THE 8-phase by-polls to fill up 12500 panchayat seats will be another exercise towards restoring normalcy in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The Government is moving step by step in restoring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir after it abrogated its special status and carved out two union territories. The visit of the second batch of foreign diplomats to the region is also part of the same exercise and shows to the world that India has nothing to hide. Though the Kashmir issue is an internal matter for India, these visits by the foreign envoys is to scotch misleading propaganda by Pakistan over alleged human rights violations after the abrogation of Article 370.
The 8-phase election has been carefully planned to ensure that there is adequate security force available in every phase of the election process and terror groups will have no scope to foment trouble during the period. The panchayat polls will be precursor to the larger political activity and Assembly elections. Barring a few top leaders like Farooqu Abdullah, Omar Obdullah and Mehbooba Mufti most of the political leaders have been freed from detention, thereby signalling the onset of political activities that had been suspended in the aftermath of the withdrawal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Following the abrogation of the special status the Government had to take adequate security measures to thwart any attempt by terror groups from within the State and from Pakistani hoards to cause trouble. Kashmir was going through extraordinary situation with Pakistan pushing groups of terrorists on a continuous basis and recruiting local youths to join militant ranks. As a result the State was in a perpetual state of crisis. The Centre could not have been a mere bystander to all these happenings when civilian life was going through traumatic days. It had no other go but to take harsh measures.
This may have drawn criticism initially as an undemocratic way but by and by even the critics have begun to realise the need for such harsh steps to restore normalcy and also to expose Pakistan’s diabolical designs to keep Kashmir burning all the time and accuse India of human rights violations. Even while engaging Indian security forces in the proxy war Pakistan was using all dirty tricks to win support of international community for its stand on Kashmir. Unfortunately for Pakistan there were no buyers for its nonsensical gimmicks. Neither UN Security Council nor the UN General Assembly was willing to support Pakistan. Its ‘all-weather’ friend China was the lone supporter in all these fora. Even China had to eat an humble pie as overwhelming number of member nations rejected its contention.
During this intense turmoil phase the security forces, though under tremendous pressure, played a stellar role in not only taking care of terror onslaughts but also ensure that on the civilian side they acted as good samaritans. It was their concerted efforts to prevail upon mothers and family members of young recruits to prevent and recall their young children from the terror groups. As a consequence not a single bullet was required to be fired during the critical phase of lockdown and the incidence of stonepelting had also been drastically reduced. Simultaneously the security forces have also been successful in neutralising many a terror attack. That shows their exemplary preparedness and intelligence gathering.
It is because of their stupendous work in the past few months that the Government feels confident of resuming political process and forthcoming panchayat polls will bear testimony to that confidence. The Government’s confidence is also reflected in its decision to allow foreign envoys’ visits to Kashmir because it has abiding faith in democratic polity.