Background

Pakistan never accepted the accession of Kashmir to India and insisted on a plebiscite in the valley to ascertain the wishes of the people of Kashmir. As was his habit, the Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru in his misguided zeal, agreed for a plebiscite under UN auspices after peace was restored. Pakistan made at least 4 attempts to annex Kashmir but failed. At that time the majority of the people of Kashmir, though Muslim eyed the Pakistan military and government with suspicion. But from 1989 things began to change as incessant propaganda by extremist Muslims and Pakistan fostered a feeling that Muslims are superior and different from India. They began to wean away from the Indian state, which began to be perceived as a Hindu state, trying to foster Hindu Raj in the valley. In addition, the policy of the Indian government to support men who had no grass root support in the valley like Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed added fuel to the fire. In 1989 the election was also rigged in favor of the Congress and the NC added to the alienation of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan saw its opportunity and exploited the deep resentment of the Kashmir youth and gave arms and money for an insurrection.

The battle

Over the last 2 decades, the insurrection in the valley has gone out of hand and not a day passes without the Indian security forces not having to have firefights with the Kashmir militants. Matters are not helped by a weak government, which is also paralyzed as it is run by party's which are poles apart in their ideology. The BJP which is in a coalition with the PDF is thus guilty in part for this spurt in extremist activity. The situation is now bad and one can gauge the extent of alienation from India when the death of a Hizbul commander, a terrorist named Burhan Wani is lionized and thousands attend his funeral and call for attacks on Indian forces to ' free' Kashmir. No Indian can walk the streets of Kashmir unescorted and that is sad. Even the grave of Sheikh Abdullah who signed the Kashmir accord with India is guarded by the CRPF as the Kashmir youth hate him. The hatred against India is now deep and calls for a drastic solution. Unfortunately, the Modi government has no political option to up its sleeve and the death toll in daily attack is burgeoning. Somebody has to bite the bullet. I can see only 2 options which I have outlined below

a) Make the valley which is 99% Muslim at the moment a semi-independent state like Bhutan

b) Alternatively, enforce Martial law and hand the valley to the army to restore order with no holds barred.

I wonder how many will agree with me, but I see no option than the above two.  As I have written somebody has to bite the bullet and think of an out of box solution. I understand the first option was under consideration of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in conjunction with General Musharraf. In any case the present suspense and inaction has to stop. Continued agitation will only make world opinion antagonist to India.


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