Jammu-Valley- Ladakh dialogue is better option

Binoo Joshi

More than Delhi-Srinagar dialogue , the need of the hour is to start Jammu- Ladakh – Valley dialogue  to address the issues facing the State .  The exclusiveness should be replaced with inclusiveness .

To say that the issue in Jammu and Kashmir is all about its future status , whether it should be a part of India or Pakistan or it should be independent, is a complete misread of  the aspirations of the peoples of all the three regions of the state .  That there should be some outcome of the violent methods adopted by a section of the youth in the Valley  is a very narrow and exclusive narrative  and not that of the whole of the State .

An overall  narrative in J&K is for peace, progress and  better future  for the peoples of the state, particularly , the youth .  The youth are struggling hard to   make their own name and make their family, town and the  State proud of their accomplishments . That is what the number of the children enrolled in schools, colleges and other educational institutions should  make it clear to the skeptics . Many of them are taking special coaching in the freezing temperatures in the Valley and others have traveled outside of it  to  shape their careers.

This part should not be overlooked. A narrative of violence in which a Ph.D. Scholar Mannan Bashir Wani joining Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen outfit or a young boy Fardeen who was part of fidayeen group are shown as the trendsetters has suppressed this reality.  This is a fallacy. Merit is not aberration , but unfortunately, we have accepted  this as something  that doesn’t come to us naturally . We have accepted violence and violence driving narrative as  our original  belief , without going into the genesis of the whole  problem .

Delhi-Srinagar dialogue is important but that cannot achieve for the state ,  what intra-state dialogue can deliver. All the peoples- Kashmiris, Dogras, Gujjars and Bakerwals ,  Buddhists, Kargilities, Shias, Hindus and Sikhs, Pahari-speaking – have their own narrative of problems and grievances . That cannot be allowed to be overshadowed by  one particular narrative  and the greater onus lies on the sections of leadership in the Valley who claim to be  the  sole  voice of the people – yes the reference is  to the factions of the Hurriyat Conference .  The leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq ,  Yasin Malik  have not approached the people of Jammu r Ladakh . In fact, they think that their shutdown calls  in  Kashmir, which evoke considerable response , confer upon them the role of undisputed leadership. Two things should be clear to them that all those who observe shutdown  do not do it voluntarily . They are scared of the guns  and stones behind the strike calls. Second, a larger majority is against the shutdown and they don’t observe it .

It also is necessary that  the civil society from Jammu and Ladakh should engage with the civil society, trade leaders and intellectuals of Kashmir . That can be the stepping-stone to resolving issues . It is  a  simple proposition .

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