns or abuses but by embracing people of J&K.”
Pellet guns are supposed to use against wild animals as a control mechanism. Yes, Pellet guns are only reserved for Kashmiris. When people in other parts of India go for ‘arson, rampage, riot, burn down buses , lynch other people, turn to hooliganism, loot, plunder,’ they are showered with coloured water cannons and the final option utilised in case of gross instigation is lathi charge and tear gas shelling. In Kashmir, protesters are directly shot on head and chest with the aim to kill. Civilians as far as from encounter sites are killed. According to well documented media reports, innocent people kilometers far away from encounter sites were shot dead. Burning and blasting of residential houses by gasoline and RDX, and turning them to rubble and ashes, in encounters doesn’t pass off in any part of India and elsewhere. But, in Kashmir, it does happen. (Thanks to the Insaaniyat mantra!)
A Kashmiri is tied to bonnet as a human shield and for that very act the accused army major is awarded for gallantry. FIR’s are withdrawn against forces on pretext that their morale will go down. Rule of Law in this part of world seem latent. (Thanks to Jamhooriyat mantra!) Yes, every now and then, the holy mother differentiates, discriminates between Kashmiris and rest of the citizens of India, and doesn’t embrace it’s so called ‘sons’.
Ceasefire could have become initiative and step for peace process. But, there seems no political commitment and sincerity. The earnestness could have been shown by initiating meaningful dialogue process.
There is huge difference between words and actions of Prime Minster. On ground, forces have been given free hand. There are black laws like PSA and AFSPA. Political opponents are frequently booked under PSA without fair trails. Unless, all these things are taken into consideration, no slogan will do any magic. The question is, how to address Kashmir quagmire? It can be leastways anything but not development. A political and human issue needs political solution and human touch. But ,Modi doesn’t take anyone’s advice on Kashmir issue.
—The author is a student of Law at Department of Legal Studies, Central University of Kashmir. He blogs at: AbrarReyaz.wordpress.com and can be reached at: email@example.com