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‘Strengthen the hands of the J& K chief minister’

The recent elections in Jammu and Kashmir have given us hope. We have a new Chief Minister who is plain speaking,young,dynamic and appears reasonable.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh |
April 21, 2009 3:25:41 am

The recent elections in Jammu and Kashmir have given us hope. We have a new Chief Minister who is plain speaking,young,dynamic and appears reasonable. With his secular credentials and charisma,he could perhaps be the leader that the state needs at this critical juncture.

The elections have delivered a huge blow to the separatists and some of them have been forced to introspect. But,it cannot be taken for granted that the idea or concept of separatism will not show up again.

The fractured verdict in the elections reinforces the view that multiple and competing identities and ideologies are still alive in the state. There is a need to strengthen the hands of the Chief Minister to pull us out of the quagmire.

One aspect of history deserves to be looked in to. At the time of independence,Maharaja Hari Singh had decided to remain independent. The state was soon invaded by raiders sent from Pakistan. It was then that the Maharaja decided to join hands with India. Aware of the demographics and internal politics of the state,Pandit Nehru insisted and obtained the consent of Sheikh Abdullah,as the representative of Muslims,for the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. It was only after that that the Indian Army was sent to the state. The civilian population of the state then supported the Indian Army during the 1947-48 war.

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In another act of misadventure,Pakistan sent in paratroopers in 1965. The local population,however,caught hold of the paratroopers and handed them over to the Indian Army. During the 1971 war,the Indian Army had no worries about its rear area security and could concentrate on fighting along what is now known as the Line of Control (LOC). It is,therefore,evident that the local population stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Indian Army during the three major wars fought against Pakistan.

The same population now feels alienated and a segment of it has also picked up weapons against India. Despite receiving economic support from the Centre,the state has remained backward. The feeling of deprivation has created a fertile ground for the anti-India elements.

The alleged rigging of the 1987 general elections resulted in the alienation of a huge segment of the young population. The situation was ripe for Pakistan to exploit. We cannot deny that a fertile ground for militancy was created by certain acts of omission and commission by persons at the helm of affairs.

Now,we have an opportunity to make amends. In an environment where hate drives passion,there is need for a pragmatic reconciliatory mechanism. The young Chief Minister should be provided with an amicable environment. Is it asking a lot for the sake of the nation?

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