Refocusing Peace Process

Unfortunately, the 2008 elections and the consequent installation of NC-Congress government found itself in the middle of nowhere as far as pushing forward the peace process goes. This was partly expected in view of the suspension of the peace process in the aftermath of 26/11 tragedy.
A change of guard with Omar Abdullah as head of the political executive had evoked tremendous optimism both at the level of the civil society, intelligentsia and common people. However, the hopes were dashed with unfolding of certain sorry events and accidents, one after the other. The greatest tragedy was rape and killing of two women at Shopian. It was immediately found that Shopian tragedy is not and cannot be a uni-dimensional problem. The tragedy unfolded certain sharp edges as far as successful culmination of internal track of the peace process is concerned.
First, the civilian-military relationship in J&K and more particularly in Kashmir will remain a matter of concern for a long time. The disproportionate presence of the forces and the renewed peoples assertion and rightist based mobilization suggests that the relationship between security grid and politically assertive population needs to be redefined. What can immediately be done is relocating the forces and doing away with all draconian laws.
Second, the Shopian tragedy amply reveals the role of spoilers. In all conflict situations around the world, spoilers do operate either autonomously or in connivance with certain elements of the state. The lesson to be learnt is how to isolate the spoilers and neutralise the peace process from their influence.
Third, separatists immediately after the elections made it clear that Indian state cannot dillydally on the process of engaging them into a dialogue. In fact, resuming the dialogue process with the separatists was one of the dominant issues during campaigning. Hence, the Shopian tragedy also suggests that no purpose will be served if the state continues to deny space to the separatist leadership. Any disruption of dialogue process will induce alienation.
Fourth, the roundtable conferences and recommendations that four Working Groups had the capacity to build up the confidence of the people of J&K. The working groups ranged from good governance to protecting the human rights of the people of the state. It would be a service not only to the cause of peace process but to the nation building as well if these recommendations are implemented.
Lastly, the tragedy unequivocally reads as the people’s confidence and assertion to uphold not only their identity but their dignity as well. The opening up of the peace process has allowed the Kashmir civil society to intervene as far as social and economical landscape of the state is concerned. The youth have already taken the initiative in their hands to write in bold letters to resolve their commitment towards redefining the goals of the political movement and all right thinking people within and outside J&K must reflect on what is passing on.


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