People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 26, 2010



J&K: Tangible CBMs Must Follow


FINALLY, an all-party delegation  visited Jammu & Kashmir on September 20-21.  This has come after a hundred days of disturbances  and confrontation in the Kashmir valley which  consumed 108 young lives – victims of firing by security forces.  Soon after the disturbances broke out on June 11, the CPI(M) had demanded the convening of an all-party meeting and sending of an all-party delegation to Kashmir.  This was reiterated in the parliamentary discussion on August 6, where the government was urged to take these steps before the holy month of Ramzan began.  The government had then argued that these steps and the political process of dialogue and discussion will begin only when normalcy has been restored.  The point made in these columns repeatedly was that the undertaking of such steps was essential to strengthen the process of restoring normalcy.  The government’s refusal to consider this at that time has only contributed in escalating tensions and heaping greater misery and agony on innocent people. 


By meeting a large cross section of the people and political parties in both Srinagar and Jammu, the parliamentary delegation conveyed its solidarity with the people of the state and shared their agony of sufferings.  The principal appeal to all sections of the people and political leadership was to first, join together in restoring normalcy and peace and to resolve all issues of dispute through talks and negotiations.  It was in this spirit that certain members of the delegation met various separatist leaders in Kashmir, who declined the invitation to meet the delegation, asking them to join the efforts to restore normalcy and save the lives of innocent youth and the consequent misery being imposed on the people.  This unprecedented `out of the box’ step was aimed at conveying to the people of Kashmir the sincerity of the elected Indian political leadership in reaching out to all sections and all `shades of opinion’ in order to restore normalcy and provide relief from the present miseries and agonies.    The unanimous 1994 resolution declaring Jammu & Kashmir as an integral part of India defined the parliamentary delegations’ approach. 


The interactions with various cross sections of the people in Srinagar and the visit to the hospitals revealed the deep degree of alienation of the people  in the valley.  In these columns last week, we had detailed the concrete steps that need to be undertaken.  The Left parties had, earlier at the all-party meeting convened by the government, presented a set of demands that need to be urgently implemented.  None of these have been considered for implementation till date.  This only adds to the growing `trust deficit’ and `governance deficit’ amongst the people.  These measures must be urgently  addressed in order  to reverse the growing trend of alienation among the people in Kashmir. 


While the representations made before the delegation in Jammu revealed the widespread feeling of a `Kashmir-centric approach’ of the central government at the expense of neglecting the Jammu and Ladakh regions, the visit by some members of the delegation to the camps of the displaced Kashmiri pandits revealed  the other aspect of the agonies of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.  Having forced to leave the valley 21 years ago, many of these families do not have a permanent roof over their head till date.  All the promises and packages announced by the central and the state governments have remained largely unfulfilled.  The agonies and the sufferings of the Kashmiri pandits and other displaced people need to be urgently addressed. 


The harmonious cohabitation of the pandits and the Muslims in the Kashmir valley for centuries has been one of the strongest foundational pillars of the syncretic civilisational ethos that defines India.  The rupture of this harmony  is, thus, designed to destroy the soul of the `idea of India’ – the modern secular democratic Republic. 


Therefore, the need to urgently tackle these problems and restore normalcy is not only required for relieving the people of their agonies and sufferings in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, it is also required to strengthen the consolidation of our modern secular Republic. 


This visit of the parliamentary delegation must result in some tangible confidence building measures that the central and the state governments must undertake.  The specific measures suggested by the Left parties, as reported in these columns last week, must form the basis.  At the least, the central government must initiate action against those members of the security forces against whom charges of excesses have been proved by the CBI or other agencies.  Further, a review of all political prisoners languishing in jail must be undertaken and those without substantive charges against them could be released.