Experiments to resolve Kashmir Problem can come at heavy cost

Jammu and Kashmir is passing through the most difficult times ever since 1947. Both the Central and state governments have listed restoration of peace and initiation of dialogue to find a “permanent and lasting solution,” to the problem which has manifested itself on the streets. The situation is volatile, but this should not result in a scramble for steps that may do more harm than good to the state.
This state is not like any other state in the country because of its geo-strategic location, varying demographic compositions in different parts and colliding political aspirations. Lack of consistency and a yearning for experiments in the past has brought the situation to this pass, which may subside, but the deep scars will be visible all the time unless a devoted approach to resolve the issue(s) is adopted.
Certain overt and covert moves are on to destablise the state, one of them being the demand for imposition of Governor’s rule in the state. First of all, that is not a panacea for the problems with which the state is faced today. The government, howsoever marginalised at the moment because of the unrest, is there because the people had voted for it. This is not the time to undermine the government because it is not getting the results it was expected to. No government has an agenda to see the deaths and injuries of its own people.
Mehbooba Mufti government is sandwiched. It is being teased for reversing the “healing touch” policy in its action against stone-throwing protesters — killing, injuring, blinding them. All its commitments of restoring peace with dignity and protector of Kashmir’s identity are being mocked at with taunts of all sorts. On the other hand, it is under pressure to control crowds and take action against instigators of the trouble.
A look at some of the events and utterances of PDP leaders, including the Chief Minister, have added to the confusion — whether it is to deal with the troublemakers in the manner they deserved to be dealt with or its reinventing of its political mantras by “seeking time to work and deliver for the first Kashmiri Muslim woman Chief Minister” from Syed Ali Shah Geelani — widely reckoned as the unyielding leader out to get “India out of Kashmir”. But still, it deserves to stay on for any other alternative will be bringing more disaster. Kashmir history is evidence of that.
Time and again, for the past two years, and particularly during the present crisis, media speculations have been rife that Governor NN Vohra is being replaced. Several names have cropped up as his potential successors. Vohra, who is a seasoned bureaucrat, is an expert at handling difficult situations, like he did by resolving the 2008 Amarnath land row agitation, which had brought the state to the brink of disintegration on religious and regional lines. He reversed that disaster and offered his services and advice in defusing the 2010 unrest.
Thereafter, his role in helping people during the 2014 floods and later, while handling affairs of the state during Governor’s rule following the death of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed are events that gave new direction to the state. Currently, when the state is faced with such a serious situation, it will be better for the Centre to scotch these speculations because any experiment at this stage will be repeating the mistakes of the past.