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Opinion

Kashmir needs political reach – editorials

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On Wednesday, six months have elapsed since Parliament effectively annulled Article 370, divided Jammu and Kashmir into two units, and turned J&K and Ladakh into separate union territories (UT). This was one of the most radical political measures taken by the government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The government said the measure would fully integrate J&K into the Indian Union, and that citizens of the region will now enjoy the same rights as citizens of other parts. The measure also, the government argued, would end terrorism. To achieve this, he instituted a series of security measures, including the imposition of restrictions on connectivity, communication and political activities, and arrested several leaders.

Now is the time to assess whether the government has really achieved its objectives. Here is what has happened. The administrative restructuring process took place during this period; J&K and Ladakh have new lieutenant governors; and national laws extended to both TUs. In terms of security restrictions, gradually, the government restored the connectivity of landlines and mobile phones and, in part, lifted the Internet suspension. Here is what has not happened. Citizens do not enjoy all political rights. While groups of leaders have been released in lots, many, including three former chief ministers, remain detained. There is still an extremely strong security implementation. Every day economic activity has suffered. There is a high degree of alienation. And the violence is not over, with continuous clashes and explosions, and the threat of cross-border terrorism alive.

The government should now review its approach. On the one hand, while it must remain alert against terror, it is time to lift the restrictions on connectivity. Two, all the political leaders of the main parties, including Farooq and Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, must be released. Three, although the central ministers began to visit the Valley, what is needed is a high-level political reach led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Interior Minister Amit Shah, with the goal that all democratic parties return to the process and elections are held. At the end of this year. Four, the Center must be open to hearing voices of discontent and providing a roadmap for the eventual restoration of the status of J&K, given that the Prime Minister mentioned that the state of UT was not permanent. All this will relieve political pressure, facilitate the operation of intelligence agencies and reduce international scrutiny. Summer is only a few months. If the status quo persists, there could be riots ahead.

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