The following is another guest post from Umair. — Nathan
With the recent meetings between Indian members of Parliament, All Parties Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, it is only natural to ask if anything will really change. The simple answer is no. That being said, the fact that the government has sent a group of MPs to deliberate with Kashmiri representation, proves not only an intent to fix the current situation, but also the fact that Indian military’s participation has only escalated the situation.
If India truly wishes to come to a conclusion that will, in the long run, work out in their favour, they must take everything that the Kashmiri’s want seriously. A roadmap to peace has to be developed if Kashmir is to either become a viable part of India or a ‘nation within a nation’; autonomous powers that have been similarly given to some other states in India. Happymon Jacob, in his Op-ed in The Hindu, agrees that such a measure should only be a starting point since issues such as the military’s clamping of protesters must be put under scrutiny.
The Armed Forces Act (AFSPA) must be immediately reviewed, as it gives extensive leeway and power to arrest any Kashmiri without knowledge of family members. If such actions are taken, it will certainly ring in the military and civilian police force that have been brutal in the past 100 days (100 days of protests). The Public Safety Act and the Disturbed Areas Act should as well be brought under review, as these laws have the ability to completely protect Indian forces against any wrong doing. Police and military officers taking part in brutal measures against the youth, including forcing some to walk naked in the streets cannot be allowed to continue their role as an enforcer. Those responsible must be held accountable; such actions will certainly alienate the northern state from the Hindu majority nation.
Working on the Kashmir solution will not only help to ease tensions on India’s foreign policy, but also on domestic issues such as terrorism. Just recently, terrorists in New Delhi fired at two foreign journalists outside of Jama Masjid and also set off a bomb, which luckily failed to explode. A letter was later emailed to several news agencies stating that such actions were taken in response to the military’s use of force in dealing with Kashmiri protesters. With the Commonwealth games starting, this is a serious threat to India, one that cannot be taken lightly. India already has a Maoist insurgency they need to deal with, Kashmir can no longer be put on the backburner or it will certainly blow up in their face.