Opinion: Incidents like Pulwama can be curbed by strengthening local leadership to isolate cross border terrorist organisations

Written by Vidya Bhushan Rawat | Published on: February 15, 2019

It is time to think of better and democratic strategies to bring normalcy in the valley so that army and paramilitary forces can crush any cross-border attempt to create unrest in the valley.


The terror attack in Pulwama (J&K) which killed more than 30 CRPF personnel is a grim reminder of the fact that these ‘friendly’ Pakistan is not dealing with terrorism seriously.
The Pakistan based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed the responsibility of this suicide attack. On both the sides of the border, there are people who do not wish peace and love between the two nations even when it is a known fact that a majority of the people in India and Pakistan want peace and a good relationship with each other. No organisation can carry such blasts unless they have powerful support from the establishment.
Narendra Modi's government has completely failed in bringing peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir. It tried to play with Kashmir and use the situation there to validate itself to the rest of the country. There is no political initiative in the state. Today, it is run directly under the Central government and yet, the situation is tense and uncontrolled.
As India go for polls in the coming days, we might face more efforts from those who want India to be in a perpetual crisis. We know a failed government will communalise it at all levels as they want the elections to be fought on the binaries of Hindu Muslim rhetoric. Their PR agencies are already working overtime to create riots in college campuses and this dastardly attack will also be used as a tool.
The security forces are doing a tough job in Kashmir. The government has created a situation where the work of our Jawans, who live far away from their families, have become not only physically challenging but mentally disturbing. Those who shout slogans in their paid headquarters must know that fighting a never-ending battle creates a lot of distress. It becomes more difficult if you have alienated the majority of the local people.
The answer to terrorist organisations like the Jaish lies in our combined strength and determination to stay together and resolve all our issues democratically. Jargon and chest thumping do not work on the battlefield. The fact of the matter is that Kashmir for Pakistan is their unfinished task to justify a two-nation theory. India's respective governments failed in respecting the sentiments of the Kashmiri people and continued to play with their sentiments and taking advantage of it for their nationalistic agenda. The ground situation worsened as the economy crashed where the political system was a farce and armed forces were present all the time.
In the last five years, the attempt to isolate Kashmiris and term each one of them as anti-national, deliberately provoking and challenging them even when they might have been raising their genuine demands have finally backfired. Today, the Kashmiri youth is isolated and the Islamic Jihadis in Pakistan want to use them and convert the entire battle to be fought between Muslims and non-Muslims.
The Sangh Parivar and its various offshoots have only helped aggravate the situation and given ammunition to these radicals on the other side of the border to create a narrative that Muslims can’t get any justice in India. You cannot build bridges with people after lynching them, challenging their loyalty to the nation and denying them justice.
Pakistan's ruling apparatus has definitely been instrumental in such a ghastly crime and the Imran Khan led government will have to show some spine to take these terror organisations head-on. There cannot be a compromise on such issues that threaten the local people and sandwich them between terrorists and security forces.
This is a sad day. These Jawans who serve our nation are actually sons of our Kisans, the farmers. Most of them come from difficult backgrounds and look for a better life. It is time for the government to strengthen political discourse in the valley, bring normalcy there and take a tough stand against Pakistan.
If a terror organisation is openly taking up responsibility then it needs to be dealt with seriousness. Irresponsible talks and show of masculinity to make political devotees happy will only boomerang. We know the street rabble-rousers will find it useful to build their anti-Muslim narrative which might suit their political interest but will be detrimental for the nation.
The answer lies in winning Kashmir with a big heart, more decentralisation, more democratisation, allowing political parties and civil society to flourish and rule through people and not via the agents of the Delhi Sarkar. The government needs to investigate the issue seriously and take appropriate measures but don’t treat the Kashmir issue as purely an administrative one. Speak to diverse sections of people, bring them to the negotiation table and only then the terrorists and their promoters can be isolated and destroyed.
We condemn these killings of Jawans and express our deep condolences to the families of these martyrs who dedicated their lives for our safety and security. It is also time to think of better and democratic strategies to bring normalcy in the valley so that army and paramilitary forces can crush any cross-border attempt to create unrest in the valley.
Using paramilitary and the army for domestic purposes as administrative bodies acting as the local police, actually makes the work of these organisations difficult and tense. The jawans hail from different regions and find it tough to deal with these situations which need local help. That is only possible if you understand local sentiments and respect the cultural values. 
Therefore, it is essential that the government leaves its obsession of handling J&K from Delhi and central forces and encourage local leadership in handling this. Let the government create an environment now so that political process takes centre stage and our forces focus on ensuring our borders safety so that such gruesome and dastardly attacks are not repeated and innocent lives are not lost.