Kashmir does not need sermons but sensible action
Preaching sermons is easier than practising them. Those guilty of any offense usually plead innocence. This what one finds people and political leaders doing during the last 72 days of violence and unrest in the Kashmir valley. Latest to join the chorus of those beating their breasts about the Kashmir violence is the CPIM General secretary, Prakash Karat.
As far as expressing shock over the number of casualties in police firing in Kashmir during over two months is concerned Karat is totally correct. He seems to be genuine while expressing grief over the loss of life in the valley. Even those who are opposed to the ideology of the separatists have not concealed their grief over the killing of teenagers. What seems unpalatable in the sermon of Karat on the strategy the central and the state Governments have adopted in dealing with violence.
He is critical of the approach of the two Governments on the plea that the violence and all that continues to flow with it is not a mere law and order problem deserving administrative measures. Yes Karat is correct in the sense that the issues being raised by those indulging in violence and in clashes with the security forces are definitely political in nature and colour. If Karat wants the issues to be tackled politically he should have suggested the method for doing it. Karat needs to be reminded that the agitators have been demanding azadi for Kashmir and their fellow travellers also demand implementation of the UN resolution providing for holding a plebiscite. Since much water has flowed down the river Jhelum since 1948 when the UN adopted the resolution on Kashmir it is not within the possible means of the state Government to fulfill the demand for granting azadi or for holding the plebiscite.
It is equally beyond the reach of Delhi to allow Kashmir either to merge with Pakistan or achieve full independence. If Delhi concedes this demand Karat and his fellow travellers would be in the forefront of the massive agitation such a decision could kick up. Karat has suggested to the Government to adopt better option for dealing with the protesters but he has forgotten to urge or appeal to the agitators and the separatists to shun the path of violence and accept the offer for talks made by Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. Another sermon from the CPIM leader is that those below the age of 19 should not be arrested and jailed. Karat has been truthful in the sense that his knowledge about teenagers having been jailed on charge of indulging in violence including pelting stones on the security forces was based on newspaper reports. Since the leftist leader is in Srinagar he should have,as member of the parliament, met state Government functionaries and those heading the police department to find out the reason for arresting teenagers. Had he done so he would have become wiser on the issue. Since June 11 when the era of violence and stone throwing incidents dawned over 300 teenagers had been arrested and later were let off after their parents assured the Government that they would not allow their wards to indulge in violence.
Later majority of these very teenagers were seen in the forefront of those indulging in stone pelting. Karat should have known by now that stones are being thrown on the security forces by teenagers and not by white bearded maulanas and not by people above the age of 30.And if the Government, whether in Srinagar or in Delhi, wants the security forces to contain violence they have to put these teenagers behind bars so that the level of violence declined. And when the Union Home secretary, G.K. Pillai, was recently asked why a nine-year innocent boy was killed in police firing he shot back "anyone violating curfew restrictions cannot be innocent."
What Pillai said should serve as an eye opener for the CPIM leader. He should analyse the Kashmir situation like an impartial analyst and not like a politician. If he does so he will realise that there have been series of incidents in which the security forces were forced to open fire either in self defence or in order to foil attempts at torching Government vehicles and other installations. Karat can serve Kashmiris better if he is able to persuade the separatists and those behind the current unrest and violence to shun the path of violence and opt for the process of dialogue.
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