Tuesday, October 26, 2010

INDIA: Kashmir: A “No-Peace” Political Initiative

By Prof. Angana Chatterji, AHRC, October 25, 2010

The 8-point Plan, New Delhis political initiative to address the crises in Kashmir, attests to the parallel and incommensurate realities of the sovereign and the subjugated, the Indian state and the Kashmiris.

The 8-point Plan renders obvious New Delhi’s limited comfort zone. The Plan is not an overture to healing the reality of suffering and outrage inside Kashmir. Rethinking militarization and military governance is not the priority. The ambition is to manage Kashmiris and to keep the disarray concealed from the international gaze.

New Delhi announced its 8-point Plan on September 25, 2010, following the visit to India-ruled Kashmir of a 39-member All Party Delegation from New Delhi led by Union Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, and parallel to the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York City. That Defence Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony did not accompany the All Party Delegation was indicative of New Delhis mood.

On the part of New Delhi, the will to mend the rupture between India and Kashmir will require a non-deceptive gaze into power and history. India evidences how powerful states are unable and unwilling to act with humility. There is no admission of culpability on the part of the Indian state — no acknowledgement of the violence of militarization, authoritarian government, and crimes against humanity perpetrated on Kashmir since the 1990s.

On the part of New Delhi, there is no cognition of the actual grievances voiced by the people of Kashmir. There is no recognition of the shifts in the peoples struggle for self-determination within Kashmir, or of how the shift from violence to nonviolence within the Kashmir resistance movement offers a rich space for critical engagement and principled dialogue toward resolution.

The 8-Point Plan

The provisions of the 8-point Plan stated that interlocutors from India would be appointed to dialogue with civil society and political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, even as the terms for dialogue were not defined. The Plan committed to releasing youth who were detained and arrested on charges of stone pelting this summer. This is imperative and urgent. The number of such youth was listed at 245, while various human rights defenders and journalists in Kashmir state the figure to be higher.

The Plan made no commitment to review the conditions in which the youth were detained or arrested, to freeing political prisoners, or to endorsing the right to civil disobedience. The Plan made no mention of holding the perpetrators accountable. Neither did New Delhi intend to negate the Government of Indias tactic of violence used to govern and domesticate Kashmiris.

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