Rajnath Singh’s extraordinary visit to Kashmir

Binoo Joshi

Union  Home Minister  Rajnath Singh’s two-day visit of Kashmir  this week was extraordinary in  many senses as the  Valley is  caught in crosshairs of the baggage left by the now collapsed PDP-BJP government  and  uncertain future ahead. It is not an easy situation , nor it is going to  be.

Rajnath Singh is Home Minister in the Narendra Modi government  that is regarded as a symbol of tough line on Jammu and Kashmir  against the militants and their sympathizers .  Sure enough !.

Two facts stand out  for Rajnath Singh  As Home Minister, he  was the one who announced Ramzan ceasefire on the eve of the pious month of Ramzan on May 16  with the  consent of the Prime Minister . While there was no mention of  “ ceasefire” in the  tweets that Singh made on  the day, Prime Minister phrased  that as “ Ramzan ceasefire” on June 19 when he visited all the three regions in the State – Ladakh, valley and Jammu –  exactly in that order .

Rajnath Singh went a step further on May 26, when he made an unconditional offer of talks to the Hurriyat Conference. The similar offer was made to Pakistan  and it was stated  that Pakistan should stop  export of terrorism  from its soil and if it was unable to do so , India , as a neighbouring country, was always available to help Islamabad in rooting out the scourge of  terrorism. That is what he repeated during his  visit to  Jammu and Kashmir on  June 7 and 8.

What makes this visit outstanding is that  the Home Minister  this time did not  review the security in the  strict sense of the phrase- the anti-militancy  operations, the number of militants killed , and  infiltration from across the border  combined with the  local recruitment .

The idea was to tackle  the issues at roots , which  obviously in the context of Jammu and Kashmir, are  the corruption and the  mis-governance .  There were various suggestions in this regard  that how  the people could be reached out and their grievances addressed.  But the past baggage is so heavy that it is  near impossible to clear all the mess that has covered the beautiful landscape of the Valley with  corruption  and  tell tale signs of the  mis-governance .

There have been changes in the  governments and political faces revolving  around the two families of Abdullahs and Muftis , but the  real change  for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir never came for the people. They are suppressed under corruption and lack of real connectivity – that is the people don’t have access to the roads, water, schools, healthcare  and other basic necessities, what kind o political connectivity and solution  would  help resolve matters , if there is no hope .

Home Minister brought home the point  that good governance and  development alone can mitigate the suffering of the  people of Kashmir > They are suffering from the twisted  political oppression  and corruption than  anything else.

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