Does the March 13 attack on CRPF mean that militancy is again on an upswing in Kashmir? CNN-IBN's Srinagar Bureau Chief Mufti Islah joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.
Q. Is there still considerable support for militants among the locals? Asked by: Ibrahim, Lucknow
A. It is not an overwhelming support per se but some pockets like Sopore, Baramulla, Pattan, Shopian and several other places there is. That said, people this time are pining for a transition from gun to peace protests. In my opinion that will take some more time to discipline crowds who often or not resort to voilence, stone-pelting and arson.
Q. Has there been a process of Islamisation of the Valley's youth over the last decade or so? I mean a political issue has become a religious issue. Asked by: Rajiv Sharma
A. Yes and no. There has been radicalistion at some level but it is not a general phenomenon. Kashmir's core and DNA is the sufi strain of Islam. I would tell you confidently that 80 per cent of people follow the traditional old school of sufism still. There have been pushes and nudges here and there but sufism is holding.
Q. Even with AFSPA terrorists are able to strike..so what is the use of it..Is it that without it situation will be much worse. Asked by: Rohit
A. To me AFSPA is not that important for the forces who operate in Kashmir. I mean no one is going to protest and label a soldier for having crossed HR if he say shoots a militant, a fidayeen. But the act becomes controversial when there is a rights violation. if the army, police or paramilitary forces will punish _ i am sure they do if there is an infringement - a person for an aberration and then make it public, they won't be charged of doing a cover up for a one or odd erring member who could be charged of an rights infringement.
Q. What percentage of Kashmiri people see India favourably? I know there can't be exact figures. But what do you think, going by your experience? Asked by: EM Joseph
A. Can't really say about the percentage. Look there are three regions in Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu, where the majority population is Hindu and which pines for India, ladakh where you have a mix of Muslims and Buddhists and Kashmir a Muslim-majoirty area. The predominant sentiment in Kashmir is different than what is in Jammu.
Q. If there is support in small packets..then why AFSPA is imposed in whole state..won't it is possible to restrict this law to the area where there is support for militants..as the people of Kashmir are against AFSPA. Asked by: Raj
A. This is a question which has gone in many forums and taken up even by the three interlocutor team led by Dilip Padgoankar. Chief minister and most of the parties excluding BJP and pathers in the state want it to go atleast in areas of central Kashmir where levels of militancy have gone down. The working ground set up by Prime Minister too had advocated repeal of the army act in some areas but that has not happened. The state and people feel sad about this.
Q. What, In your opinion, can be the meeting point between Kashmiri aspirations and the rest of Indian public opinion? Remember that it will also set a precedent. Autonomy fine but how much or any more concrete suggestion? Asked by: Kamal Agg
A. Well there are a slew of proposals. NC's autonomy, PDP's self-rule, Musharraf's four-point formula and BJP's abrogation of the Art 370. My point is let there be a discussions- an honest one between India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir and not photo-ops
Q. Will truth and reconciliation will not work in kashmir..it had worked for south Africa..why not try it in kashmir.. Asked by: Ravi
A. If it is to work fine, some answers need to be provided by Pakistan too. For example, if Hurriyat and other separatist leaders claim hundreds of people have disappeared, they may well have to answer where are they like the Kashmiri state has to? CM Omar had promised TRC but has so far has failed to lay even a plint.
Q. Don't you think there is increased alienation amongst the youth of JK.Why did i sense that youth will go back to guns if the scenario doesnot improve.Whats your take. Asked by: Haseeb Mumbai
A. Alienation does not happen in one go. It is built over a long period. hangings like the one of Maqbool Butt in 1984 had repercussions five years later when youth took to gun after only five years. Ways and means to stop this alienation should be taken and taken asap. dialogue and irreversible dialogue is the key. A table can throw the best options which are bloodless and peaceful.
Q. Sentiments of Kashmiris are definitely against India..but what they prefer..they want to join Pak or want to be independent..even if they will be independent they will have a very bad neighbour like Pakistan.. Asked by: Tez
A. An overwhelming Kashmiri population are pining for aazadi or greater autonomy. They want to live with both India and Pakistan, maybe as a buffer state. Kashmiris want the two South Asian neighbours to live in peace. They want to act as a bridge to that peace. My sense is they love people from both countries but get iffy about their governments' obdurance to solve the issue.
Q. Well let's see... After the Russian forces withdrew from Afghan region, the jihadi forces (from Pak and other Islamic countries) fighting them were employed as militants in Kashmir, by our western neighbor... There was an upswing in militancy.... Now, the US troops are slowly making their way back home after decades of fighting the taliban and other jihadists... Situation seems strangely similar!.. So I am tempted to say YES!!... Wat's you view, Sir? Asked by: Kart
A. The exit policy of American in Afghanistan will certainly have an impact on Kashmir. That they are making peace with Taliban will free Pakistan from Her western borders. Pak army will get the leeway after that and might concentrate again on its boundary with India. That may have deleterous effect on Jammu and Kashmir.
Q. Assalamu Alaikum. Am from South India. I feel very sad whenever few kashmiris refer fellow countrymen like us "aap hindusthni log". Is there something we can do as a civil society to change this mind set rather waiting for the govt. to take initiative? Asked by: Zareef Ahmed
A. Civil society can play a big role. people to people, student to student exchanges can really help kashmiris and rest of the country to understand each other. That will certainly reduce the gap.
Q. Whatever is good for rest 27 states is not good enough for the valley which is less than 5 percent of India. Fair? Aren't they behaving like a spoilt child? Asked by: Kamal Agg
A. Kashmir is an issue. Kindly do remember what former Home minister Mr P Chidambaram said: It is a unique problem and needs a unique solution. This is the crux.
Q. To a vast majority of Indians Kashmir remains an enigma, am sure attempts are being made to bring back to normal course, problems of Kashmiris are not different from ordinary Indians...a state with immense potential for tourism has gone down the docks......march 13 attach seems to an aberration. Asked by: s eshwar
A. You are right. Enormous tourism potential but can there be a solution to the problem that makes all the stake-holders happy. Pretty tough. if the state is cured politically, everything will fall in place. CM Omar says this always. Kashmir does not require doles but a sincere uninterruptible dialogue.
Q. This kind of attack cannot happen with ignorance. Is the sentiment in Kashmir anti-India because of which those terrorists are taking advantage? Asked by: Sathyaki
A. As I have said, the mood in Kashmir today is different than it was 20 or 15 years back. Kashmiris want a transition from a violent to a non-voilent movement. A good majority abhors violence.