Strengthen Democracy

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The Northern rail authorities resumed the rail services in the second phase from Srinagar to Banihal on Monday. Earlier the train was chugged between Baramulla and Srinagar last week. On both the tracks the train chugged off without facing any untoward incident.

The services were suspended on August 5 by the authorities after Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 plunged the entire valley into unprecedented lock down that still continues, partially. Restoration of train services within the valley suggests that the situation on ground is improving.

The people have suffered fatigue owing to facing huge financial difficulties after protesting over for four months against Delhi’s major decision. Economy of the valley is almost crippled since every economic sector was dented with longest ever shutdown in valley. Until 2016 the shutdown and the protests triggered by the killing of top militant Commander Burhan Wani on July 6 was one of the biggest, however was superseded by the current one. Still, the Delhi seems unmoved of its decision on Kashmir.

There is a consensus between the race course and Northern block in New Delhi that intractable issues that haunt the country’s growth require one time settlement, even if it means to start the process fresh from zero. The temporary measures launched by the predecessors of Modi government yielded no results and rather lingered on the issues to the level of beyond repair. NDA does not believe in that and wants to move things out of box. Given to its daring policy and taking tough decisions, Modi government is under duress at home and at world stage. But it manages well. But for how long?

The world body continues to raise the issues of detention of mainstream and separatist political leaders. Besides India is asked to explain how long the communication gag would prevail.  Suspension of internet services and shutting down of prepaid mobile phones enormously affect the socioeconomic services.

But restoration of rail services sustains the hope for the restoration of other services in Kashmir. Either there is no blueprint drawn by the centre government, or it believes in not releasing it in the public domain on Kashmir situation. In both the ways the dilemma over Kashmir continues.

Unavoidable reality of the day is northern block directly oversee the Kashmir affairs after its unilateral decision of downgrading it as Union territory. Experts, pundits have stopped guessing things now over Kashmir. Often surprises from the Delhi are expected. So was the one when few days ago Lt. Governor GC Murmu hinted of early elections in state.

Murmu’s hinting of political exercise has come as a shock to many political parties who have their leaders behind the bars since August 5. In a democratic structure, holding elections in such circumstances are sham. Delhi’s genuine concern of offering a platform for fresh and energetic leadership in Kashmir needs to explore democratic ways.

Pushing the existing political leaders behind bars and parachuting fresh faces may only erode the trust further on India’s federal structure. The elections of 1987, widely rigged by the National Conference backed by Congress in Delhi set the trigger for ongoing armed insurgency in valley.

The Union Home Minister Amit Shah agreed in the parliament that Kashmir was bereft of democratic process due to few political parties. His admission that only in Vajpayee era in 2002 elections in state were held free and fair sounds a signal for him to detract the path what his predecessors choose on Kashmir. He needs to continue Vajpayee’s policy on Kashmir though it may like to rename it.  Gradually, the time has come when BJP led government in Delhi shall initiate the steps for restoring normalcy in Kashmir.

The normalcy not with thickening the boots of soldiers on streets but delivering on the promises it made in the parliament after major decision on Kashmir. Any governance under the shadow of military power fails at the end. Building the democratic and political institutions and strengthening the existing one would plunge Kashmir into peace. The army even in past have many times insisted Congress to replace its military policy with political process in Kashmir. The army had said that it had done its job and now the onus lies in Race course. So the BJP this time has an opportunity to avail that Congress missed.

 

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