The encouraging situation in Kashmir indicates that the hard work and sacrifice have paid good dividends. The challenge now lies in defeating those attempting to create mistrust and distrust
The year 2019 was of great significance for Jammu & Kashmir with certain path breaking policy decisions charting out new and more vibrant course for the region. With the security forces literally eliminating foreign sponsored terrorism, the NDA Government at the centre, in the month of August, took a dynamic and long pending decision of reorganising the state into two manageable Union Territories and considerable dilution of the divisive Article 370 and Article 35A.
There were many who had predicted total chaos and mayhem should the Government of India ever “dare” to tinker with Article 370. The chaos was nowhere to be seen. As part of damage control, these propagandists started terming the environment of peace as a “lull before the storm.” The Government had imposed certain restrictions in the wake of the reorganisation of the state, by “lull before the storm” the propagandists were implying that once the restrictions were lifted the entire region would erupt. Much to their dismay the restrictions were removed within a few days and the predicted upheaval did not take place. The naysayers and perpetual predictors of doom were left with egg on their collective faces.
It is now amply clear that false, propagandist narrative had created a policy paralysis in successive Governments and inhibited any effort to bring about much needed change in the political status of the state and its relationship with the rest of India. Despite all political parties being in agreement that removal of the divisive and temporary Article 370 was not only a constitutional imperative but also justifiable, no Government could muster the courage to do so, till the death knell stuck on August 5.
The aforementioned is reason enough to look deeply at the role played by the information domain in keeping alive regressive policies in the state. A small set of leftists, pseudo-intellectuals and bleeding hearts spread venomous and jaundiced narratives of divisiveness, hate and prejudice that had a devastating impact. Sadly, the unjust utterances were leveraged by the local leadership to keep the pot boiling in a manner that was beneficial for their own political existence. All of this was supported by unlimited funds coming from foreign shores.
Today also the idea of “lull before the storm” is not emanating from Kashmir. It is being given maximum traction by Pakistan and in support of the neighbouring country are, most unfortunately, some perfidious elements within India. Happily, the obdurate propaganda stands exposed by the fact that the people have, for many months now, gone about their work peacefully.
In their evil attempts to create a divide between the people of Kashmir and their fellow citizens in India the propagandists have been saying that Kashmir is being singularly targeted as a land where violent protest is a way of life and where the people are all anti-national.
The manner in which India has reacted to the mindless violence witnessed during the recent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) puts paid to the aforementioned line of argument. The attendant violence has been strongly criticised in all discussions and articulations. The fact that the violence was engineered by certain anti-national forces has been consistently highlighted by all security experts. All of the above establishes beyond doubt that India is quite ready to allow peaceful protest but violence in the course of such protest will not be tolerated, be it in Kashmir or any other part of the country. It should be noted that Kashmiri people are always looked upon as victims of the foreign sponsored violence, be it terrorism, stone-pelting or disruption of normal life.
The Kashmir people, therefore, need to be vigilant and wary about the evil designs of foreign funded propagandists. They should understand the evil design to isolate them from the rest of India. Nobody is denying them their legitimate right to protest and put across their point of view in a peaceful manner. They have full liberty to voice their concerns and their opinions. Being, vibrant and politically aware, they know what is good for them and what is not. They do not need the help of a faceless, treacherous set of people who have their own axe to grind; they should stand up and counter the shrill divisive rhetoric, provocative sloganeering and jaundiced writings.
Kashmir today is looking at an unprecedented era of peace and development. This reality is most apparent in the changing attitude of the youth, who are quite relieved at being rid of living under constant fear of retribution by foreign terrorists for not participating in the so-called Jihad and Azadi (freedom) movement. Now, the terrorists have no capability to force the Kashmiri youth onto the self destructive path of terrorism. The youth were also quite upset at not receiving any support from the local leadership which was quite content to play with both India and Pakistan due to certain vested interests, now these self serving leaders have been rendered powerless and there is space for a new and young leadership to emerge. The youth now are looking at the evolving situation with a fair degree of positivity and have become apathetic to the cult of terrorism, divisiveness and disruption.
After great sacrifice, the courageous people of Kashmir have defeated such forces that wished to annihilate their identity and their very existence. In the most difficult of times they rooted for democracy and a proud place within the Indian Nation. In this fight they were ably supported by the nation, especially the security forces. The Indian Army, in particular, shares a unique bond with the people created by common cause and common suffering. The encouraging situation in Kashmir indicates that the hard work and sacrifice has paid good dividends. The challenge now lies in defeating those attempting to create mistrust and distrust. Towards this end the Kashmir people have the complete support of the people of India, be it the politician, the intellectual, the strategist, the businessman or the common man. Undoubtedly, in 2020, the entire nation will work together to ensure that peace gains firm roots in the Jammu & Kashmir region and decisively defeat the propagandist forces spreading mistrust and divisiveness.