The Uri Attack and the Future of Kashmir
The Kashmir problem has been festering for 69 years with no solution in sight. One can trace the genesis of this problem to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This man, in one of the blunders of world history, took the matter to the United Nations and worse, agreed for a ceasefire. This, at a time when the Indian army had the tribal invaders on the run. This was not all, for Nehru more the philosopher than the statesman incorporated Article 370 in the Constitution that allowed Kashmir to have its own flag and Constitution.
Nehru died in 1964 but left behind a problem that is like an anchor around the neck of successive Indian governments. The leaders just carried on from where Nehru had left and like an ostrich, tried to hide from the gathering sandstorm. The result is there for all to see. Violence has become a trademark and despite a curfew ongoing for over 2 months, the shouts of Azadi( freedom) are becoming shriller.
There is an insurrection on in the valley and now the Indian state wails like a wounded wolf that Pakistan is fomenting terror is neither here or there. Pakistan has been fomenting terror attacks since almost 2 decades and yet the Indian government never launched an all-out diplomatic or economic offensive against Pakistan. There was no need to go to war but had economic measures been taken to strangle Pakistan it would have borne results.
The attacks have now become more brazen. The latest is the attack on a brigade HQs in Uri close to the LOC. It was a sad day as 19 soldiers were martyred and the situation is alarming as a brigade HQ was targeted. I don't recollect this happening earlier. In addition, there are questions of security and one wonders how the terror group could enter inside the perimeter of a fortified area and hold their own for 15 minutes till they were neutralized. It showed the fatalistic approach of the terror group who had decided to die for their cause.
Add to this complete defiance of security forces in the valley despite an unrelenting curfew for over 70 days. What does this mean? Stone throwers despite a curfew are food for thought. It means there is no element of fear in the eyes of the rioters of the security forces and that is not a good thing.
One is reminded of the statement of General Ne Win, the strong man of Burma. At the height of a student agitation in Rangoon, he warned the students that the military if it intervenes is tasked to kill and that is the role of the army and in case the students do not desist he would unleash the military. Sure enough, the military intervened, there was a blood-bath but all agitation died down for 10 years till Ne Win expired.
In India because of pussy-footed leadership the security forces are de-fanged. there is no reason that despite armed police and curfew the urchins instigated by their masters in Pakistan still throw stones at the soldiers and get away with it. It can only be stopped by an iron hand and that is lacking even with Modi in power.
Fighting Pakistan is not an option. The option is to quell the uprising in Kashmir and put the anti-India forces on the mat. There are tens of thousands of Indian supporters in Kashmir who are cowed down and their morale is low because of the policy of the central government. Surely something should have been done in the last 70 years.
How did Bangladesh solve the insurrection of the Chakmas in the Hills of Chittagong? They just settled Muslim farmers in the tracts and over a decade the insurrection by Buddhist tribals died down. Surely something like that could have been done in Kashmir?
The Indian government is thus guilty of grave dereliction of national ethos right from the time of Nehru. Even a spell of the BJP under Vajpayee and now Modi has yielded no results and probably there will be none till the Indian state integrates the valley with India. Till that is done I am afraid there is no option but to bleed with a 100 cuts for all time to come.
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