The withdrawal of Bhartiya Janata Party’s support from its ally the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir has plunged the state into a quandary. The Governor’s rule and the promulgation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) have pushed the state into uncertainties.
Where do we go from here is story for another day to tell. Here is a story of human drama in the restive state of Jammu & Kashmir, particularly in its Muslim dominated Kashmir valley, that has streak of similarities with the Biblical account of David verses Goliath.
The scripture gives the lesson of courage and faith, in overcoming something that seems impossible. In this battle, David, symbolizes weak in strength but of immense courage that defeats the Goliath having extraordinary might.
This story, which with its own twist and turns is being witnessed in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, has two seminal features. The first being India’s muscular approach to handle a political situation has chilling effects on Kashmir valley.
The cancellation of the Ramzan ceasefire and the renewal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act AFSPA points towards the hardline approach of New Delhi to deal with the unrest in Jammu Kashmir. The current government in New Delhi wants to go all-out in its coercive ways to make the people accept India’s sovereignty over the state.
The promulgation of the AFSPA means to treat the entire valley as enemy territory. Its logical deduction is that the people in the restive state are anti-national. The armed forces are given the powers to ‘cordon and search’ and then ‘segregate and destroy’ the target. This means to turn the entire valley into a war zone.
This is a very typical development taking place in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Here what is seen is on one hand India is gravitating towards becoming Hindu nationalist state, on the other its donning the mantel of colonial rulers and adopting the muscular approach to suppress the nationalist sentiments of the people of Kashmir. Same as what British did to quell the Indian freedom struggle.
The events are clearly panning out to be a battle of unequal and that narrative goes with the story of David verses Goliath. In this piece of story, the restive Kashmiri nationalism is pitted against assertive Hindu nationalism. India is clearly cast as the Goliath with all its furry of Hindu Nationalism while the people of Kashmir symbolizes David, weak, fragile and helpless but yet having the resolve to take on the mightiest.
How David is going to defeat the giant Goliath is an interesting soap opera that is watched by the millions of viewers all over the world on their television sets but no one knows when?
The second narrative on Kashmir is the story of India verses rest of the world. In this narration, India likes to be cast in the role of David while it sees the role of United Nation as Goliath that’s spoiling India’s broth.
There is a historical legacy being attached to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and the members of the United Nations are ceased of the facts. India feels that those historical truths is squinted and wants to sell its own version of Kashmir’s annexation that the rest of the world may have reservation.
India is thundering that its sovereignty over the state of Jammu and Kashmir is complete and final, and it debunks the stories of Partition of India based on religious majorities. It is calling the human resistance in Jammu and Kashmir as unadulterated ‘terrorism’ and has given a call to the global community to join its fight against the terror factories.
India has summarily rejected the recently released UN’s 70 page report of human rights violation in Jammu and Kashmir and in its defiance has given a strong rebuttal to lay its claims. Similarly, India has also rejected the latest offer made by China to resolve the Kashmir dispute involving Pakistan.
The way India is asserting its claim on Jammu and Kashmir again brings back the story of David vs Goliath into circulation. The current government in order to placate its Hindu nationalist constituency cast itself in the role of David and the international community as Goliath that’s concerned about the spurt in violence and human rights abuse in Jammu & Kashmir.
At this moment India’s resolve to peddle its own script on Jammu and Kashmir is more so evident because the general election in the country is just a year away. India wants to send the message to its domestic audience that it is not bowing to the global pressures on Kashmir, rather it wants to convert it into a fight between David verses the Goliath.
The events panning up in Jammu and Kashmir gives the message that either the global community makes India to accept the human concerns and press it to start the dialogue process or accepts India’s narrative on Kashmir and take a U turn keeping into account the rising economic power of India. At the moment nothing of that sort is happening and definitely in this case the David is not going to defeat the Goliath.
Summing up the current government’s Kashmir policy, it won’t be improper to point out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has wasted his time in office in trying to change the status quo on Kashmir by fabricating its own version of narrative on Kashmir. His muscular approach has done no good to the state, rather it has only brought death and destruction in the valley. Further, instead of brightening up the prospects of solution he has blurred its vision.
There is no doubt that the current government has done immense damage to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and India can only repair the damage by showing empathy and finding ways and means to get out of this chaos. The best way forward is to start the dialogue process under Governor's rule.
[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
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