The death of eight Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans is yet another sad reminder that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is so far from normal that we see normalcy as a situation of a few deaths every now and then.
It's time for some serious introspection. New Delhi seems to have internalised the make believe construct that the terrorism and violence, an everyday feature of life in Jammu and Kashmir is entirely a consequence of Pakistan's war by other means. If that were entirely true it would have been quite easy to sort out. We have enough power with some to spare to settle the problem posed by Pakistan once and for all.
The situation in the troubled state is mostly a result of the widespread disenchantment with the idea of India there. Our short-sighted policies have mostly made this one of Hindu-Muslim dynamics.
We cannot live with the notion that the situation does not have widespread support among the people of the state.
The problem has been further aggravated by the cynical policies of the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo which has made minority-bashing the centrepiece of their political ambitions.
|The situation in the troubled state is mostly a result of the widespread disenchantment with the idea of India there.|
To think and act as if their overtly sectarian endeavours will not further aggravate the terrible situation in Jammu and Kashmir is not only naive but downright unpatriotic.
We need to implement policies that will strengthen the state government and give it a free hand on dealing with the discontent and violence.
Central forces cannot behave like an occupation army but must be an instrument of the state government's efforts to fight insurgency. Remember, the law says that Central forces can only be brought in to aid local authorities and act under their authority.
Prime Minister Modi and Union home minister Rajnath Singh must act decisively to improve the state government's position and power to tackle the insurgency.
First of all, we must get rid of the doddering old durbari who is still the governor there. We must have a person with deeper knowledge of the local situation and someone who can convincingly advise the state government. There are many such people.
I consider Lt Gen(retd) Ata Hasnain, who was the Corps Commander of the 25 corps headquartered at Badami Bagh, as probably the best person to take over as the Jammu and Kashmir governor now. He has had a very successful tenure and enjoys a lot of goodwill in the state. He has the stature to rein in the Central forces and influence their operations.
I would also restore the Unified Command headed by the chief minister to take charge of the efforts to quell militancy.
New Delhi must get out of its day-to-day micromanagement and constant undermining of a constitutionally and popularly elected state government.
(This post first appeared in Mohan Guruswamy's Facebook page.)