At long last the Government proved its high degree of resilience by imposing Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir after countless heightened acts of terrorism, radicalisation, destruction of schools, selective atrocious killings of good/patriotic Kashmiris, victimisation of army/security forces (SFs) etc, since over two years, not to mention many decades of mis-governance by successive governments.

Governor’s rule in J&K in fact poses even greater challenges if long overdue meaningful and constructive steps, which must be taken, are not taken and implemented relentlessly to the hilt. Because that is the only way to retrieve the seriously ‘infected’ part of the Kashmir Valley. While the decision to impose Governor’s rule is a result of political will, much higher degrees of it will be required to take more hard decisions and ensuring their implementation.

Undoubtedly, while the immediate priority is ensuring a smooth and secure Amarnath pilgrimage, given the terrorist threat and the weather, alongside, tourism will have to be covered similarly. The large community of minor traders for whom tourism provides sustenance have suffered greatly and BJP government must seriously consider some relief measures for them.

Education, which has since long been majorly targeted by Pakistan through the Valley-based separatists and which was dealt a body blow with the destruction of almost forty schools, will need an urgent and sustained boost. Ruining education in the Valley was also linked to the process of radicalisation. The aim of Pakistan’s military and mullahs is to destroy education on one hand and on the other to indoctrinate and incite people, particularly youth. While in earlier years radicalisation was carried out through separatist leaders and clerics in mosques and religious/political gatherings, info-technology and social media gave it a massive boost.

None of the elected governments in J&K prevented the spread of anti-India sentiment and activities. Pakistani flags, pro-Pakistani/anti India slogans were tolerated orignored. In fact, both the National Conference and People’s Democratic Party pandered to Pakistan, forgetting how the Valley had been exploited by it during the late1980s onward phase. Thanks to the Indian Army’s vigil on the Line of Control, terrorism was reduced to the extent that tourism began to flourish once again. This became too much for Pakistan’s directors of anti-India operations. New tactics like paid stone-pelting were developed to raise them to the level of hectoring the Army and SF during their operations. Thanks to the PDP, this modus was further allowed to be developed to start filing FIRs against Army and SF personnel.

After the abductions and brutal murders of Kashmiri Army personnel like Lt Umar Fayaz, many Kashmiri J&K police personnel and finally Rifleman Aurangzeb and Editor of Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, the BJP decided to pull out of the alliance and promulgate Governor’s rule. One of the reasons for all these murders and for many other problems in the Valley are that over the past decades and particularly in the last few years, truth/facts/history became major casualties. Kashmiris have not only been killed by Pakistani terrorists but also by Pak-supported Kashmiri terrorists and recently even radicalised youth.

Some of the greatest challenges during this eighth spell of Governor’s rule will be to ensure, in addition to steps earlier mentioned, and pronto, the following:

• Changing the narrative in the Valley. As tried out in recent months by Army/SFs, use social media to involve the parents/close relative/friends of radicalised youth/those being motivated to join Pakistani or Kashmiri terrorist groups to appeal to them to return. Make use of social media to revisit history. Make Kashmiris aware of what Pakistan is doing in Pak Occupied Kashmir, Balochistan etc.

• Disable the network organising anti-India/Army/SF operations/stone-pelting and revoke FIRs against Army/SF personnel.

• Education must be fully resumed and school-burners must be disabled.

• All government departments must function properly.

• Adopt Indian Army’s Sadbhavana (civic assistance programme) methods to win hearts and minds.

• No matter what all is done by Army/SF, till the separatists leaders and their minions are not literally separated from the Valley, terrorism will continue unabated. Put them in jails outside J&K.

For some very vital reasons, this time, Governor’s rule in J&K must succeed.

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Lt Col Anil Bhat

Col Anil Bhat (retd) is an independent defence and security analyst he is also an Editor at Word Sword Features

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