To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

#GivingTuesday                               Observercast

Prioritizing Political Power Over Peace

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BY NYLA ALI KHAN

Today, Indian Prime Minister Modi’s government charged Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti under the draconian Public Safety Act [PSA]. Both Omar and Mehbooba, former heads of government, have been in detention since Aug. 5, 2019.

And now their detentions have been extended by another three months, without formal charges.

In the current situation, the local community in Jammu and Kashmir is unable to exercise any clout and is unable to think constructively about structural change.

With the stifling of civil liberties in Jammu and Kashmir, politics is now an abstract notion for the young people in the state, and not a concrete method to bring about long-term reforms.

The translation of a political vision into reality requires diligence and hard work at the grass-roots level, which would produce dynamic indigenous politics. That cannot be achieved through the politics of vendetta.

You cannot achieve peace if your objective is not to make political accommodations.

The federal government of India cannot remain unmindful of the fact that the attitude of inflexibility and intransigence exacerbates conflict in the region.

The powers-that-be do not, then, give first priority to peace but to hold on to what they have got in their possession by any means.

It is because of this that it is incumbent on well-meaning and rational analysts and policy makers in India to clearly fix their objective before they deliberate upon the lack of civil liberties and local politics in Jammu and Kashmir.

In Kashmir, rights relating to life, liberty, and freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India, embodied in the fundamental covenants and enforceable by courts of law, must be protected.

Nyla Ali Khan is the author of Fiction of Nationality in an Era of TransnationalismIslam, Women, and Violence in KashmirThe Life of a Kashmiri Woman, and the editor of The Parchment of Kashmir. She also has served as a guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press [New York], helping to identify, commission, and review articles. Nyla Khan is a Commissioner of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.