Jammu and Kashmir

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  • The Need for a Strategic Response to Insurgency and Terrorism

    Countering ideological narratives, effective communication of developmental measures to the people, and adherence to the principle of judicious use of force should form integral elements of India's strategy to counter insurgent and terrorist groups.

    November 26, 2010

    Revisiting China’s Kashmir Policy

    China’s moves concerning Kashmir evoke apprehension regarding retrogressive changes in its Kashmir policy, designed to give it a hold over India. The best case scenario for China is that the Kashmir issue is never resolved; and if this issue inches towards any kind of resolution, that China should be considered a party to the Kashmir dispute.

    November 01, 2010

    Santosh Kumar asked: What is your opinion regarding the handling of ongoing Kashmir crises by the central government?

    Rumel Dahiya replies: That the ongoing crisis in J&K has been badly mishandled needs no emphasis. In the first place, after the insurgency was brought under control by the security forces the political initiative should have had ensured that complete normalcy returned to J&K. The fact that vested interests were keen on creating trouble should have been clear from the way the Amarnath agitation was launched and conducted. An alert and responsive administration would have taken proactive steps in applying healing touch and by providing good governance. After one of the most peaceful and free state elections the leadership was 'appointed' on considerations other than political acumen and administrative ability. A state suffering from decades of misgovernance and scars of terrorism needs very careful and adept handling. The Chief Minister is obviously unable to connect with the people. That the leader was chosen and persisted with the consent of the ruling party at the Centre makes the Centre guilty of mishandling of the situation. Secondly, scores of deaths of young agitators should have been avoided by using non-lethal means of crowd control, which was not even attempted. The state police, under whose control CRPF also functions, had no clear political direction. Senior police officers were not seen to be involved in handling the agitating crowds. The agent provocateurs were neither identified nor arrested by the state or the central intelligence agencies. Thirdly, creating a political consensus is the first and most basic requirement for solving a political problem. Sending an all party delegation to J&K was a good idea which came too late and its programme was not planned properly and in any case, there was no consensus on its mission and role. The government has taken weeks to appoint the interlocutors and there is no way of knowing what mission has been assigned to them. There is also no clarity on the Centre's vision for resolving the crisis. It is perhaps hoped that the agitation will peter out after the Commonwealth games and US President's visit in early November but that hope is bound to be belied sooner than later. It is not safe to conclude that the people themselves will start opposing know that the government will come out with another financial package,when placed under sufficient pressure, in the name of compensating those who have suffered the economic consequences and for the families who have lost members to police firing. The crisis of this nature needs comprehensive set of measures. The first among those measures is to provide for a responsive and politically savvy leadership.

    Kovid Kumar asked: What are the reason our policy maker not thinking to abolish article 370?

    Arpita Anant replies: First, an important clarification, a constitutional provision cannot be abolished, it has to be amended or repealed, for which there is a procedure to be followed.

    The complexity relating to Article 370 requires greater appreciation. When instituted, Article 370 gave a Constitutional recognition to the letter and spirit of the Instrument of Accession, which was mainly regarding autonomy. Thus, Article 370 (1) (2) (3) governs the relationship between the Centre and the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Simplistically, the first clause of the Article relates to power sharing between the Centre and the State, while the second and third clauses pertain to the role of the state’s Constituent Assembly in accepting the applicability of the Indian Constitution. The exceptions and modifications with regard to applicability of the Indian Constitution to the State are further detailed in the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954.

    Since the adoption of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir in 1956 by the Constituent Assembly of the State, which vide Article 3 clearly lays down that it is an integral part of India, the latter two clauses of the Article could have been repealed, as also the part regarding it being a “temporary, transitional and special provision” under Part XXI of the Indian Constitution. This was not done. Then over the years, several changes and amendments were made to the Constitutional Order of 1954, to clearly define the relationship between Centre and the State. These are also an integral part of Article 370 and are spelt out in Appendix I and II of the Constitution of India. It is argued that several of these amendments have diluted the autonomy of the State.

    So at the present juncture, a full repeal of the Article may not be possible. An amendment to reflect the actual situation on the ground is desirable. However, even this requires political consensus, which appears elusive.

    Kashmir: Time to Ring the Bell

    It is time that the Indian government through its yet-to-be appointed interlocutors clearly laid the limits and boundaries of the autonomy debate to all the stakeholders.

    October 13, 2010

    Chinese Activities in PoK: High Time for India to Put its Act Together

    A recent New York Times report that 11,000 soldiers of the Peoples’ Liberation Army have been stationed in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of the PoK, carries important implications for India. For India to put forth its legitimate claim to the whole of Kashmir, the time is now or else, never.

    September 09, 2010

    Kashmir: Policy in a Time of Contending Realities

    The coexistence of contending realities in Kashmir is a natural corollary of the transition from conflict to peace. A successful transition to peace is not only a test of Indian secularism, but also of Indian democracy.

    August 31, 2010

    “Kashmir: Paths to Peace”: A Misleading Report

    The Report lends itself to all kinds of interpretations, does not attempt to correlate responses to questions in the same section, and certainly does not provide the ‘paths to peace’.

    August 10, 2010

    Anand asked: What is the centre's stand on recent Kashmir violence? What can the centre and state do together for a permanent solution?

    Arpita Anant replies: The Centre’s stand on the recent violence in Kashmir is that it was a result of young people being misled by Pakistan–based anti-national forces linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba. Instigated by these forces, large mobs indulged in stone pelting and defied curfew orders. This provoked a reaction from the CRPF and Jthe ammu and Kashmir Police, which resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives. The Centre therefore instructed these forces to adopt maximum restraint in dealing with rioting crowds and simultaneously maintain law and order.

    The Unified Command, which brings together the Centre and the State security apparatuses, must ensure that the channels of instigation resulting in such serious law and order problems are blocked. Moreover, since the intellectuals and the media of the Valley have explained the summer unrest as a spontaneous uprising against mis-governance, it is important for the Centre and the State Government to work towards an all-party consensus on improving governance and identifying immediate developmental priorities for the State. The consensus thus achieved must be made known to the people of the state and sincerely followed through.

    A similar consensus on engaging with the separatist leadership and the Government of Pakistan and its follow-up may lead to a permanent solution to the problem in Kashmir.

    K Raka Sudhakar Rao asked: Is there any material or books available on how terrain is helping terror in J&K?

    P K Gautam replies: I do not know of any book. Mountainous and jungle terrain helps insurgents as not all areas can be patrolled or kept under surveillance. It has natural camouflage and cover.Technology cannot provide all the solutions given the frequent rain or snow fall or mist. However there is a correlation between say forest cover and insurgency and also roots of insurgency related to forests or its products.

    In Jammu and Kashmir illegal felling may be one source of funds for insurgents . At times the anti- nationals elements generate a discourse on logging by the state to bring in the green agenda and thus grab international attention. The Indian Army through its Operation Sadbhavana has a green mission wherever possible. However there is a serious environmental degradation in Kashmir valley due to changes in rainfall and snow patterns, neglect of wetlands and pollution due to urbanisation. The deteriorating state of the Dal lake is a case in point . Forests that is not only in quantity but quality are important for the water recycling regime.

    In naxal affected forest region the relationship is more direct. Tribals depend not only on trees or forests but also on forest related products such as mahua , tendu leaf, etc. Their cultural and livelihood practices are related to NTFP (No timber forest product). The naxal struggle is one manifestation of the clash of perceptions on forest and mineral wealth pitted against the needs of an industrialising India.