India:Kashmir needs a healing touch
|By Amit Singh|
Sept 17,New Delhi: Kashmir is burning as never before. The ongoing conflict in Kashmir valley from last two months have left many dead and injured, however, a solution to establish peace seems illusive- at least at the moment.
The Recent visit of an all-party delegation of India that visited Jammu & Kashmir on September 4-5 with the mission to hold talks with all stakeholders could not achieve anything. Hurriyat leaders, who are mostly pro-Pakistani and in favor of secession of Kashmir refused to come to the negotiation table, creating a deadly lull in the peace process.
Consequently, India will not hold talks with separatists in Kashmir as it aims to “first establish the primacy of the State” by quelling attempts to topple an elected state government through violence as government source reported. Also, statement of Pakistan army Chief General Raheel Sharif to intervene into the Kashmir Valley on the "diplomatic and ethical" (read covert military support and equipping Islamic terrorist) could aggravate the situation.
This situation could lead to a stalemate to the peace dialogue which is much needed to prevent increasing casualties in Kashmir. As it is very important to most important to heal and nurse those who have been badly wounded. So far, 62 people -- unofficial estimates put the number at 75 -- have lost their lives in clashes between security forces and protesters since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8. As the conflict prolongs number of dead and injured is increasing. And this is where immediate attention and help needed.
There is dire need to help those whose lives are lingering between life and death whether injured protester or police men. Humanity is the core of peace process, and this crisis calls for all stakeholder to come forward in helping nursing wounded and critically injured children, women, youth, old and sick. Another area which required serious attention is, to provide psychological treatment to those who have been traumatized due to the prevailing conflict.
Apart from preventing casualties, the civil society must come forward to bridge the trust- deficit between local Kashmiri and mainstream Indian and Pakistani population. Sometimes, political conflict cannot be solved in a traditional manner rather people to people contact, also known as cultural diplomacy, can play a crucial role in filling the gap left after the deadlock in the peace process.
From the Indian side, human rights activist like Lenin Reghuvansi has been vocal against Narendra Modi government’s iron fist strategy in handling the Kashmir issue which has resulted in a large number of casualties. In ‘Culture of silence and Kashmir ,’ Lenin wrote, ‘The Modi government’s strategy over the last two months in Kashmir has amounted to ignoring the scale of casualties and depth of suffering, maintaining silence for extended periods, making the odd, weak statement about the pain of Kashmiris with barely a reference to blinded children, and ritually reiterating that J-K is an integral part of India’. In past, Lenin’s NGO People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights has filled complained with the National Human Rights Commission of India regarding the torture and death of a Kashmir youth in police custody and fighting against the police torture.
On the Pakistani side, institutions such as Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) are performing an important role for easing the tension between India and Pakistan by stressing the people to people contact. In this connection, IPSS has been advocating ‘Pakistan-India Peace and Visa Policy relaxation’ policy . Cleary, if visa policy between two warring nations relaxed, cultural diplomacy at the people to people level could initiate stalled peace process.
When peace is shattered only a disaster is left. Violence can hardly achieve anything. But PEACE can. And this is the right time for civil society to initiate the peace process in the Kashmir and lend a healing hand to Kashmiri people.
The Oslo Times International News Network