Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo
Recently, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir State Mehbooba Mufti while addressing a function at Police Training Centre in Kathua said that “militancy won’t end by killing militants……” I agree with the statement completely, but it needs a bit of elaboration in the context as to what “militants” and “militancy” means.
It has a very typical history and the international media played a big role in defining things in this perspective. The London based media represented by The Guardian, B.B.C and Reuters News Agency in context of Irish Republican Army rebellion against UK took a stand, some four decades earlier, not to call the rebellions as terrorists. This was guided by their own assessment and evaluation of the issue in relation to Ireland’s relationship with the UK. The sensitivities involved led them to believe ultimately that truce had to be affected and the media had a role. They played their role well in a historical context and finally truce was realised. But the baggage of calling the rebellions of Irish Republican Army, with guns in their hands, as ‘militants, gunmen, guerrillas etc.’ continued in other cases as well sans the PLO (which also embraced truce almost the same period). Thus it had an impact on the media worldwide and the political class in the seventies and eighties of the last century followed suit. In fact, it suited the Indian political class well keeping in view their political arithmetic in their respective areas.
In the Indian context, Terrorism had taken over space in the eighties but the politicians felt shy of calling the terrorists as terrorists and instead called them militants, gunmen and even the mis-guided youth. In practical terms, the people of India were made to understand and believe that militants and terrorists are one and the same thing. The people generally believed as such. So when Mehbooba ji referred to ‘Militants’ it actually meant “Terrorists active in the Kashmir valley who caused death and destruction over the last three decades”.
The government at the Centre has since changed, so has the policy in regard to terrorism also changed. Over the last two years, the results are before us. The security forces have played their role in a big way and have brought changes by means of strategies, struggle and sacrifices. Besides the Army and the paramilitary forces, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has also come on the forefront and achieved glory. Asking the J&K Police to “take the role of parenting and counselling….” is a tall order and it de facto means absolving the social, political and religious leadership of its role as the guardian of the society. “Parenting and Counselling” the so-called misguided teenagers and youth is the job of the society’s leadership and it cannot afford to hide behind the security forces. These are the people who will have to come forward and make people understand the futility of what has been done for the last three decades in the Kashmir valley. Frankly speaking, security forces have a limited role and so has the Police. It has its own limitations and it is playing its role efficiently and effectively.
Emphasis on humane approach is a good line and rhetoric but the political narrative has also to change, though changes have started taking place. It needs to improve at a faster rate.
Militancy is basically a state of mind and terror and terrorism are its effective instruments. Genocide is a design while ethnic cleansing and forced mass exodus are the net results of the State of Mind. Yes, by killing terrorists, the militancy, that is the state of mind, will not end. The state of mind has taken birth from fundamentalism, fanaticism, self-righteousness, hatred and acrimony, the feeling of majoritarianism and a delink from the civilizational past. Here it is important to bring the historical context of the issue into picture. All historical documents of Kashmir suggest em-pathetically that whatever happened in Kashmir after the fall of Queen Kota Rani in 1339 was done by the despotic foreign rulers and their religious advisers in the valley. But the rise of the majority community against the minority community in the valley was a new phenomenon introduced by the Muslim Conference post 1930. The carnage of 1931 against the Hindu minorities in Kashmir is a glaring example of this phenomenon. Pakistan was not in the picture at that point of time, this Mehbooba ji knows as a student of history and politics. I appreciate her admission that it is a long way to go and thus there is no case simply to hide behind the security forces, I reiterate.
Political leadership needs to leave hypocrisy and tell people frankly as to what is possible and what is not. Let it be told to the common people that there is no mandate to anyone to discuss or negotiate the secession of any part of the state. Let it be told to the people in general that they have been be-fooled by the past leaders over the last six decades when they were hinted about some “plebiscite, azaadi, self-determination or Pakistan”. It was a facade to hoodwink their opinion and be seated, comfortably, in the seat of power. Mehbooba ji has proved that she has guts; she can speak and can speak with command. This was proved in the legislature last time when she brought “pigeons and cats” argument to the fore. It irritated many but she stood the ground. Moreover, she has the confidence of the Prime Minister as well. Let her take a lead to tell people that past baggage of futile ideas has no relevance and the Parliament of India stands committed to the 1994 resolution on Jammu and Kashmir state. Narendra Modi is in command and has legislative and political legitimacy. Many things are going to happen politically speaking and the next tenure of Modi will determine the direction of the nation for the decades to come. The whole world looks up to him. Islamic states have better relations with India under Modi and Pakistan stands isolated even in the assortment of Islamic world. The Kashmiri populace needs to be told that UN resolution on Kashmir is an outdated and irrelevant piece of paper which the UN Secretary Generals have consistently called as “out of Agenda” and “time barred”.
So far as the social and religious situation of Kashmir valley is concerned, the society stands almost completely radicalised. The CM has a big agenda to de-radicalise the society in the valley. Almost everything pertaining to daily life stands changed in Kashmir. Even the geography has changed. The responsible political and social leadership needs to speak truth loudly, freely and fearlessly in order to write a new history which can create new vistas for people in general. One day, I am sure……..Militancy, the state of mind, will have to douse.
(The author is the President of Panun Kashmir)
Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo