It has been a carrot and stick policy of the NDA Government in J&K. There is no let up in offensive against militants, yet the ‘healing touch policy’ has been going hand-in-hand
In his Independence Day speech, the 71st for India, PM Narendra Modi reiterated that he was committed to making Kashmir a paradise again. He, like other PMs, before him, too stated that the Kashmir problem cannot be resolved by bullets or brickbats but it can be resolved by embracing Kashmiris. However, the difference this time was that PM Modi, unlike in the past, was making this statement from the position of strength, rather than weakness.
Numbers rarely lie. Consider this, in the three-year-period between 2011 and 2013, when the UPA government was in power at the Centre, 239 terrorists were killed in J&K by the security forces. However, between 2014 and July 2017, 463 of them have been killed, with the
maximum number of 150 being eliminated in 2016. This year the number has already crossed 100 and is expected to rise even further. Those who were eliminated include the so called poster boys of “separatism”, Burhan Wani and most recently Abu Dujana. The latest intelligence inputs confirm that the fear of being killed has led to these terrorists to go into hiding and are waiting for more ‘reinforcement’ from Pakistan.
Similarly, the fact that the United States of America administration too, has now openly come out against Pakistan, for continuing to provide safe refuge to terrorist leaders who are acting against India, has also reinforced PM Modi’s position as a leader who is willing to take tough action against terrorism rather than wait for things to normalize by their own.
When union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while addressing the media in March, said that the government was working towards a permanent solution to Kashmir problem, he could not have been more forthcoming regarding what was Modi government’s road map towards the seven decades old problem.
The permanent solution that the government is looking at, when you consider the steps that it has taken ever since coming to power, especially since July 2016 when Burhan Wani was killed which led to large scale violence in the valley, is to break the very back bone of the separatist groups and the terror groups.
It is very important to differentiate between the two. The separatist groups, that work under the umbrella of All Party Hurriyat Conference, for long, have portrayed themselves as the voice of the local Kashmiris. The successive government, too, has allowed them illegitimate space in the valley which ultimately led to this monster becoming bigger with every passing winter.
It is a well-documented fact that till very recently, the union governments were officially spending Rs 100 crore per year to take care of the separatist leaders. And this amount is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The huge amount of money, that the Intelligence agencies showered on these leaders to keep them ‘happy’ since the late 80s till now, will never be known.
However, the Modi government, no doubt encouraged by the massive electoral support it has got all over the country and the fact that it is expected to be comparatively more ‘assertive’ in the way it works, is finally tackling the over ground workers (the separatists) and the
terrorists head on.
Unless and until the ‘shop’ of these APHC leaders, who were brought into existence to give legitimacy to the demands of the gun totting terrorists, is shut down, Kashmir can never become completely normal.
The policy of killing the terrorists, till the last one of them is eliminated, is fine but more important is to hurt the separatist groups who carry out their agenda without any fear while acting on the script supplied to them by some of our friends in Pakistan.
The “Healing touch policy”, which we have followed for so long in Kashmir, without any major success, can be restarted when the terrorist and the separatists have been wounded fatally and that too it needs to be applied to the ordinary Kashmiris, who are more concerned regarding the future of their school going children rather than those who rush to the encounter sites to help the terrorists escape.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been given the mandate to function as the nodal agency to dismantle the separatist political groups, has shown that how these groups, under the guise of political parties, were actually working as hawala agents and as the Indian agents of Pakistan’s external spy agency, the ISI, whose sole function is to bleed India with thousand cuts.
The Kashmir ‘problem’ has been deliberately allowed to linger on by political parties, especially the Congress, which assumed that taking action against the separatist leaders would hurt its electoral dividends.
The Modi government, as the last 3 years indicate, will make sure that the Kashmir problem is solved once and for all and for that, it is willing to do things that the other governments have been scared to do.
(The writer is Delhi-based journalist)