Post 2016 summer unrest, the challenges faced by Kashmiris have multiplied manifold. It has put the separatist leadership under tremendous pressure. The mantra and the strategy of hartals have failed as far as ground situation of the valley is concerned. The onus of current turmoil is on the leadership that made people believe in now or never theory. The refusal to meet few members of the All Party Delegation of Indian Parliamentarians last year backfired; people now understand that almost after one year, New Delhi forced the same separatist leadership to suggest an unconditional dialogue process by allowing the top 3 leaders to meet in front of the same door that was closed down when Indian MPs came to meet them.
Undoubtedly, as usual, our leaders are caught in a Catch 22 situation where they actually don’t know what is coming next.
People here need to understand the statements that have hit the media centers from last few months. Initially, India dropped/skipped the rants of ‘Integral Part’ while offering talks. Pakistani Army chief followed the same by calling for a political solution to Kashmir issue without calling it the ‘Jugular Vein’ and at the same time, Hurriyat reciprocated with the same tone. Therefore, time has come to address people without bias and let us tell them the tenets of this unconditional dialogue for if there is a breakthrough of any nature, people here will not call it a sell out. The need is to take people on board and unequivocally make them understand that there is no cosmetic or immediate solution to Kashmir issue in offing.
A dispute at mohalla level takes months and years to resolve, and ours is a dispute concerning two nuclear giants, whose national interests are shaped by hatred and hostility for each other. We need to understand the few hard hitting realities: what if India and Pakistan refuse to talk to each other for next 10 decades; what if world powers continue to show their tilt towards India for economic interests for the next 10 decades? Does it mean we should keep dying every now and then; we should continue our strategy of Hartals; or continue boycotting elections and pave way for the right-wing sponsored candidates to take over the affairs of the State?
I believe New Delhi is working on the plan to control and administer Jammu and Kashmir for the next 100 years and we are busy reacting through protests. The future challenges are going to be gigantic in nature. We need to prepare our plans and strategies today and not when the enemy hits us right in our head. We need to be prepared to counter the demands of “separate statehood” for Jammu post 2020. We need to be on tenterhooks as the demand for “union territory status” to Ladakh may gain momentum. It is necessary to devise a strategy now as our tallest leaders were unaware of “economic integration of Kashmir with India” as New Delhi called it after the implementation of GST in J&K. We cannot change our fate by issuing statements from Bungalows and cages if multi-pronged and multi-faceted strategy is the need of the hour.
We, as a nation, must chalk out a plan to save lives and energies of our youth. It is not always necessary to die for the cause; we need to learn to live for the cause.
The writer is from Baramulla and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, the views expressed in the article are authors personnel.