Friday, October 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



An agenda for the Centre and rulers in Srinagar

I have gone through the article "Old issues and new challenges" (Oct 18) by Hari Jaisingh. The common people of Jammu and Kashmir have boldly expressed their love for democracy. Now the ball is in the court of state and Central leaders. They will have to rise above political and partisan considerations and show firm determination to stem the tide of terrorism from the valley.

The events and incidents of the valley affect the entire nation. The common people are being gunned down and young Army men from our plains are laying down their precious lives for maintaining peace in Jammu and Kashmir. When the dead body of a jawan is brought into a village, the simple villagers experience the same pain and deep sorrow which the people of the valley undergo. The peasants are losing their dear sons and brothers and the politicians seem to be playing a safe game.

I agree with the writer's view that the economy of Jammu and Kashmir ought to be rejuvenated so that the youth get gainful employment. Poverty breeds many ills, terrorism is one of them. Only a multi-pronged strategy can work in the valley. Our enemies are doing everything to disturb the peace in the valley. The entire valley seems to be dotted with guns and grenades. In such a critical situation, we must maintain the maximum vigil on the borders.

R.B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad


Economic conditions: The author aptly enjoins on the Centre and the new regime in the valley to draw up a new agenda. It has to be realised by both since in the ultimate analysis terrorism thrives only on the failure of the people to improve their economic conditions and achieve their aspirations through democratic and political means. And if governments respond to the politics of the gun only through the police and para-military forces, they simply play into the hands of the terrorists.

If the Centre and the state government had spent less money on fighting the unending terrorist menace and more on development and improvement of the economic lot of the people, the situation would have been different today. That there is an urgent need for more investment in the state to overcome the age-old economic backwardness needs little description. The failure of qualified engineers, doctors and other university graduates to get jobs has contributed to their alienation from the rest of the country. They rightly or wrongly say: "t is the communal bias that limits our growth and development". It is, therefore, time for an honest appraisal of policies and attitudes by the Centre and the new state government if the "Paradise Lost" is to be brought back as "paradise regained".


Peace is the priority: Protective dialogue through a pro-active approach not only among the various sections of Kashmir but also separately with Pakistan without diluting the countries’ basic prestige is the need of the hour. The author appears quite optimistic about the maintenance of peace in Kashmir and subsequently throughout the world. It is the Gandhian method of passive resistance which has a greater chance of success when facing a powerful adversery like Musharraf. But in the present situation it has become a great "paradox" to fight Muslim terrorists across the border with the aid of Pakistan President because it means falling into the hands of a trickster whose very existence depends on the survival of these foreign Muslim militants.



Improve economy: A solid economy alone can bring about permanent peace in J&K. The elections have given a chance to the rulers of this troubled state to pull out the state from the quagmire of poverty it has slipped into over the years. More and more job avenues should be opened. This will arrest the dangerous trend of unemployment and force the youth of the state to shun the path of violence. Terrorism springs from unemployment.

Secondly, a clear and clean administration should be provided. Corruption and nepotism should be dealt with an iron hand. The regional aspirations of the people of J&K should be properly addressed. This will open an era of lasting peace in the valley.


New challenges: The Kashmiri Pandits are the worst sufferers. They had to abandon their hearth and homes to save their lives. They are leading a life of uncertainty in different parts of the country. The first and foremost task before the new government should be to bring them back to their state and restore them their homes and property, besides instilling in them their lost confidence.

The common man in the J&K streets cannot fight militancy empty-handed. Nor can we afford to train our people in terrorism to counter Pak-sponsored terrorism. Terrorism has no geographic limits or boundaries. The people trained in acts of spreading terror and violence are equally harmful for their own country sooner or later. By waging a proxy-war through terrorism in J&K, Pakistan is itself facing the consequences of the culture of terror within its own territory. For this, I do not agree with the author's view that “had the people raised alarm bells against the militants on a regular basis during the past 13 years, the Islamabad-supported terrorists and mercenaries would have had no alternative but to surrender or run away to Pakistan".

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Democracy wins

THE verdict of the J&K elections reflects the victory of democracy. Credit goes to the brave people who made the ballot win over the bullet. It is a verdict against the misgovernance and corrupt rule of the Abdullah family. Also, it is a defeat for the Musharraf government which had described these elections as a farce. Moreover, the voters discarded the BJP's Hindutva card as we see its total rout in Jammu which reflects disillusionment of the majority community with its double speak. Though the NC and the BJP suffered the greatest setback, it shows the people's unflinching faith in the unity, integrity of India and its democratic system.

K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar


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