Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

[t4b-ticker]

Opinion

Restive Kashmir, Jammu And Ladakh Show Why Modi Govt Needs Fresh J&K Plan

Unless one counts the period when entire Kashmir was under virtual lockdown post-partial abrogation of Article 370, the circle of violence never really stopped in the Valley.

Migrant labourers arrive from Kashmir, at the bus stand in Jammu, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. Terrorists have killed eleven civilians, including five migrant workers, in Kashmir since early October. (PTI Photo)

WITH violent deaths returning to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir with a renewed vengeance, it is clear the Narendra Modi government’s plan, if there was one in the first place, to deal with the aftermath of partial abrogation of Article 370, needs a re-look if not a complete overhaul.

The fact is that words and lofty statements can take you only so far and can’t be a long-term substitute for a proper plan of action and action on the ground.

How else does one look at the death toll of 11 civilians since the beginning of this month alone? Many of them, including migrant workers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and other states, have been victims of targeted killings by militants.

Killings apart, if further proof was required about the need for the Union government to get its act together, it came through the words of the man who headed the erstwhile state’s administration when the abrogation of Article 370 happened and the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories – Meghalaya Governor Satyapal Malik.

“During my tenure as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, no terrorists could enter within the 50-100 km range of Srinagar. But now, terrorists are killing poor people in Srinagar. This is really saddening,” Malik said on October 18.

Malik’s assertion will have to be taken with a pinch of salt, since the return of targeted killing, especially of non-locals, is happening after a long time. Unless one counts the period when entire Kashmir was under virtual lockdown post-partial abrogation of Article 370, the circle of violence never really stopped in the Valley. Fear, it is clear, has returned to the Valley, which has learnt to live with it, in a big way.

Such is the fear that, according to local media in J&K, following continued targeted killings of migrant labourers, police moved “thousands of migrant workers to secure locations overnight” while hundreds of others fled Kashmir after the last week’s killing of two migrant workers.

Equally worrying is the fact that there has been a spate of attacks on security forces, with nine soldiers having been killed in a single ambush attack in the Rajouri-Poonch sector last week alone. While the response from the security forces has been swift, the attacks fly in the face of claims by the establishment that everything is normal after the Article 370 move. If anything, the violence is witnessing a renewed upward trajectory.

While Kashmir is witnessing a return to militancy again, the feeling of joy among Jammuites, who thought post-370, the region would witness inflow of investment and upswing in rates of property and uptick in business, was short-lived.

What else can explain the fact that last month, for the first time in a long time, traders and businesses observed a one-day Jammu bandh, an enormous success by all accounts against the “anti-trade and directionless” measures by the UT Administration?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

ALSO READ: Kashmir Civilian Killings: Bihari Migrants Leave In Tears

The bandh call was given by the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), headed, incidentally, by the younger brother of late Chaman Lal Gupta, who was for several decades the tallest BJP leader in J&K.

One of the issues that had the CCI up-in-arms was the decision of the UT administration to curtail, if not completely end, the annual Darbar Move, the process under which the seat of power shifted to Srinagar during summers and came to Jammu during winters.

For the last two years, traders and businessmen, including the hospitality industry, in Jammu have suffered huge losses due to the fact that the darbar move didn’t happen completely.

If Jammu and Kashmir are volatile, the remaining part of the erstwhile state – Kargil-Leh area, which now forms part of the Union Territory of Ladakh – is equally upset.

Such is the feeling of angst that, possibly for the first time in decades, leaders of Muslim-majority Kargil and the Buddhist-dominated Leh have now joined hands to demand a grant of full statehood and special status for the region.

In an indicator of which way things are headed, the local leadership of the BJP, including former party MP Thupstan Chhewang, also joined Leh Apex Body (LAB), the group that has been constituted to fight for the demand. “We are forming a joint committee which will represent the entire Ladakh and hold further dialogue on various demands with the central government. The focus of our demands will be full-fledged statehood for Ladakh, constitutional safeguards whether under sixth schedule or Article 371 of the constitution and one more seat in Lok Sabha and two Rajya Sabha seats,” Chhewang was quoted by the PTI.

On Friday, the LAB announced it was planning to scale up the agitations. Viewed in light of the ongoing impasse between India and China over control of parts of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the area, these developments don’t bode well for India. Nobody knows what plan, if any, the Central government has to deal with these issues.

It doesn’t require the IQ of an Einstein to understand that the Union government needs to get its act together. Much-publicized visits of Central ministers, cameras in tow, make for a good PR exercise. But PR isn’t a replacement for long-term strategy. For that, the Centre needs to first figure out the extent of the problems and then go about finding lasting solutions. 

Maneesh Chhibber is a Contributing Editor with India Ahead News. The views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

READ: Kashmir Civilian Killings: ‘Humble And Humane’ — Family And Colleagues Mourn Teacher Slain In Srinagar

ALSO READ: Remembering Makhan Lal Bindroo, Kashmir’s Beloved Chemist

You May Also Like

India

LUCKNOW, Uttar Pradesh — Ensconced  on a couch between the portraits of Wajid Ali Shah and Begum Hazrat Mahal, the last ruler of Awadh...

India

The winter session, which convened on Monday, is scheduled to conclude on December 23. Lok Sabha discussed the Covid-19 pandemic and various aspects related...

India

The Actress wanted to go to Dubai for a show. She will now be brought to Delhi for questioning, ED sources informed.

India

NEW DELHI — Fifteen people, including 13 women and two men from the Muslim community, have been charged in the Delhi riots case relating...

Advertisement