"The oppressive presence of armed security personnel has become less overwhelming. But the shadow of security forces still hangs heavy over the social, economic and political life of Kashmir. During a brief visit to Srinagar (capital city of Kashmir), I discovered widespread popular alienation from the Indian state. Sullen anger, discontent, hopelessness and despair lie beneath the superficial calm.”" (Praful Bidwai: The News, June 08, 2013)
Due to the media coverage on local and international level of misery faced by Kashmir, a sizeable percentage of population and intellectuals in India and Pakistan feel that Kashmir problem needs to be addressed as the present status-quo cannot be allowed to continue. The newly built-up opinion has forced the two governments to draw a roadmap that leads to a solution as per the wish of people of Kashmir. India and Pakistan having fought full-fledged wars and skirmishes on the borders a usual affair is worrisome and as of now it could anytime conflagrate into a devastating nuclear confrontation.
As reported by Guardian (June 05, 2013) that Indian police officer Shiv Kumar Sharma suspected of recruiting "rebels" then killing them as he convinced locals using coercion, harassment and intimidation to become counter-insurgents then turning them in or killing is just tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of similar cases in the past resulted in disappearances or were consumed in torture chambers. Kashmir at the hands of Indian army witnessed a trail of death, summary executions, police brutalities, rapes and systematic destruction of property.
A bold initiative is perhaps on the cards as India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh prepares to visit Kashmir on June 25, 2013 for a constructive discourse with separatist political leaders and different cross-section of civil society to find an amicable solution. It will be an opportunity to give a concrete shape to the efforts made through backdoor diplomacy between India and Pakistan. The sincerity of purpose and mounting pressure from peace-loving public on both governments, as believed, is perceived to orient concrete results. People in Kashmir feel slightly optimistic, as accompaniment with the Prime Minister of Congress Supremos mother and son are seen as a positive sign which judging the intent augurs well.
People of Kashmir, having reservations looking at the past experience, are eagerly awaiting sincere effort on the part of India to come forward with a solution to address internal and external dimensions of this long standing problem. People are of the opinion that the talk of confidence building measures between India and Pakistan are vital but cannot be extended for an indefinite period of time.
Many believe that Rahul Gandhi fishing in troubled waters of Kashmir is definitely not helping especially when he talks of Kashmir as an "internal issue". If Kashmir is an internal issue then people ask; what is Kashmir fighting for when it lost more than one hundred thousand men, women and children killed in cold blood? No rail-links, economic development, tourism can be a replacement for Kashmir’s cherished and promised goal of political independence and conducting local elections is a necessity to carry on living a civilized life but at the same time the exercise of political somersaults to continue occupation are deemed as counterproductive taking the issue back to square one.
India cannot write-off Pakistan just because it is faced with political turmoil and mayhem which in the history of nations cannot be termed as a monopoly. Pakistan is a party to the problem and without its participation peace in Kashmir will be a distant dream and will not serve any good purpose. The new government of Nawaz Sharief in Pakistan is committed to build confidence measure to improve relations with India and iterates the resolve to settle Kashmir issue according to the aspirations of the people living there. Kashmir State a geographical combination includes provinces Jammu, Ladakh and Azad Kashmir under Pakistan’s occupation.
A serious honest endeavour on the part of India and Pakistan is imperative to give people of Kashmir respite as the suffering has crossed all the limits of forbearance. The political observers across the borders of India and Pakistan feel that a new attempt of dividing Kashmir on regional lines to complicate the issue is forthcoming and portrayed by Indian media circles as a solution to satisfy all areas of Kashmir State that existed on or before October 26, 1947. To put more weight on the plan to divide Kashmir, Indian Cricket League is dragged in to give an impression that people of India are principally agreed on division of the State of Kashmir showing a concern for omitting Kashmir from Indian geographical map. People of Kashmir take this as a dangerous conspiracy fraught with peril and serious consequences and is considered unacceptable.
Now that the NATO forces are set to exit from Afghanistan, the emerging scenario provides an opportunity for the regional powers especially India, Pakistan and China to take the charge and create conducive atmosphere for collective efforts to put the region as a whole on the path of economic and technological development and indispensable peaceful co-existence.
Kashmir has umpteen times proved to the world that it believes in following peaceful means to attain political independence from occupation and subjugation. Over one million strong Indian army confines the entire population behind their closed doors and a few economic measures here and there thought by the occupiers to be sufficient to calm the situation down to tell international community that everything in Kashmir is hunky dory. In today’s world such stratagem has become outdated as the flow of information at the press of button keeps people internationally apprised about the ground reality and actuality of political phenomenon.
American film maker and an activist Michael Moore says: "Sometimes people just go crazy from too much abuse and violence and take drastic, irrational measures to protect themselves. All human beings deserve the right to self-determination, the right to the ballot, the right to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Individual terrorism is bad enough, but state-sponsored terrorism is truly evil."