Every Indian will feel disturbed by the “open threats”, held out to Kashmiri students by activists of the ABVP, VHP and Bajrang Dal in Dehradun, following the Fidayeen attack against the CRPF convoy at Pulwama. We surely understand the people’s anger and anguish at what happened in Pulwama on February 14. But we must not commit new mistakes which could make our Kashmiri brothers and sisters feel further alienated from the mainstream, to the advantage of gun-totting militants.
We must draw a line between Pak-sponsored terrorists in the Valley and ordinary Kashmiris, including students studying in Dehradun and elsewhere in the country. They are part of our official efforts to make young Kashmiris feel at home at places of their studies anywhere in India. The “open threats” and protests by certain Sangh Parivar segments will defeat the very purpose of grooming young Kashmiri students for better career ahead as Indian citizens.
I also do not approve of the decision by two Dehradun colleges not to admit Kashmiri students from the new academic session. This will only add to the “strength” and “nuisance value” of separatists and terrorist outfits in the Valley.
As it is, the challenges ahead are quite formidable. We have to face them firmly but with an open mind and in a determined manner. The pleas for instant retribution need patience. This is not a magic formula. Only sustained strategic global pressure on Pakistan could work to change its mindset.
Meanwhile, what has come as a big shocker to me on Tuesday (February 19) was the loaded remark of Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy to “boycott Kashmir and Kashmiris economically”.
How could he come out with such an obnoxious suggestion, bordering on anti-national syndrome? Has Roy forgotten that he is holding a high constitutional position as governor of the strategic of Meghalaya in the North-east?
He is supposed to be an upholder of the Constitution and its propriety. Has he forgotten that Kashmir and Kashmiris are an inalienable part of India? How can we disown a section of our own people simply because of Pak-sponsored terrorist acts in the Valley?
The Governor cannot take shelter under what a retired Colonel told him: “Don’t go to Amarnath for the next 2 years. Don’t buy articles from Kashmir emporia or Kashmiri tradesmen”. Instead of putting the ex-Colonel on the right path, Governor Roy says on twitter, “I am inclined to agree”.
What a shame! How can we allow such a governor to continue in office? The President of India must sack him. At stake is the Nation’s honour and prestige. We must not look “small” before our own Kashmiris who are part of us during this difficult time.
Coming back to the main subject, I am of the view in the first place that the South Block must start thinking along new lines, out-of-box policies and strategies on Pakistan’s avatar as a terrorist state. China apart, ironically enough, it is getting economic boost from rich Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia such supporting states of Pakistan must be made to realise that terrorism is a double-edged weapon. It could turn against its very patrons.
Equally relevant is the evolution of new socio-economic and political thinking, policies and strategies to reverse the process of alienation of growing numbers of people in the Valley. We, of course do not yet know as to what exactly makes the people feel alienated.
One reason for terrorism in the Valley is encounters which “kill” their near and dear ones who take to guns in the widening terror network of JeM and others from across the border.
True, over the years political and administrative mismanagement has mainly been responsible for the alienation of the people in the Valley. Even their legitimate grievances have been left unattended for too long by successive governments. Apparently, this is the time to look within and learn from mistakes in governing the sensitivities of the state.
We have to revamp and strengthen our intelligence network, keeping in view wider network of Pakistan’s network of Pakistan’s ISI. India’s intelligence agencies have to run on professional lines and not in a personalized manner to give domestic political inputs to the powers-that-be.
The country does not need knee-jerk reactions, but a national security doctrine – clear red lines – as retired Chief of Naval Staff Arun Prakash has suggested in his write-up (Indian Express, Feb 18).
To quote him, “We remain deficient in intelligence-analysis, inter-agency coordination, and, above all, a national security doctrine. Having created an elaborate national security framework, post-Pokhran II, India has strangely shied away from promulgating a doctrine. Apart from diplomatic and economic steps that are being initiated, the current juncture would be apt for the urgent promulgation of a security-cum-defence doctrine. Such a document whose public version defines India’s vital interests, aims and objectives will not only become the basis for strategy formulation, contingency-planning and evolution of SOP’s, but also send a reassuring message to our public”.
I agree with Arun Prakash. The moot point, however is: Who will bell the cat? It is a pity the country these days is guided more by personal and party politics rather than rational and national thinking.