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Amit Shah – the August 5, 2019 man -visiting J&K first time since constitutional changes

21/10/2021 at 4:37 PM

By Arun Joshi

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be in Jammu and Kashmir  later  this week, his first  since the abrogation of Article 370  that snapped special status of the erstwhile state nestled in Himalayas and split it into two union territories .That, in itself , is a big news , but  the visit is coming at a time when  J&K is undergoing rough patches – high tensions on borders and the internal situation  is dotted by the narrative of the selective killings  of the minorities and non-local labourers , who are fleeing the Valley  now.

These are challenging times in Kashmir , but these also offer an opportunity  for him to have a real-time assessment of the situation  which is a byproduct of external and internal factors . In this situational chessboard , he would be able to guide the proper response to counter the threats, and also lay out a vision for the future of Jammu and Kashmir, which is yearning for peace  of prosperity .

So far  Kashmir is  a witness to the relentless  campaign of encounters against terrorists and complete absence  of the  stone throwing incidents , and numerous developmental schemes , thus providing an alternative  narration of peace and development as an outlet .This served as a provocation to the elements who were feeling the loss of  their activities at disrupting peace .They were getting desperate and , in their frustration they  chose to go in for the targeted killings  in which they sought to deliver a message that Kashmir is for Kashmiris , and that , too, for Kashmiri Muslims . This is yet another phase of the conflict, which is both a repeat of the past machinations of Pakistan sponsored militancy and potential threats for the future, in which Kashmir is sought to be kept exclusive .

With regard to Kashmir, there are three stages of conflict , which have  a deadly mix of political misadventures and Pakistan ‘s attempts to derail the process of normalcy through violent means. First, Kashmir , ever since it became independent and part of the Indian union  in unique circumstances when Pakistani tribesmen had  invaded the state with full backing of Pakistani army , has been embroiled in suspicion of its own making . For this political class is responsible .

While Sheikh   Mohammad Abdullah, reckoned as the tallest leader Kashmir  in the 20th century, yet he was the same person who misled the people into a delusion that they can exercise their right to self-determination and choose Pakistan as country of their future. This drum beat of plebiscite gave rise to the sentiment of secessionism .

It lead to the second point the seeds of the armed militancy  were sown during his era when he embarked on the mission to unify the Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir and did everything to undermine the secularism and the Indian nationalism .He was the man who drew distinction between Kashmiris and the rest of the countrymen  History has not forgotten his call for his q\” quit Kashmir” movement against the Dogra rule – forgetting that the monarchy was embedded in the soil of  Jammu and Kashmir , unlike the Britishers against whom Mahatma Gandhi had launched  “ quit India “ movement. That was the beginning of the fissures  , which widened over the decades since.

. Thirdly , there was armed militancy born out of the anti-India thesis which was put in public discourse. That became a tide and there  were no forces to check the waves of secessionism that struck minds of the people . Pakistan took full advantage of it . So, to say that the 1990 is the starting point for the militancy is  only half-truth. The fact is that the secessionism was born in 1950s. So , the problem is more than 70-year-old and to expect that it would disappear in a couple of years is not the realistic thing . An effort has been undertaken , it will take its time to yield the results.

Amit Shah, it is being hoped , is bringing  a road map for J&K to look ahead.  His approach is driven by  an idea to transform the mindset of the people  from self-destruction  to contribution toward  build a new socio-economic and political culture .

It appears that there are two planks on which Amit Shah will work; one , to assure the people that  the Modi government cares for them the most and is striving hard to  transform their dreams into reality under one flag and one constitution .

At the same time , he is also working hard to get J&K on the world map as the best tourist destination , hub of the entrepreneurship and  huge investments . The economic prosperity is beat way to embrace people . And that is what he coming to do . Kashmir shines with the rest of India.

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with it.

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