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J&K violence: No more a land-for-pilgrim issue

New Delhi, Mon, 18 Aug 2008 NI Wire

Things have taken an ugly turn in Jammu and Kashmir; many lives have been lost in police firing and number of people got injured in Kashmir valley in the protest over Amarnath land row with no signs of abating. The curfew imposed by administration and the economic blockade further gave the separatists a reason to voice their age-old demand of autonomy and also to the mainstream political parties a tool to fill up their vote bank by making it a “national issue” in an election year.

In 61st year of independence, it seems that we have learnt nothing. Notwithstanding the fact that Jammu and Kashmir remained a united front over the years in the face of long insurgency, now it seems that the miscreants have succeed to divide the nation again in the name of religion. Political parties whether Congress and BJP haven’t shown any kind of maturity in dealing with the present crisis.

Till then, no clear formulated policies have been set up to address the real issue; the all-party meeting on Aug 9 and 10 ended with no positive sign. Furthermore, with rising violence in the valley the regional parties like PDP and National Conference too are trying to come out for survival without any concerted effort. Their immature acts of leadership with double speak and the central government’s wrong assessment of the issue merely as a business loses that can be compensated, have placed a serious challenge to the administration.

It is high time now for our political parties to understand the basic nature of J&K, the region which has always been in international focus; else India is on the verge of losing its credibility on Kashmir issue. The Bharatiya Janta Party too need to treat the Amarnath land issue as a special case and see the larger interest of the nation. Any politicisation, only for short-term gain and in large, will hurt the national interest.

What is more, the separatist Hurriyat Conference which has set three demands for calling off the strike called by them, as opening borders of Muzaffarabad for trade, release of all Kashmiri prisoners and total withdrawal of army from the Valley, only explain the very fact of the divide movement; it is no more the Amarnath land controversy but separatist’s long dream of an independent- a challenge to Indian sovereignty.

What the immediate need is to take away the economic blockade with a pro-active, wise stand both from nationalists and mainstream political parties. Let’s not indulged in politicisation of Amarnath pilgrimage, but understand the ground realities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could have done better by himself handling the issue rather handing over to his home minister which has resulted none. At the end, the separatists’ unusual demand will have to be totally rejected by the government and the only issue of valley's prosperity to be addressed.

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