A lot of column inches have been written by people from all sides regarding the “solution” to Kashmir. I would also like to put my thoughts on the same. I am an unabashed Right Wing Indian Hindu Nationalist. I will give my solution from a right-wing perspective.
These days it is fashionable for the left liberals to say that Modi govt is making Kashmir situation worse and they should go for “talks” with all stakeholders. My simple counter question is that Modi came to power in 2014 before that for 10 long years it was so called “secular” govt in India. What was the benefit form all the “talks” they did with Hurriyat, Pakistan and the Separatists? If “talks” could lead to a solution then it would have happened. As Albert Einstien said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Talks have failed for 25 years (1989-2014) There is no point in continuing for 25 more years
It is now time to change the dynamics of the game. We should shift the gears. To give a cricketing analogy it is time to get out of languid test mode and into the slam bang T-20 mode.
We need to do the following things to have a meaningful outcome based strategy
- Define the red lines– India has some red lines. The structure of these are broadly known. Now it is time to put them on the table in a crystal clear manner. The biggest redline of India is that Independence for Kashmir is unequivocally ruled out. The second red line is no referendum in Kashmir. Short of these two things India is willing to discuss any other issue
- Define the Stakeholders– The next obvious thing is to define who exactly are the stakeholders for the talks and solution. Who is a stakeholder flows from India’s redlines. Since referendum and independence is out of question that automatically rules out Pakistan as a stakeholder as far as India’s internal matter of Kashmir is concerned. Any talks with Pakistan should be related to cross border terrorism and the return of PoK. Similarly, if the separatists are not able to accept India’s redlines then there is no benefit of talking to them. We should talk to only those who are willing to discuss within the red lines.
A stakeholder should also be a representative of the people. Just by saying that you are a “leader” does not prove anything. The true leadership is proven by the EVM. If you are truly the representative of the people then you should fight and win elections. If the people follow you then they will vote for you. So, the true stakeholder for any talks will only be an elected representative of the people
- Peaceful Atmosphere– We should call out the bluff of the so-called stakeholders. Are they actually interested in the peaceful solution or not? To do that they should demonstrate their commitment to peace. Any talks will take place if and only if there is complete peace for a minimum period of 6 month. There should be no violence, no stone pelting, no militant attacks for 6 months and then we will come to the negotiation table. If any violence takes place then the talks are off the table.
Any solution to the problem obviously must include some concession from our side. So, India should propose the following:
- Elections to choose the representatives – India has said that the talks will be held only with the actual representatives of the people. To facilitate this, India should say that if there is no violence for a period of 6 months then the govt will step down and fresh elections will be held under international supervision. The separatist leaders will be given full freedom to contest these elections. If and when they win they can take part in talks
- Withdrawal of Army – A big CBM will be the proposal to withdraw the army from the urban areas. Army will stay in their barracks outside the cities. They will be called into action if and only if there is any violent incident. The law and order situation will be handled by J&K police and CRPF. The corollary is that if there is violence and stone pelting then the Army will be given full freedom to do whatever it takes to stop the violence. And as already stated – any violence will automatically end the possibility of talks
The Govt of India should publicly announce these conditions and concessions. Anyone willing to work within this framework should be called for talks and the solution to the problem should be found.
Now that the carrot has been shown it is time for the stick
- Stricter action against Stone Pelters – There should be stricter action against stone pelting. If the stone pelting is disrupting an Army Operation against militants then ther should be full freedom for the army to use whatever means necessary to achieve their task even if it means use of live bullets.
- Parents responsible for children stone pelting – If any children are found to be indulging in stone pelting they should be sent to juvenile homes and their parents should also be brought in for questioning. Put pressure on both parties and see the result.
- Freeze of bank accounts and withdrawal of security of separatists – the bank accounts of all Hurriyat leaders should be frozen and the security given to them withdrawn if there is any incident of violence or if they give any calls for violence.
- No House arrest but jail – Instead of keeping Hurriyat leaders in house arrest they should be jailed – not in Srinagar but in Delhi.
- Monitoring of Friday Sermons – there should be strict monitoring and video graphing of Friday sermons to see if there are calls for violence. The imams must be held responsible for what happens in the sermon.
A strict Carrot and stick policy with no pandering to left liberal human rights brigade will bring an end to the Kashmir issue like it did in case of Punjab