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Posted at: Sep 13, 2017, 12:18 AM; last updated: Sep 13, 2017, 12:18 AM (IST)

All at sea

Rajnath in the Valley
All at sea
Everyone in the Modi government seems to have developed a knack for alliteration. No surprise, then, Rajnath Singh, too, could not allow himself to remain uncontaminated. During his latest visit to J&K — his fourth as Union Home Minister — he proposed a “5Cs” formula to make the Valley once again a paradise on earth. His five Cs — compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence-building and consistency — are rather mouthful, probably indicative of the grand confusion in New Delhi. Indeed the Home Minister’s visit had taken place in the context of PM Modi’s “gale lagao” (instead of goli and gali) jumla from the Red Fort. Still, there was a pleasing, over-all conciliatory tone to the Home Minister’s pronouncements during his stay.

The Home Minister’s visit also served the necessary purpose of stabilising the PDP-BJP coalition government, an arrangement that seemed to be tottering not long ago. It is possible to infer that the Modi government has, at last, understood the futility of undermining its senior political partner just as it seems to have realised the folly of finding a “military” solution to the “Kashmir problem”. It has taken the Modi political establishment more than three years to recognise that images of a “burning Kashmir” are received beyond the Valley and dampen the investors’ confidence; a turbulent Kashmir takes its own toll on the optics of the Indian “success story”. Hawks and hardliners have exhausted themselves, even if the security approach has managed to devitalise the separatist and militant camps.   

However, two “Cs” are missing from the Union Home Minister’s list-Constitution and conciliation. The Valley has been made to feel agitated by the BJP leaders and cadres over Article 35A and Article 370. The Union Home Minister too maintained a calculated ambiguity. All that he could allow himself to say was that the Centre would not go against the Kashmiris’ sentiments. That falls short as an assurance to the Kashmiri sensibilities as it falls short as a rebuff to the Jammu BJP crowd. And, it is the absence of any hint of conciliation with the Kashmiri pride and honour that makes Rajnath Singh’s visit a rather limited exercise.

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