Politics beyond the noose
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It has also been exacerbated by the fact that the absence of any political leadership has made articulating the so-called political conscience of the nation difficult. It is now a free-for-all, where every politician speaks without any sense of responsibility. Words alone do not matter, but discourse from politicians that does not do justice to the moral complexity of the matter undermines trust.
The Indian state has, again unwittingly, exposed its deep fragility. It had to take precautions in Jammu and Kashmir against violence. But how long can the Indian state continue on the presumption of distrust against ordinary Kashmiris? In the guise of saving them, the Centre wastes no opportunity to underscore its essential suspicion of Kashmir: it isolates it, cuts it off from elementary connections of modern life like internet and cable television, puts virtually the whole state under curfew. This is not the sign of a state tough on the war on terror. It is the sign of a state too frightened of its own people, too easily ready to sequester them. Both the BJP and the Congress will serve India better if, the next time they want to appear tough on the war on terror, they measure themselves by their ability to bring Kashmir into the fold of normal life. We may have hanged Afzal Guru. But the process of restoring the larger credibility of the state has barely begun.
The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi
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