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Kashmir: Is There A Way Out?
|by Sanjeev Sinha|
Kashmir is a tragedy of errors. What was obviously and substantially a political issue, viz., aggression by Pakistan, was mistakenly taken to be a legal one, and, to make confusion worse confounded, it was taken to a political forum for resolution when a few more days of resolute military action would have ended the story forever. Naturally, the UN resolutions and the UNCIP followed, and, it has now become a quagmire in which a pretentious group of blind men are floundering. To cap it all, Ms. Robin Raphel, against all cannons of diplomacy, chooses openly to question the validity of the Instrument of Accession – not that such a gaffe really matters.
At the moment when Pakistani aggressors crossed over into J&K territory, that territory constituted what was technically a sovereign state. The ruler had every right to seek assistance from a neighbor, and that neighbor, India, was perfectly within its rights to render that assistance under such terms and conditions as were mutually agreed upon. Where, in all this, is a role for Pakistan, except as the accused in the dock? That is precisely the role that the rulers of India never clearly cast Pakistan in. Every succeeding step compounded the original error, with the result that at present, the government appears not to know what to do, unwilling to do what ought to be done, and as substitutes for objectives and policy, it talks vaguely about a nebulous thing, viz., "political process". So far as can be made out, this "political process" does not mean anything other than bringing the same corrupt and incompetent politicians back to power- politicians who are all self-appointed Field Marshals whose troops have deserted them for ever.
The central fact that all must recognize is that what is happening in the Valley today is the implementation of an international conspiracy hatched by militant fundamentalist Islam, in which Pakistan participates as a willing tool. Only an irredeemable simpleton would hope that Pakistan can be negotiated out of its deliberate embroilment in Kashmir. It cannot get out even if it wanted to. This fact points the way to the solution.
Only an imbecile would characterize the militants in the valley as "misguided youth". Only a bigger imbecile would say that most of them are unwilling participants. Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of the phenomenon of terrorism or armed insurgency knows that in any such
It is necessary, therefore, to shed all shibboleths and face the stern fact that in the Valley is being enacted the preliminaries of the dismemberment and destruction of this country by militant fundamentalist Islam. It is imperative not to think of the militants as Muslims, beloved of the gods. They are simply insurgents and must be treated as such. Neither law nor morality recognizes any rights for them, civil or otherwise. Our so-called "progressive" intellectuals cried themselves hoarse over the rights of the Palestinians to return to their homes. Why is there such a deafening silence from them over the rights of the Kashmiris who have been the victims of "ethnic cleansing" and forced to leave their homes? Is it because they are mostly Hindus?
It is worse than idiocy to peddle the idea of "talks" with the militants. Talks can produce results only if both sides have the same objective in view. Does this identity of objective exist in the Valley? It does not. There is no point in piling up failure upon failure.
What then is to be done? The first thing to do is to make up one's mind and the mind can now settle upon only one objective, viz, total elimination of the militants, no matter how many heads have to roll, how much the cost is. Pakistan will never willingly stop meddling in Kashmir. Therefore, it must be bled white in and around Kashmir, i.e. make it so expensive for Pakistan in terms of blood and money that it will eventually be forced to choose between giving up its lunatic ambitions and committing suicide. If Israel can carry out air-strikes against terrorist encampments in Lebanon with the rest of the world not giving two hoots about it, there is no reason why we cannot do the same to the training camps in POK and Pakistan itself. The moment Pakistan is convinced that we shall not shrink from using the most effective strong-arm methods, it will come to its senses. It understands the logic of the big stick. One does not have to shout all this from house-tops. There are other means to get the message across.
The refugees from Kashmir, all 300,000 of them, both Hindus and Muslims - have the inalienable rights to go back to their homes in the same country. They can exercise that right only if the benighted political leadership ceases to think about vote-bank politics, and acts in accordance with the ethic of responsibility that attaches to those in power. Should they fail the people, the people may be forced to act on their own. After all, who is there to stop a People's March to the Valley or a nation-wide demand for a complete demographic restructuring of the Valley?
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