The Kashmir mess

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Mayank Goel, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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It appears now that post Assembly elections 2014, Jammu & Kashmir has been in constant turmoil. Waving Pakistani and ISIS flags on every Friday has almost become a ritual. For any reason and even for no reason protests are being carried out.
Recent Handwara case is the best example. Here the victim girl has already said that she was molested by two local boys yet protests against Indian Army is not stopping. Violent protests had already taken five lives. I think there are two factors, which might be responsible for this.

BJP-PDP government is not accepted

To understand this we must visit the wide gap between the two regions in the state i.e. JK valley. Kashmir remained dominant since its accession to India. Kashmir is Muslim majority region where as Jammu is Hindu majority region. Kashmir valley although have around 15.73 per cent area of the state but it has 53.9 per cent population.

Jammu on the other hand has 25.93 per cent area of the state and has a population of 43.7 per cent. For some unknown reasons Kashmir valley is made politically strong. It has 46 seats compared to Jammu’s 37 seats. As the total number of seats in the assembly is 87 and half way mark is 44, thus Kashmir valley always remains politically dominant. That’s why Jammu region has become highly discriminated one.

If one compares development parameters between JK valley, one will find that Jammu is trailing in every index and parameters. That’s why the trust deficit between the two regions have become very deep over the years. If one see the two latest incidents he or she can understand how the two regions are standing exactly opposite. In NIT Srinagar case Jammu stood for non-Kashmiri students and opposed Kashmir’s stand against non-Kashmiri students. In Handwara case Kashmir valley is protesting against the Indian Army with no reason where as the Jammu region is standing with the Indian Army.

During the assembly elections, Jammu region voted overwhelmingly to BJP wishing that it can end discrimination against the Jammu region. On the other hand Kashmir valley voted strongly in favour of PDP in a bid to not allow BJP to come into the power because of its stand on J&K. BJP in fact became highest vote-getter with 23 per cent votes, 0.3 per cent votes more than the PDP. However PDP became the largest party with 28 seats and BJP became second largest party with 25 seats. Of all types of combination of government formation, BJP-PDP combination is the worst both ideologically and regional sentiment wise.

Jammu region never liked PDP and BJP is never liked by Kashmir region. Thus both BJP and PDP may have done a post poll alliance, but, people of both the regions have simply rejected the alliance. That’s why PDP lost its popularity very fast in the valley where as BJP too is losing its popularity in Jammu. The only beneficiary is National Conference, which although has roots in the valley but Jammu people see the party as less discriminatory.

It must be understood by BJP and PDP that whatever greater cause they aimed for during the formation of the alliance, without public support nothing is possible. Hence I think both BJP and PDP should get rid of such alliance, put the state under Presidential rule for an year, crush the separatists through tactful means and go for fresh Assembly elections. That’s the only solution ahead. If possible the Jammu & Kashmir state should be divide into three parts. Two states as J&K while making Ladakh as a Union Territory. This can solve a lot of problems.

Too much media activism

Veteran writer-cum-activist Madhu Kishwar pointed out this aspect that media is focusing too much on Kashmir issues. She even blamed senior journalist Arnab Goswami for giving more space to separatists. Her point is very logical. Pakistan flag is waved in the valley since decades. They are just bunch of people. But seeing the media response they get, they feel encouraged to wave flags of Pakistan and ISIS every time they come on roads to protest against something.

The separatists although are blasted by Arnab and others but they get opportunity to put their separatists point of view. Practically they use Indian media very intelligently. The moment media stops airing their separatist activities, they have to remain silent as people of J&K neither support Pakistan nor ISIS.

An international survey said that if option is given between India and Pakistan, majority of J&K people (85 per cent) want to be with India. However if another option of independent country is given then 60 per cent (in fact 90 per cent of Kashmiri valley) will opt for that.

Thus it’s imperative that the media should become more responsible and mature. They need to do a responsible journalism and not fuel the anti-India activities while providing separatists a platform to spread their views.

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