As Narendra Modi take oath as the country’s 15th Prime Minister, hopes and expectations from the new government has increased more than ever. The highest expectations are from the northern most state of India, Jammu-Kashmir. Here people belonging to almost every section of society have huge hopes from Modi Sarkar. Biggest hopeful are the displaced Kashmiri Hindus, refugees from Pakistan occupied Jammu-Kashmir (POJK), people of Ladakh and villagers of border area and from the people living in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The decision of Narendra Modi to invite Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in has brought mainstream political parties as well as separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir on the same page. They have welcomed the move and hope it would mark a new beginning in Indo-Pak relations.
In his swearing-in-ceremony, Narendra Modi invited the heads of SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) countries. This invitation raised the hope of greater cooperation among neighbouring countries which could restore peace in South Asia and could translate in better economic opportunities in future. Among all, the invitation to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif in the oath taking ceremony has proven to be most sanguine. International fraternity and the people on both sides have expressed their hope that soon peace will prevail in this region of south Asia. “I hope this will mark a new beginning in the ties between two countries. The people of Jammu-Kashmir are watching closely” twitted the Chief Minister of Jammu-Kashmir Omar Abdullah.
Riding on hopes generated by Lok Sabha results of the state, BJP is also expecting a winning majority in the coming Assembly election. PDP and BJP had won equal seats in the LS election. BJP swept all three seats from Jammu and Ladakh region and PDP had emerged victorious on all three seats of the Valley. By the end of this year, States are going for Assembly elections. Enthusiast over display in LS elections, BJP is hoping to come in power by utilizing the Modi’s charisma and PDP has expressed its hope in the slogan ‘Abki Bar Mufti Sarkar’.
In a rally in Jammu, a large number of displaced Indians from PoJK congratulated PM Narendra Modi and expressed the hope that the new Government at the Centre will perform duties honestly and will solve the long pending issue of displaced persons in 1947, 1965, 1971, the years when people were forced to vacate their houses and leave their ownership land due to wars between India and Pakistan.
People of Ladakh and border villages are hoping for development and peace in the respective borders. With some new and practical rehabilitation package and process, even Kashmiri Hindus are hopeful to return to their homes after 25 torturous years.
Separatists are also hoping that this meeting between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan can be a milestone in solving the problems of Kashmir. Chorus of “Solutions according to the wish of the people of JK” echoed in all the camps of separatists even when what the people of JK desire for is clearly visible in the state results of LS poll. “India and Pakistan must engage the people of JK as an active and true partner. For any lasting solution, Kashmiris must be involved” said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of Hurriyat Conference. Apart from separatists (who see radical Islamist and most wanted terrorist Hafiz Saeed as the savior of Kashmir) those keen in stock taking are the Kashmiris who dominate the government. In his unusual step of not meeting the separatists, Nawaz Sharif has acknowledged the above stated facts.
As an indicator of hope in the people of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), the Facebook status of Senge Hasnan Sering, an activist from GB valley who stays in Washington, U.S., read as “The people of these regions (Ladakh and GB) expect Nawaj Sharif and Narendra Modi to solve this chronic issue (opening of linkage roads between Ladakh and Gilgit-Baltistan) to the best interest of locals.
– Arvind(The writter is a researcher at J&K Study Center, New Delhi)