A ceasefire must be called off and those who challenge to pick up the gun against the nation must be eliminated.
The Narendra Modi Government must not fall into the trap of previous NDA regimes which sought to burnish their inclusive credentials at the cost of letting the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir slip into a spiral of separatist, and subsequently Islamist, violence by non-state actors. Readers will recall we supported the Government’s cessation of (proactive) operations, or the Ramzan ceasefire as it was termed, announced by the Union Home Ministry on May 17 on two primary principle. First, that the military domination on the ground engendered by Operation All Out — the combined army, police, paramilitary, intelligence agencies’ effort to eliminate all overt and covert terrorists in the Valley launched last year — should in no way be compromised. Secondly, on humanitarian grounds and as an example of good faith by the Indian state so that it cannot be accused of not wanting peace, ideally with at least some reciprocity by the less hawkish members of the separatist camp as a desired tactical outcome. On both counts, the ratcheting up of violence by the terrorists and their backers in Pakistan and elsewhere in the region over the past week has resulted in a situation wherein any talk of extending the ceasefire in the hinterland is now counter-productive.
The assassination of Shujaat Bukhari, senior journalist and a moderate voice in the context of the discourse among the majority community in the Valley, and his personal security officer on Thursday, yet another jawan killed in an encounter with separatists in Bandiporaon the same day and the abduction and murder of another soldier who was en route to his house in Poonch for Eid celebrations also on Thursday cap a month of increased infiltration and a spike in terror related incidents. Those whose default position has long been some or the other variation of “the uninterrupted and uninterruptible” theme when it comes to talks, whether with terrorists domestically or with Pakistan at the international level, will be quick to accuse the Indian state if it decides as is being recommended in these columns not to extend the ceasefire of falling for the designs of the terrorists who do not want peace. They would be speaking through their hat.
It is, of course, a no-brainer that eventually a political settlement to the Jammu and Kashmir insurgency will have to be reached through dialogue. Equally, it is a well-established fact that to bring such a situation to pass, complete military domination and control of the mainstream narrative is a must. The only issue for debate is on the acceptable methods/processes in a democracy on how these twin objectives can be reached. Given the involvement of an enemy country in fanning the insurgency, the now intergenerational brainwashing of a large section of Indian citizens who reside in Jammu and Kashmir and profess Islam as their faith of choice and the under-theorizing and subsequent inaction of the Indian establishment in recognizing the roots of the terror discourse, New Delhi now has no feasible choice but to adopt and consistently maintain a hard line till the desired objective of eliminating either physically those who take up arms and indulge in violence against the state or neuter by means of democratic accommodation all those who are willing to reject an armed solution. Then, and only then, should we talk to all comers.
Courtesy: The Pioneer