18 September, 2020

Will Polls Bring Peace?

It's Rao's final bid to turn a liability into an asset. But the Valley may spurn a 'solution' sneaked in via the backdoor.

Will Polls Bring Peace?

RESTORING democracy through elections may on paper look like the perfect balm for strife-torn Kashmir. But the ground situation suggests the Valley may not respond to the poll slated for May in the fashion New Delhi hopes it will. No politician of import in Srinagar believes the six Lok Sabha seats in the state (three of them in the Valley) will witness free and fair polling. With the counter-insurgency drive going out of hand, these fears are not unfounded. More crucially, coming close on the heels of the March 15 meeting in New Delhi between nine ex-militants and Union Home Minister S.B. Chavan, the propaganda machinery of those opposed to the polls is construing a sinister link between the North Block parleys and the announcement of elections. This, say observers, may well jeopardise the peace initiative.

In the context of the counterinsurgency move, the militant group which was in Delhi—the Forum For Peaceful Resolution (FFR)—is being viewed with suspicion. And even going by the figures quoted by P. S. Gill, IGP,...



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