The declaration by the Home Minister Rajnath Singh that the NDA government is preparing a policy on ‘Kashmir’ is welcome idea to bring about an end to adhocism and rudderless approach of crisis management and event to event patchwork reactions that this unfortunate trouble torn State has witnessed for the last six and a half decades by successive governments at the Centre.
However it is essential to have the terms of reference correct from the very inception of the idea. One, there is nothing like an isolated ‘Kashmir’ problem as propagated by a very small segments from some four to six Tehsils under alien influence. New Delhi needs to step out of that myopic vision and truncated thinking. What Jammu and Kashmir state has been facing is a multi-faced problem affecting the whole State and every citizen (called subjects) from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is equal stake holder in sufferings and its remedy. No workable solution can be arrived at without consultation and accommodating all these three regions. Any policy has to consider all three regions as affected stake holders to include the vast forced out population of Kashmiris living outside the State.
Two, no policy can be made outside the framework of Indian Constitution, no committee, interlocutor, society or government body has the power or mandate to step out of the constitutional provisions. Inclusion of any one that does not swear by the Indian Constitution will be anti-national, futile and wasteful.
Three, the exercise may be taken up when the existing political leadership is not under stress, pre-electoral pressures and preferably not bound by coalition compulsions and constituency bound appeasements-preferably by a nationalist team unconnected to them all. A stint of Governor’s rule, if it becomes necessary will present an ideal time.
Indulgence with Pakistan, if and when required, has to be limited to her eviction from PoJK and strictly as per Simla Agreement. There could be no plebiscite without restoration of 15th Aug 1947 position and withdrawal by Pakistani troops as specified by the UN.
Aspirations of Jammu and Ladakh regions for equal democratic representation as per population and area is the biggest bugging issue needing a clearly defined constitutional policy to end 65 years discrimination, subdued and depressed life of these areas.