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Association of Retired Senior IPS Officers (ARSIPSO)

This is with reference to my letter No. ARSIPSO/GS-BSD-4/2023 dated. 10/08/2023 on the 4th B.S. Das Memorial Lecture, which had to be rescheduled for unavoidable reasons.

The 4th B.S.Das Memorial Lecture to be delivered by Shri Anil Kumar Sinha, IAS (Retd.), on the subject Disaster Management: Creating Safer Communities, has now been rescheduled for October 14, 2023 as per the following:

Conference Room No. 2, India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi, October 14, 2023 (Saturday)

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  A Seminar on the current status of the Kashmir problem was organized by the ARSIPSO on April 02, 2011. It was presided over by Shri G.C. Saxena, President, ARSIPSO, and attended by a large number of the members and their spouses. The speakers included Shri Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of J&K; Lt. Gen. V.G. Patankar, former General Officer Commanding, 15th Core in J&K; Prof. Dr. Radha Kumar, one of the Interlocutors for Kashmir and Dr. C. Raja Mohan - Strategic Affairs Editor of the Indian Express. Initiating the proceedings, Shri G.C. Saxena introduced the eminent speakers and expressed the hope that the Seminar would throw up some concrete views and suggestions as to how to solve the Kashmir problem and formulate a realistic and practical way forward.

All the speakers made very insightful and thought-provoking points on the entire gamut of the problems regarding Kashmir and also touched upon the international dimensions, particularly in connection with the issues with our neighbours, Pakistan and China. The important points made by the speakers are summarized below: -

  • All the events that have been taking place in Jammu & Kashmir since 2008 have a direct link to the allotment of land for the Amarnath shrine in that year. In spite of the fact that the land allocation was ultimately cancelled, followed by an excellent Assembly election, the separatists took advantage of various incidents in the valley in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to spearhead a form of civil disobedience movement. In J&K it is the perception and the interpretation of events that seem to assume greater significance and the people believe what they want to believe. Thus one event led to another and snow-balled into a huge agitation in the Valley. Fortunately, this year there have been no significant events in the Valley and calm has prevailed.

  • Another point of irritation with the people was the continuation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act all over the State. The security issues and the political issues are intrinsically intertwined and, as such, there is a continuing political debate in this regard. It is also linked with the question of the withdrawal of the Army and its replacement by other forces like the CRPF.

  • The State of J&K has a special relationship with India because in 1947 although the State acceded to the Union of India, it did not merge. This special status is enshrined in Article 370. This provision, it was held by the speakers, would, in no way, weaken Indias relationship with Kashmir. If this was removed then the Constituent Assembly which had ratified the accession of J&K to India would come into question. Therefore, the demand for the revocation of this Article would actually cause more harm to the constitutional relationship between the State of J&K and the rest of the country. It was also stressed by the speakers that this special relationship would remain totally within the four walls of the Indian Constitution and not outside of it.

  • An observation was made by one participant during the Seminar was that there was currently no talk of the feeling of alienation by the people. It was asserted that the agitations last year were not politically motivated but were more a manifestation of the frustration of the youth and that this was the basic issue that occupied the peoples mind at present, and not any political unrest.

  • The successful holding of Panchayat elections was important and the Panchayats should be empowered which would be a huge step forward in improving governance.

  • It was also maintained by some speakers that as of now terrorism did not seem to be a resident problem but a transient one and that the terrorists did not seem to have the kind of stronghold which they had earlier and they were operating more in the remote areas like those in Doda. The security forces too were taking action based on hard intelligence and were coordinating well with each other.

  • The view was expressed that in order to effect any changes, the people in general have to perceive that things were changing, the youngsters today want to do something positive and have a great deal of hope and expectation.

  • It was mentioned that in order that the political process should succeed, it was important that all concerned should be included in the dialogue process and that this included the Hurriyat also.

  • The speakers generally held that certain steps were required to be taken to take the Indo-Pak dialogue process further. It was suggested that in order to achieve this objective, there should be no change in the territorial disposition but a soft border, autonomy on both sides and the creation of a trans-border mechanism that would bring the people of Kashmir together and finally a sequential approach to the reduction of violence and troops strength. In his summing up, Shri G.C. Saxena observed that most of the militants and the restless youth were no longer hopeful of severing the tie of the State with India and that secession was not an option. He advocated that the sentiments and aspirations of the people of all the three regions of the State need to be addressed while discussing the issues of greater autonomy. He wanted that the State should keep the ground realities of the situation in mind while considering the various issues relating to the question of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

The views and facts stated above are entirely the responsibility of the author and do not reflect the views of this Association in any manner.
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