Jammu & Kashmir is on the boil. The audacious attack on the Sunjwan Army camp on 10 February follows some recent success stories of neutralising Pakistan-sponsored terrorists and avenging the unprovoked firing on India’s soldiers in the Valley. While the security forces have been responding to cease-fire violations by Pakistan with gusto and are, thanks to the right interventions of some State governments, about to bring the Maoist menace in central India to an end, the bloodletting in the northern-most State will either persist or deteriorate if there is no drastic policy change at the Centre. The ‘condemnation’ of terrorism by the ruling and opposition parties is now as clichéd as the ‘root cause’ theory of separatists justified by India’s communists and as humdrum as Pakistan’s unfinished agenda of Partition based on the two-nation theory. The country and the world alike need a lasting solution to the crisis, lest the militants, the separatists, the stone-pelting youth and the closeted supporters of insurgency in mainstream politics like the People’s Democratic Party and National Conference should turn Kashmir into another Afghanistan of the 1990s. If an adverse reaction by the international human rights brigade is the apprehension, the Narendra Modi government must note that the leftist section of the West has never been appreciative of a nationalist government in India even during the regime of a much mellower Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In contrast, the Uyghur rebellion in the Xinjiang province of China and the uprising of Chechens in Russia are now almost forgotten chapters. Successive communist rulers of China and the no-longer-communist Russia did not give two hoots to a frowning Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, and the hearts that bleed for terrorists and are callous towards law-abiding people could do nothing about it. This, even as China has had a loose control over the Turkic Islamic Uyghurs and Russia has historically had quite a weak claim over Chechnya compared to the Shaiva tradition of Kashmir that had been integral to the Indian nation for millennia until the rise of Islamism! Even a relatively well-meaning United Nations does not affect the sovereignty of a nation, always helplessly letting the strong ones like the United States launch military operations anywhere around the globe.
There might well have been no other government possible in Jammu & Kashmir following the last Assembly election in the State where the PDP won the majority of seats in Kashmir while the BJP won in most constituencies of the Jammu region. However, forming a government for the sake of filling the vacuum has clearly served no purpose of national interest in the last three years of its existence. The patriotic people can no longer be patient with BJP’s point man for Kashmir affairs Ram Madhav’s plea to wait for results. As the Election Commission guidelines state, a political party simply does not have the right to remain mainstream with a sentiment against the national integration nursing in the minds of its leaders. Both the ruling PDP and the opposition NC fall in this category of disqualification. In fact, Farooq Abdullah has turned reckless and Omar Abdullah belligerent in their statements since they lost power, now no longer feeling the urge to sound different from Mehbooba Mufti who has long been notorious for her soft corner for the subversive elements. The tough call Modi ought to take other than military toughness — if not ruthlessness — is to make a new law and pass a new resolution in Parliament that stops this concession to these wolves in sheep’s clothing. And when President’s Rule comes to Jammu & Kashmir this time around, it should not go until Kashmir’s resident population as a whole starts leading routine lives like other Indians. In the interregnum, Article 370 must be revoked, with not only Pandits but also other Indians allowed to settle in what is so far called an integral part of India only for documentation. With the BJP’s electoral prospects for 2019 now looking less of a foregone conclusion — from 282, it is now reduced to 275 seats in the Lok Sabha — a show of nationalism both militarily and politically may well save it from further distress.