In a recent article published in The Hindu, it is said that more locals in Kashmir take to militancy in last few months. A police official stated “Even MLAs find it hard to visit their constituencies in Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama district of Kashmir”. Seven percent voter turn out in by-polls of Srinagar constituency or small girls kicking and throwing stones on military vehicles shows the extreme outrage of local public. In last six decades we are not able to win the heart of Kashmiri people and situation has become worst after the killing of Hizb-ul- Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
We can always debate about righteousness of government policies, military actions, resident’s outrage and separatist demands but one fact will remain true that core value of democracy should not be suppressed. All citizens have equal right to raise their voices. A violent agitation takes place only when voices are not heard and when violent incidents will not be resolving the conflict, state will move towards civil war. Let it be discussion of Article 370 and usage of pellet guns, Government always seemed more interested in land and not the people. Intentions for resolving the issue may be there but display of affection and empathy is lacking marginally.
In one of the hearings recently, Supreme court said “Both sides need to take two steps back and address core issues. You cannot clap without both hands. stakeholders in Kashmir to “take two steps back” as a resolution could be initiated only if there are no stones hurled and pellets fired on the streets of Kashmir”. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, encouraged local people to participate in elections and believe in Indian democratic system. Both sides should know that solution exists in debate only and key to discussion is winning the confidence back with a clear intention of resolving the conflict. Talk of separate state or pro Pakistan demands are not on table obviously but there is much more to discuss and resolve in order to win back the confidence of the valley, disputes to be resolved considering the welfare of our people, not just for winning the land back or maintaining border lines.
In between all the debate of nationalism we should not forget that India starts from Kashmir and ends at Kanyakumari, and all of them are an integral part of the nation. Land and resources are important for growth of a country but most crucial resource of country is its citizen and we are losing them slowly whenever a comment is passed on South Indian or North Eastern community, Whenever a Bihari is beaten in Maharashtra or a Kashmiri is gunned for whatever reason. Nationalism is not only a debate to win or forcing our ideology on others, it is more about accepting all, with their own ideologies and uniting all of them into a nation as one integral entity.