zahoorYet again Kashmir is at the crossroads after the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8. In the past 55 days of uprising in the Valley, at least 70 civilians have lost their lives and thousands of Kashmiris have been injured in forces actions. More than 600 people, most of them young, in the age group of 15 to 20 years, have been hit by the pellets in the eyes with doctors fearing that a large number of these injured may never be able to see again. Even as the uprising is about to complete two months, there are no signs of it ending as the angry youth on the streets continue to reiterate “now or never”.

         Every time a significant political incident has taken over the Valley, the state has followed the tested Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of using “iron fist” followed by the promises that never see light of the day. Amid the simmering anger in the Valley, New Delhi has taken a number of initiatives, from All Party Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a decision to send an All Party Delegation to Kashmir in a bid to reach out to agitating people. These are the known formulae that have been adopted by Delhi in the past. The interlocutors’ team of 2010 that was air dashed by New Delhi to Kashmir amid 2010 summer uprising and subsequent shelving of the team’s recommendations to address Kashmir issue is a case in point.

       Breaking his silence on Kashmir unrest almost a month after, the Prime Minister while acknowledging that development only can’t solve Kashmir has underscored the need to find a permanent solution to Kashmir within the framework of the Indian constitution. However the seperatists has out-rightly rejected “within the constitution” offer and asked New Delhi to accept disputed status of Kashmir for engaging in any political process. Sending the All Party Delegation to Kashmir is a welcome step but the need of the hour is that the delegation should engage people who matter in Kashmir. Tangawallas, Shikarawallas, mutton dealers and traders certainly can’t be seen as the representatives of people in Kashmir. Besides, New Delhi should also give up its rigid stand on Kashmir and instead engage with people unconditionally, if it is relay serious to find lasting solution to Kashmir problem.

Editor in Chief