JK News Today  Commentary

 Jammu, October 27:

There is only one word  to describe the recently concluded four-day visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Jammu and Kashmir , first since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019,  and that is historic. The backdrop of the situation in Kashmir and the way forward that he outlined and  what all happened during the days  he spent in the union territory from October 23 to 26.

The visits become historic. Because of the messages they  deliver , and the messages that they leave behind .There were times when the visits of prime ministers and home ministers in Kashmir were judged by the parameters  of  economic packages only.

  But there are occasions , when the history  is scripted by announcements beyond the packages . And that is what Amit Shah  did. He befriended the people of J&K,  with his words of love, affection and friendship. He spotlighted  how Kashmir is an equal partner in everything that is available to Indians elsewhere in the country.

In April 2003, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee ,  had taken everyone by surprise , when he “ extended hand of friendship  to Pakistan” amidst the times of high hostility between India and Pakistan . These were the days when the memories of the terror assault on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 and subsequent mobilization of troops to borders were fresh in memory .

The audience had come to  hear about the economic package , but there was none. There was something far greater than the packages wrapped in rupees. In 1986 , Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had announced  a Rs. 1,000 crore package. Vajpayee’s successor Manmohan Singh had announced Rs. 24,000 crore package in 2004 , but these packages were the rehash of the ongoing central projects . There was nothing new in them , so , the people  did not become partners in peace and stability of J&K as a result of that.

Vajpayee ‘s “ hand of friendship  to Pakistan “was to bring peace to Kashmir by fostering friendship with Pakistan . But, we all  know that how that call for friendship was  wrecked by Pakistan .

Pakistan mounted 26/ 11 in 2008 and thus destroyed the whole spirit  of the idea of friendship . Pakistan could not contain terrorism . How could it think of improving ties with India . As a natural sequel to the terror attack all that had been built in terms of relations between the two countries was lost. Kashmir was not spared of the terror attacks. There were multiple terror attacks and killings .

Amit Shah  has spoken of peace and  stability in Kashmir. His plea from the day one of his visit was to provide a sense of security and  an atmosphere without fear to the people of Kashmir.  This was substantiated by his passionate  desire for friendship with the youth of Kashmir. This  was an iconic call . It has to be noted that this friendship call was made when there is no election around in J&K .

He went step beyond the friendship,. “  I will talk to my people , especially youth  of Kashmir “, he said emphatically , while negating the suggestions put forth by some of the Kashmiri leaders that Delhi should talk to Islamabad  to usher in peace in Kashmir .

This argument of Kashmiri leaders is flawed because that masks Pakistan’s terror activities . They want to  make  Pakistan a stakeholder in Kashmir, despite knowing Pakistan is interested in bleeding Kashmir not healing it.

Good relations with Pakistan , as  a necessity between the two countries, are to be seen at one plank. But  the improved ties cannot be  subjected to conditions of involving Pakistan in Kashmir . Second , why talks with Pakistan could not be held – that would mean  an endorsement of terrorism by Pakistan in Kashmir .

Amit Shah did not spell out any conditions for talks with Pakistan , because he rejected this option outright. He demonstrated  an  exemplary confidence  in the country to tackle its own issues.. Kashmir is loving it.