Syed Ali Mujtaba
‘The army has always felt that internal issues of the Kashmiris where a section have separatist tendencies nurtures requires a political and not a military solution,’ said Lieutenant General Rameshwar Roy, speaking at a webinar; “Challenges towards Peace & Stability in Kashmir” organized by the Tillotoma Foundation.
General 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 Jammu and Kashmir.
With a resolve to strive for effective development in Kashmir, General Roy pointed out the problems within the delivery mechanism there. He called those problems as obstacles to the development of the Kashmir valley.
General Roy highlighted the internal politics of Kashmir and talked about corruption at the low level administrative bodies and upwards in the former state.
General Roy was emphatic that day-to-day problems of the Kashmiri people should be addressed immediately. He also wished that non-security issues in Kashmir should be handled in a better manner.
The second speaker of the webinar, Jitendra Kumar Ojha, National Security Analyst & former Joint Secretary, Government of India, said the conflict in Kashmir has a lot of unique dimensions.
Mr Ojha touched upon the issue of money laundering in Kashmir. He spoke about the radicalization of Kashmiri youth as well as the major military and non-military threats to internal security.
Highlighting some major factors for peace and stability, Mr Ojha talked about Pakistan’s engagement in the Kashmir conflict. State-sponsored covert war, raking up Kashmir issue at international forums and radicalization of the Pakistani diaspora, are some of the modus operandi of Pakistan to remain relevant in the conflict, Mr Ojha said.
Ms Yukta Acharya, Senior Coordinator & Research Associate, Tillotoma Foundation who moderated the discussion said that there is a humanitarian angle involved in the Kashmir situation and this has been looked into 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, Ms Acharya said.
The Kashmiri people have suffered a lot over the years and they should no further suffer more hardship and this should be the priority right now, she added.
Ms Acharya said the event of August 5, 2019 is a seminal development that has heavily impacted the situation in Kashmir valley, and pose a major challenge towards building peace and stability in Kashmir.
Elaborating on this, Ms Acharya pointed that since August 5, 2019 there is heavy deployment of armed forces in the Kashmir valley. The deployment of such a large number of Armed forces has vitiated peace in the region. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) gives special powers to the army personnel in Kashmir. The use or misuse of AFSPA should be taken into consideration when we are talking about the challenge towards building peace and stability in Kashmir. Linked to it are the human rights issues that must be protected at any cost, Ms Acharya concluded.
Tillotoma Foundation is engaged in International Relations, Financial, Environmental, and Strategic & Defence Policy globally.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at email@example.com