From Greater Kashmir, “Paradise is Burning”
“Sonia Gandhi has let it be known to the core group in her party that Rahul Gandhi’s support for Omar should not be taken as party or government policy. But the damage has been done, and it is clear to the young men on the streets who are being shot on a daily basis by the security forces that the silent and almost disinterested chief minister has the support of Delhi, and there is little by way of policy they can expect from the central government.
The absurd all party meeting was visualized as little more than a talkathon where everyone, most of them who have shown no interest in Kashmir at all, spoke at length with their views on the subject… There is no agreement on the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act so how can the UPA government do anything about it? There is no agreement on a good, sound political package so how can the Prime Minister move forward? These arguments were planted with full authority in the media that by and large echoed the sentiment. How can Delhi act when everyone is so divided, became the refrain with very few questioning the fact that the government itself lacked the political will to act. And that a decision should have been taken by the cabinet committee for security when it met, instead of opening it to all and sundry at this crucial stage.”
“The protests are continuing and young people are being gunned down by the security forces on a daily basis. The situation is explosive, to say the least, and the deaths are mounting. The anger is growing, and the desire to talk to representatives of the centre is just not visible. The youth of Kashmir is furious and it is not prepared today to listen to anyone who speaks other than what they want to hear. Even the separatists have had to mould their talk accordingly. The normally moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Omar Farooq is a case in point, and it is clear that the anger of the streets is impacting on the Kashmiri leaders. It is clear to all in the Valley that sage counsel backed with nothing is not going to work, and the young people are now not interested in dialogue unless it is backed by hard action.
And it is the hard action that both the state and central government is scared of. There is no unanimity on proposals for the release of all the young people arrested in recent months, rehabilitation and compensation of those injured and killed during the violence, the free and fair and transparent trial of officers and constables and jawans involved in fake encounters, withdrawal of AFSPA and the army from mainland Kashmir, governance with a sensitive and human hand all are all real possibles which the governments have turned into mountains of discord.”
“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after weeks and months of silence, seems to be in a bit of a rush to do something. The trigger is of course the visit of US President Barack Obama to India as Washington does not want itself coming under the pressure of the media at home on the situation in Kashmir. Well placed sources have said as much to the media, making it clear that it was not the plight of the people of Kashmir that was the motivating factor but the visit of President Obama.”