The Kashmir Conondrum
We have had a lot of discussion on this blog, in earlier days about Kashmir and the perennial problem it is for the Indian state.
Now that the central government is pumping in a INR 80,000 crore package for the Kashmiris, plus the usual flow of tax payers’ money for security reasons, they have received an excellent feedback from people of the state.
By openly supporting the death of a commander of a terrorist organization, the people of Kashmir have clearly shown where their loyalties lay. And they do not look at all at par with the Indian state.
That leaves a very uncomfortable question for the Indian polity of the day. What to do with Kashmir at this stage? Is pumping money blindly and empowering the armed forced really going to work?
This is plainly the strategy that everyone who has ruled in Delhi has followed. While militancy has weakened due to a strong army, hostility between the army and locals is only increasing. An army is not really a diplomatic machine or a NGO type humanitarian. An Army is trained to act under tough conditions, face difficulties and take responsibility of security of people it does not know much about. Now to expect, that they should have probably cuddled and hugged a terrorist, then probably they should have pinched his cheeks and admonish him about his naughty behavior seems quite bizarre. Also strange is the fact that people of Kashmir have all the problems with Indian army, its government etc, but no problem in taking money most of which comes from hard earned money of the Indian tax payer.
In this scenario, where the political parties are themselves at loss as to how resolve this paradox, it is up to the rest of India to raise their voice. It seems now that the answer to the Kashmir issue would need to found deep in the conscience of the Indian middle class.
But plagued by its very own problems and a very self-centric attitude might not allow the Indian middle class to work on an effective answer.
Then how will the Kashmir puzzle be resolved? Better still, how long should we just keep paying a state who resents our presence just so that we can keep ignoring the problem instead of facing it?