Kashmir Wants A Peaceful And Democratic Future 

Iqbal Ahmad
Iqbal Ahmad

The transformation from fear to celebrations

Personal Experience:

I vividly remember the day in 1989 when I was in 7th grade, ,Gh Hassan Mir, brother of an NC political activist, was the only voter who came out to cast his vote in favor of PL Handu, the winning candidate of the National Conference. He received only 36,055 votes out of 736,495 votes, a mere 5% turnout. Gh Hassan Mir was ostracized by the community, treated as an outcast, and labeled a traitor. This incident highlights the fear and intimidation that gripped Kashmir during that time.

The Roots of Turmoil:

The 1987 Assembly elections, widely believed to be rigged by the National Conference, had already sparked tensions in the region. The apparent manipulation of the electoral process led to widespread disillusionment among the people, creating a fertile ground for separatist sentiment to flourish. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a pro-independence group, emerged as a prominent force, advocating for Kashmir’s independence from India. In the decades thereafter, many Pakistan-based terrorist organizations have operated in Kashmir, keeping the region under a pall of terror.  

The Situation Today:

Fast-forward to the present, and Kashmir’s political landscape has undergone a remarkable transformation after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019. 

The region has witnessed a significant improvement in the security situation. Violence has declined dramatically, with militant attacks on Indian security forces and civilians becoming almost non-existent. Stone-pelting incidents, once a regular occurrence, have disappeared, and new recruitment in terror groups has been almost zero. 

Kashmiris Are Embracing Democratic Processes

The people of Kashmir are now more eager than ever to participate in the political process and seek positive change through peaceful means. The revocation of Article 370 has brought a sense of hope and optimism among the people, who are now looking forward to a brighter future. The improved security situation has also led to an increase in tourism and economic activity, further boosting the morale of the people. Overall, the situation in Kashmir has improved significantly, and the region is now on the path towards peace and prosperity.

As I witness the present situation, all regional parties who are contesting elections are openly organizing public rallies and road shows. A large number of NC/PDP/PC/Apni Party workers are openly carrying out road shows and nukkad meetings without any fear, which is a dramatic change. I, along with common voters, social media, and news portals, have witnessed this transformation from fear to celebrations. There was only Article 370 that was holding back the region. Though political leaders are still expecting peace on the ground, their speeches and statements are against the wind.

Strong Reasons for Hope

Kashmir’s journey over the last four decades has been marked by turbulence and violence, but the people’s desire for a peaceful and democratic future remains unwavering. The recent changes in the political landscape, marked by increased political activity and a more peaceful atmosphere, offer reasons for hope. The abrogation of Article 370 has been a positive step towards integrating Kashmir with the rest of India.

The politicians of Kashmir who played a role in the rigging of the 1987 elections and in the subsequent violence must be held accountable for their role. 

It is essential for all stakeholders to engage in inclusive and meaningful dialogue to address the region’s complex political dynamics and find a lasting solution to its troubles. Through peaceful and democratic process, Kashmir shall be able to find a lasting solution to its troubles.