Some wise and old heads seem to be working on India's Kashmir policy, finally. The release of former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and attempt to present a new model of development by a group are two attempts in this direction
Some wise and old heads seem to be working on India's Kashmir policy, finally. The release of former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and attempt to present a new model of development by a group are two attempts in this direction. But real progress will come when political leaders including two former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, still under detention are released. You cannot claim normalcy in Jammu & Kashmir and also keep political leaders who were your allies and partners at one time or other under detention. Omar Abdullah was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and BJP was coalition partner with Mehbooba Mufti not very long ago.
The BJP cannot be accused of having collaborated with "anti-national" forces and as such there is no justification for keeping these leaders under arrest. The issue of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir can be decided by the Supreme Court. In the meantime efforts to bring peace and normalcy to Jammu & Kashmir can be continued.
India’s case has always been that the Kashmiri peoples have joined India on their own will because of our secular and democratic values. Which made them choose India Jammu & Kashmir, which has three regions - Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh - has a diversity of population with different religions, languages and cultural traditions. If a solution has to found, it has to be based on integration of these regions of the state as they existed before the current crisis when it was bifurcated into two union territories.
Let us hope that the new thinking in the government will be in keeping with the promise made in the Lok Sabha while abrogating Article 370 that this was a temporary step and J&K will become a single entity again when normalcy in restored (IFS).
(The writer is a veteran journalist and commentator)