Home > 2018 > No to Jingoism and Strong-arm Tactics in J & K

Mainstream, VOL LVI No 27 New Delhi June 23, 2018

No to Jingoism and Strong-arm Tactics in J & K

Sunday 24 June 2018, by SC

EDITORIAL

As we go to press, the political scenario in J&K has undergone a radical change thanks to the acrobatics of the ruling party at the Centre, the BJP, which was sharing power in the country’s northernmost State with the PDP since March 1, 2015, that is, for almost three years and four months. What really happened? As The Times of India eloquently explained,

Wary of the rising unease in its support base in Jammu and other parts of the country, the BJP sought to refurbish its ‘Hindutva’ credentials by snapping ties with ally PDP to counter the perception that it had compromised its ideological commitment to unifying J&K with the mainland.

It is more than clear that the BJP rulers at the Centre, having no coherent policy-perspective on Kashmir and keen to project a course of hardline steps against Pakistan-sponsored terrorist acts in the Valley, decided to dump the PDP, break the ruling alliance in the State and return to Governor’s Rule, something which has not ensured smooth functioning of the State sans democracy in the past.

With its myopic approach, the BJP’s position, as spelt out by a senior party leader, is as follows:

“It wasn’t possible to continue (in the alliance with the PDP) in view of the general polls approaching. Breaking the alliance will send a positive message about the party that it didn’t compromise with national security.”

Actually what this means is a concession to jingoistic policies. The present BJP leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah wants immediate confrontation with Pakistan so that it can deal a heavy blow and give a bloody nose to Islamabad. But that is not possible as Pakistan, like India, is armed to the teeth with deadly nuclear weapons which our north-western neighbour would have no compunction to deploy if New Delhi launches a conventional military attack. So what India can do is just go for a variant of the “surgical strikes” it had conducted in the past in case it does not want to suffer heavy civilian casualties. But then how would Pakistan respond? If it responds in kind, casualties on both sides are bound to mount.

Now that brinkmanship seems to have taken over, anything can happen. But in the midst of all this what is unmistakable is former J&K CM and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti’s sane observation: “Muscular policy cannot run J&K.” (Incidentally this was also the position of slain Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari who thus laid emphasis on negotiation in place of confrontation.)

The Centre may not pay heed to such voices of reason and logic today but eventually it would have to come to the same realisation.

The question is: after how long? And at what price?

This is the time when democratic India must reassert itself and call for an all-out India-Pakistan dialogue on Kashmir fully abandoning the suicidal strong-arm tactics.

June 21                   S.C.

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