“There was a humanitarian crisis involved in Kashmir and these issues should be looked at with human compassion”
Syed Ali Mujtaba | Clarion India
KOLKATA — The army has always felt that internal issues of the Kashmiri population, where a section has separatist tendencies, requires a political solution and not a military one.
This was stated by Lieutenant General (Retd) Rameshwar Roy while speaking at a special session of a webinar on “Challenges Towards Peace & Stability in Kashmir”, organised by the Tillotoma Foundation on Monday.
In his impressive lecture, Gen. Roy, who served as former Director-General, Assam Rifles and Chief-of-Staff, Southern Command and Former Corps Commander at Nagrota, Jammu & Kashmir, talked about the challenges related to the administration in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
With a resolve to strive to ensure effective development in Kashmir, he pointed out the problems within the delivery mechanism in Kashmir, calling them obstacles to development of the ordinary people in the Kashmir Valley.
Gen. Roy highlighted the internal politics in Kashmir from the level of local administrative bodies like panchayats and talked about corruption in the former Jammu and Kashmir state.
The retired Indian Army veteran was emphatic that day-to-day problems in Kashmir should be addressed immediately and the non-security issues should be handled in a meaningful and insightful manner.
Jitendra Kumar Ojha, National Security Analyst & former Joint Secretary, Government of India, told the webinar: ‘The conflict in Kashmir has a lot of unique dimensions.’
Highlighting some major factors for peace and stability, he touched upon the issue of money-laundering in Kashmir, speaking at length about the radicalisation of the Kashmiri youths as well as the major military and non-military threats to internal security.
Elaborating about Pakistan’s engagement in Kashmir conflict, Ojha said that state-sponsored covert war, rekindling of the Kashmir issue at international forums and radicalisation of the Pakistani diaspora are some of its modus operandi.
Yukta Acharya, Senior Coordinator & Research Associate, Tillotoma Foundation, who moderated the discussion, said that there was a humanitarian crisis involved in Kashmir and these issues should be looked at with human compassion.
‘We are not only concerned about the peace and stability in Kashmir but also about the well-being of people of Kashmir. They have suffered a lot over the years and no further they should do any more and that should be everyone’s priority,’ Acharya said.
The event of August 5, 2019 is an important development which has heavily impacted the situation in Kashmir valley, she said, and pointed out that since August 5, 2019 there had been heavy deployment of armed forces in the Kashmir Valley.
This, she said, included, Armed Forces Special Operations Division, Paramilitary forces like the CRPF, BSF, Sashastra Seema Bal and Indo-Tibetan Border Police, besides some elite forces of Army, Navy and Air Force like Rashtriya Rifles, MARCOS and Garud Commando Force. In addition, the Special Operations Group of the Jammu & Kashmir Police has also been deployed in Kashmir.
The deployment of such a large number of armed forces is vitiating peace in the Kashmir Valley. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) gives special powers to the army personnel in Kashmir and the use or misuse of AFSPA should be taken into consideration as much as the human rights issues that must be ensured and protected, Acharya concluded.
Tillotoma Foundation is engaged in International Relations, Financial, Environmental, Strategic & Defence Policy globally.