Task Before J&K Governor

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Aug 2018 15:58:45

By BRIJ BHARDWAJ,

The new Governor should start a dialogue if he is keen to win the hearts of the people. A new beginning could be made to remove irritants like the controversy over the future of Article 35A which provides certain safeguards for people of Jammu and Kashmir. It must be kept in mind that such provisions also exist in the North-East and some other hilly States where land is scarce.

 

THE new Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik, first politician to be appointed as Governor of the sensitive border State, faces a formidable task to bring peace and normalcy in a State which has witnessed widespread insurgency and unrest for the last two years in the Kashmir region. The same trouble greeted him on his arrival when clashes started to take place in different parts of Kashmir Valley in which three policemen and a BJP worker were killed and several civilians injured.


Malik has claimed links with former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed. He was received at the airport by another former Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, who has made the right start by stating that he proposes to win hearts of the people of the State. But the task is not going to be easy as a new provocation has occurred like the official stand of the Government on the controversial Article 35 A of the Constitution, which prevents outsiders from acquiring property in the State, besides reserving many other rights for State subjects only.
In the circumstances the Governor’s first task will be to bring about peace in the State before he could make any serious attempt to bring about parity between the three regions of the State, better governance and take action to provide jobs to the youth. It is very clear that Kashmir region has suffered greatly because of unrest which has affected tourism, a major earner for people in a State where there are few opportunities of employment for young
people. Frequent Bandhs and strikes have affected trade and educational institutes.


The new Governor should start a dialogue if he is keen to win the hearts of the people. A new beginning could be made to remove irritants like the controversy over the future of Article 35A which provides certain safeguards for people of Jammu and Kashmir. It must be kept in mind that such provisions also exist in the North-East and some other hilly States where land is scarce. To start with, all those groups which are not directly involved in violence or pro-Pak activities could be contacted for a joint approach to bring about peace in the State.


There is no magic formula to solve the Kashmir problem, but there is little doubt that force alone can not solve it while dealing firmly with militants, a dialogue should be started with all those who are willing to talk. India can discuss the Kashmir issue from a position of strength if peace is established in the State. The Governor and Government have no option but to follow the path shown by former Prime Minister of India Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, who offered to discuss the issue within limits of Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhooriyat.


The new Governor, a veteran politician, should have no problem in talking with the leaders of different groups in Kashmir. With the Yatra to Amarnath shrine over, the administration should spend more time on bringing about peace in the State. While dealing with militants who include a large number of locals, a different approach will be needed. The help of parents and other elders of the community could bring about the surrender of many of them. It is no secret that most of the militants have a short span of life particularly locals who have received very little training.


At the same time, at the national level, there is need to start a dialogue with the Army, which is on the same page as Government headed by Mr. Imran Khan had come close to an agreement when General Parvez Musharaf was in power. No one can expect any country to surrender territory, but having open borders may not be easy, but should not be too great a problem. After all, it was during Dr. Manmohan Singh’s time that a bus service had started between Kashmir and part of the State under Pakistan occupation.


The Kashmir issue can be resolved if both countries agree to settle it through negotiations and make efforts to improve trade and travel facilities -- more and more contact between the people of the two countries can go a long way in improving relations. Talks are the only option between the two neighbours. Instead of chance meetings in different locations, it is better to have a structured dialogue. (IFS)