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Santosh Kumar asked: What is your opinion regarding the handling of ongoing Kashmir crises by the central government?

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  • Rumel Dahiya replies: That the ongoing crisis in J&K has been badly mishandled needs no emphasis. In the first place, after the insurgency was brought under control by the security forces the political initiative should have had ensured that complete normalcy returned to J&K. The fact that vested interests were keen on creating trouble should have been clear from the way the Amarnath agitation was launched and conducted. An alert and responsive administration would have taken proactive steps in applying healing touch and by providing good governance. After one of the most peaceful and free state elections the leadership was 'appointed' on considerations other than political acumen and administrative ability. A state suffering from decades of misgovernance and scars of terrorism needs very careful and adept handling. The Chief Minister is obviously unable to connect with the people. That the leader was chosen and persisted with the consent of the ruling party at the Centre makes the Centre guilty of mishandling of the situation. Secondly, scores of deaths of young agitators should have been avoided by using non-lethal means of crowd control, which was not even attempted. The state police, under whose control CRPF also functions, had no clear political direction. Senior police officers were not seen to be involved in handling the agitating crowds. The agent provocateurs were neither identified nor arrested by the state or the central intelligence agencies. Thirdly, creating a political consensus is the first and most basic requirement for solving a political problem. Sending an all party delegation to J&K was a good idea which came too late and its programme was not planned properly and in any case, there was no consensus on its mission and role. The government has taken weeks to appoint the interlocutors and there is no way of knowing what mission has been assigned to them. There is also no clarity on the Centre's vision for resolving the crisis. It is perhaps hoped that the agitation will peter out after the Commonwealth games and US President's visit in early November but that hope is bound to be belied sooner than later. It is not safe to conclude that the people themselves will start opposing know that the government will come out with another financial package,when placed under sufficient pressure, in the name of compensating those who have suffered the economic consequences and for the families who have lost members to police firing. The crisis of this nature needs comprehensive set of measures. The first among those measures is to provide for a responsive and politically savvy leadership.