Communists Suggest 5 Steps to Solve Kashmir Problem

The Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh chairing a preparatory meeting before the visit of All-Party Delegation to Jammu and Kashmir (September 4-5), in New Delhi on September 03, 2016
The Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh chairing a preparatory meeting before the visit of All-Party Delegation to Jammu and Kashmir (September 4-5), in New Delhi on September 03, 2016

As the things stand today, the Indian government does not seem to have any solution to deal with the trouble in Kashmir, which is under curfew for the past about two months.

Although the ruling BJP government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to send an all-party team to Kashmir on Sunday, it is largely believed that it will turn out to be a futile exercise because the team members are planning to tackle the issue in traditional ways that failed in the past.

India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh will lead the all-party delegation comprising 28 parliamentarians and senior government officials who will meet different stakeholders in Kashmir in an attempt to bring peace to the valley.

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However, the chattering classes believe that the Indian politicians and bureaucrats are trying to cure a disease that they have not yet diagnosed. For example, the people of Kashmir want freedom from the Indian rule in the region, but the Indian regime wants them to play games.

On Friday, Modi announced a Rs. 200 crore package to engage the youth of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in sports. Earlier, Modi asked the protesting youth of Kashmir to hold laptops instead of stones in their hands that they use to hit the security forces.

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Most observers are shocked at Modi’s understanding of the Kashmir issue. On the one hand, even the local teenagers are being blinded by the pellet guns that Indian security forces use on them. But on the other hand, Modi is showing his naivety by asking them to use laptops.

It is a general feeling that Modi is deliberately trying to complicate the whole Kashmir issue to divert attention of Indians who are reeling under a complete socio-economic chaos in the country. Earlier this week, an Indian political leader Mayawati went to the extent of saying that Narendra Modi may trigger war with Pakistan to hide his failures.

However, the Communist Parties of India (CPI-M and CPI) believe that Kashmir problem can be solved if the government is ready to take certain confidence-building measures for the people of Kashmir.

They suggest 5 steps that can be taken immediately. These are:

1. The use of pellet guns on protestors must be stopped

2. Government must withdraw the AFSPA – or Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts – and the army from the civilian areas

3. Government should order a judicial enquiry into all instances of excesses committed by the armed forces against civilians

4. Adequate compensation must be provided to all families who have suffered loss of lives and rehabilitation of the injured must be ensured

5. Time-bound projects for economic development and employment generation – including transfer of Dulhasti and Uri power projects; opening of an IIM and IIT in Srinagar – must be started

Further, according to the Communist parties, the initiation of the political dialogue must not be based on any preconditions. The earlier recommendations of the various working groups and the report of the team of interlocutors appointed after the visit of the all-party delegation in 2010 following the then disturbances must be kept in consideration.

The Left parties suggest the following necessary steps for arriving towards a political solution in the current concrete circumstances:

a. The internal dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu & Kashmir should proceed on the basis reversing the erosion of Article 370. The three regions of the state, Jammu, the valley and Ladakh, should have autonomous structures within the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

This will entail changes in the constitutional and legal scheme which can begin by revising the existing orders and laws. Ultimately, a fresh political framework should emerge.

b. The second dimension is the India-Pakistan factor. Since 2014 India has been adopting a blow hot-blow-cold policy towards a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan.

This Government of India had announced that this dialogue will also deal with the question of Kashmir, the government must carry forward this process safeguarding India’s interests and ensure that Pakistan is brought to the discussion table.

The people in the rest of the country are being fed various stereotypes about the Kashmiri people. Kashmiris are being depicted as secessionists, terrorists and pro-Pakistan. This must be put to an end. Reports of attacks on Kashmiri youth in other parts of the country must be immediately investigated and culprits punished.

The solution to the Kashmir problem was presented by Sudhakar Reddy, General Secretary, CPI and Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI(M).

Photo courtesy: Press Information Bureau

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Rakesh Raman