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Kashmir's stone pelters

This is with reference to your editorial, “Kashmir's crisis of authority,” and the article, “Understanding Kashmir's stone pelters,” by Malini Parthasarathy (Aug. 4). The article made an interesting attempt to go to the root of the problem, discuss why teenagers in the Valley have suddenly decided to pelt stones at the figures of authority and how the situation is increasingly going out of hand. It is not a question of violence alone anymore. The Valley is burning today as it has repeatedly been disillusioned and frustrated with the inconsistent and incompetent governance it has faced, and the governments elected and re-elected over the years. It is surprising that our Prime Minister is yet to come out of his cocoon and take any significant action on this burning issue. How long can New Delhi choose to live in denial?

Deepa Ranganathan,

Bangalore

* * *

The problem of violence and unrest among Kashmiris is due to lack of development and rampant corruption and development funds never reaching the targeted people. Unfortunately, a stage has come where development cannot take place unless there is peace and peace cannot be had unless development takes place.

The remedy lies in political parties putting aside their aspirations and forming village-level cooperatives where the youth and the middle aged are members and operators. Funds should be directly given to the societies, and equipment and training provided, without the pinions of the administration sabotaging the process, so that destruction of property will end and the locals will earn reasonably well with direct support from the government.

G.M. Rama Rao,

Visakhapatnam

* * *

The people of Kashmir know that it is better for them to remain in India than to become independent or accede to Pakistan. The high voter turn-out at the 2008 Assembly elections said as much. For the present situation the central leadership must take its share of the blame. Despite the pro-India sentiment visible in the election, New Delhi made no fresh attempts to satisfy the legitimate political aspirations of the people. If the government really wants to keep this Valley of fabled beauty, it should treat the civilian population with more consideration and win them over. Rather than pushing them to the wall using strong-arm methods, the government ought to endeavour to retrieve the situation by apologising publicly for not reining in the security forces from overreacting to street protests and by initiating parleys with the PDP, the Hurriyat and others representing Kashmiris.

G. David Milton,

Maruthancode

* * *

Both the editorial and the article candidly brought to the public gaze the gravity of Kashmir's latest crisis, the key underlying causes for it and the remedial measures badly needed to solve the same. Every right-thinking person will find absolute sense both in the editorial suggestion that Omar Abdullah should build an administration and a political system that are competent enough to address the needs of those who voted his party to power, and the view expressed in the article that the moral authority of India's actions in the Kashmir Valley will be strengthened by its demonstrable willingness to work with Pakistan to find a lasting solution to the long-pending, vexatious dispute over Kashmir's status. The messages they convey to the State and Central governments are loud and clear.

K.D.Viswanaathan,

Coimbatore

* * *

Even though not justifiable, teargas shelling and accidental deaths do happen during incidents of mass violence. No doubt, the accidental death of a schoolboy in the teargas shelling on June 11 in Srinagar is sad and it is the duty of the State government to order an enquiry and provide all assistance to the bereaved family. The present unrest and continued defiance of the orders of the administration can only be termed as last ditch attempts from across the border. It is only a manifestation of a desperate and callous attitude on the part of those perturbed by the overwhelming support to the elected State government, and the developmental activities taking place in the State. Only a minuscule section of the people, at the behest of the enemy, is fomenting trouble in Jammu and Kashmir. This has to be contained firmly.

E. Krishnan,

Palakkad

* * *

It is not the AK-47, but the forces that are against the Indian administration that have succeeded in involving the youth and women and children who have dared to come out and face the consequences. The security forces cannot be expected to keep quiet and some actions may result in the death of one or two persons which in turn triggers bigger protests. Our leaders have completely failed and have given a long rope to the secessionists elements. How long can India hold on to this hot pot? The think tank in India have to seriously debate this.

N. Gopalan,

Chennai

* * *

It is possible to solve any problem, including the Kashmir problem, provided we approach it with an open mind and without getting bogged down by rhetoric such as “Kashmir is an irrevocably integral part of India.” We should invite all stakeholders regardless of their past deeds and misdeeds for an open and free discussion. There is nothing wrong in inviting the considered opinions of intellectuals across the globe. A right and just solution in tune with the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiris will naturally emerge from such discussions.

S.P. Asokan,

Chennai

* * *

As rightly said in the editorial, the local political leadership, including that of the opposition, has failed to foster a responsible and mature political culture that can articulate the legitimate aspirations of the people and engage purposefully with the Central government to ensure that the much needed development reaches the people. In our search for a meaning to the mindless and life-threatening confrontation indulged in by the youth with the security forces, we must also identify and expose the invisible hand of instigators and opportunists who egg on the youth to sacrifice their lives on the streets. Instead of viewing the deteriorating situation with a sense of schadenfreude, the local leaders should have the courage to tell the youth that development deficit is primarily on account of the militancy of the past and not owing to any discrimination against the state.

V.N. Mukundarajan,

Thiruvananthapuram

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