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Mainstream, VOL LV No 19 New Delhi April 29, 2017

On J & K, Sukma, DMC Poll Outcome

Sunday 30 April 2017, by SC



The Kashmir situation continues to deteriorate and has lately assumed serious proportions with unprecedented demonstrations of students, including women students, protesting against the security clampdown on students in south Kashmir. This has come in the wake of several video clips, widely circulated on social media, showing armed forces resorting to alleged human rights violations.

Against that backdrop one finds even women students are now engaging in stone-pelting. Photo-graphs have appeared in major newspapers showing women students pelting stones on the security forces in Srinagar. In this scenario the Centre took a decision today to raise an all-women India Reserve (IR) battalion, comprising about 1000 personnel in J&K, to assist the State Police to primarily deal with incidents like stone-pelting; the decision came at the Kashmir review meeting, chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, in New Delhi. It is learnt that these police-women would be part of the five India Reserve Battalions (IRBs) the Central Government has already sanctioned.

Would such measures help to improve the situation in the State when the Centre has not made any move to initiate political negotiations with the agitators, symbolised inter alia by the Hurriyat leaders, to bring down the temperature in J&K? That seems highly unlikely. Rather, the new step by the Centre, as mentioned above, can only further complicate matters.

In the meantime has come the news of the deadly Maoist attack on a CRPF platoon in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma—resulting in 25 jawans dying in combat. In this context The Times of India has editorially pointed out:

There’s no denying that development is a crucial component in defeating the Maoist propaganda. And building of roads in Maoist-affected areas will facilitate the establishment of schools, hospitals and basic amenities for the locals. This of course requires a modicum of security. But tribal grievances too can’t be ignored. Unfortunately, there has been a stream of reports of human rights abuses perpetrated by both the security forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s red zone. Alienation of tribals needs to be addressed if long-term development and peace are to prevail....

.....In fact, the government needs to deploy the right mix of security, development and human rights protection to root out the Maoist problem. This can be done by bringing Adivasi groups, civil society organisations and political parties together, while simultaneously improving intelligence and operational coordination for security forces. It’s time to cast aside old shibboleths and adopt a fresh approach.

This seems to be the only approach to be adopted in the circumstances when the situation is increasingly getting out of hand with every passing day and both the Central and State governments are unable to evolve political means to tackle this humanitarian problem.

The results of the Delhi Municipal Corporation polls have been on the lines of the outcome of both the UP and Uttarakhand State Assembly elections.

Both the AAP and Congress have been forced to bite the dust. In this situation the Congress has to get its act together on the one side while the AAP must understand that blaming all others—including the EVMs—except itself would be actually counter-productive on the other. As for the BJP, it needs to realise that its 10-year stint in Delhi’s municipal bodies has been most depressing and even if it was able to counter the anti-incumbency by finding new faces in place of the old ones among the candidates, this will not take it far especially when the so-called Modi wave cannot continue for long.

The time has come for serious introspection on all sides.

April 27 S.C.   

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