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Failure of democratic ways to resolve Kashmir unrest root cause of JK terror attack: NAPM

Counterview Desk
The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), India's well-known civil rights network, even as condemning the "fatal attack" on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy at Pulwama, killing 44 jawans, has insisted that "military and militant violence must end and give way to democratic aspirations of people of Kashmir". 

Text of the statement signed, among others, by well-known civil rights leaders Medha Patkar, Dr Binayak Sen and Prafulla Samantara:Deeply pained at the loss of 44 human lives, NAPM condemns the militant car-bomb attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama, expresses its sincere condolences to each of the families of the CRPF personnel who were killed and hopes for early and complete recovery of those injured in the attack. We know that no amount of 'monetary compensation' can do justice for this loss of lives, which is also the result of the gross failure of the state and particularly the present government (which claims to be the custodian of the interests of jawans) to ensure a democratic resolution to the political problem in the region.
At this moment of national grief and mourning, NAPM expects that the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Defence Minister, Army Chief, all political parties, media and other sections of society would respond with maturity and sensitivity, refraining from any retributive statements or actions that would jeopardize peace and justice intiatives.
We warn the Government of India and 'powers-that-be', against using this tragic incident for their own ulterior political designs at the cost of justice and peace to the deceased jawans and people of Kashmir in particular and India at large.
While the admitted involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in the present and earlier attacks is a matter of public record and JeM must be held accountable for its violent actions, it must be recognized that this alone cannot solve the problems of civil unrest, violence by the State and militant response by certain other sections in Kashmir.
It must also be noted that the role of the state of Pakistan in planning and facilitating attacks of such scale and intensity cannot be ignored and this calls for more political, economic and diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to prevent such attacks.
The 'Kashmir' question is undeniably a socio-political problem caused and exacerbated by decades of insincere and ineffective policies and politics at the Centre and state, massive militarization and consistent neglect of the democratic aspirations of the common people of Kashmir.
Viewing the political struggle, civil unrest and militancy in Kashmir only as a 'law and order' and 'territorial' problem to be handled by security forces comprising the State Police, Central Armed Police Forces and the Indian Army, is at the root of the problem.
The problem has only grown over the decades, with increasing alienation of the people of Kashmir, especially disenchantment of the youth, and excesses by the security forces on the one side and at times like this, of the army or police personnel on the ground, who are also drawn largely from the 'ordinary working and farming classes' of this country and are used as canon fodder by the political leadership!
It is high time India and Pakistan acknowledge that deployment of armed forces over decades by both states, to the exclusion of democratic avenues and engagement with the people of Kashmir at the centre of the process, has done nothing to solve the core concerns of Kashmiris.
NAPM calls upon both the Governments of India and Pakistan to acknowledge the enormous human cost of ignoring a democratic approach and resolution to the Kashmir question and expects both nation states to engage the people of Kashmir in formulating and spelling out their medium-term and long-term policies for the region.
Both the states must initiate talks with the common people of Kashmir, including youth and women, people’s organizations including militant organizations as a beginning for public confidence-building measures.
People-to-people contact between India and Pakistan in the larger interest of peace in the sub-continent must be immediately and consistently encouraged. Alongside, diplomacy initiatives with other neighbours, towards improving the internal security situation in Kashmir must also be taken up. The recent UN Report on human rights violations in Kashmir also should be taken seriously and justice must be ensured.
NAPM urges all parties concerned to accept the polintlessness of the cycle of violence as a means of finding a solution and instead initiate and engage in open and meaningful dialogue involving the different stake holders in order to end State and non-state violence and move forward towards a democratic resolution of the Kashmir conflict.

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