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Kashmir: Sadhbhavna At Stake

By Saqib Hassan

11 February, 2015
Countercurrents.org

Our childhood days has been acquainted with few common words like crackdown (cordoning of area), firing, talashi (search operation), etc. as compared to our neighbouring state children’s. Everyone knows these words are associated with security forces, though major brunt is on Army (common name given by people to security forces) bearing whole burden and challenging its credibility as an organisation. Though security forces include various agencies like Army, state police, CRPF, BSF and others but oppressed hardly like to distinguish oppressor.

Kashmir has remained a peace fragile state and will remain till a solution acceptable to all is found. Its inhabitants has always received brunt in terms of pain, agony and psychological trauma either at the hands of own people or outside ones. Now the question arises has security forces particularly Army lived upto the image of Good-Will ambassador or only proved a repressive tool of the state? Has Army ever tried to evaluate its social intervention like Sadhbhavna (Good-Will)? Has it ever tried to study the local perception about its good will programmes (be it army schools, national tours, etc.). Though I am doubtful and unsure. It has also remained a question for armed forces does ever they treated turmoil region people as their own public or only have seen them as an enemy dealing with iron fist?

Kashmiris, since 1989 (starting year of armed conflict), have been alienated from every walk of life and also been denied freedom of expression and right to life (communication ban, curfews, fake encounters, etc.), mismanagement of protests (as compared to other states).

As said above the army launched welfare programmes like Army Good-Will Schools, free medical camps, national tours, help in crisis situations, etc. for total empowerment of people under an umbrella known as Operation Sadhbhavna. The education provided in these schools is undoubtedly quality education, unbiased selection of students, locally employed teachers, proper infrastructure and according to the local sensitivities. The educational tours are organised to show rich cultural diversity and varied traditions of other states to make them responsible “citizens of tomorrow” and channelize their aspirations to achieve higher goals in life and especially get them in mainstream. The less exposed people are taken on all India tours (Watan Ki Saer) to show them Incredible India (gloomy picture). To boost and revive sports activities in the state, stadiums have been constructed (as in budgam, kulgam, etc.). Medical camps are regularly organised in remote villages to cater their medical needs. Various infrastructural projects like construction of roads, bridges, bus stop shelters, etc. are taken periodically. These projects helped to provide better connectivity and enhance farmer to market connectivity. These activities have cost crores to Army but still question remains why it has remained unsuccessful initiative? If people get benefitted then why not to acknowledge it? Why these welfare programmes have not changed people mindset? It is essential to measure its impact and perspective of people about all its people centred programmes. Or it can also be said these programmes cannot be effective because of past scars like Kunan-Poshpora incident, enforced disappearances, etc.. It also remained a fact that the state, they display in ground, is seen as state terror, oppressive, anti-people and anti-Kashmir. They need to understand a single mistake by them takes the valley back to a decade and takes their efforts to ground zero.

21st century is an era of human rights, digital revolution and information sharing. In this era if they have to make a place as a respectable organisation within Kashmiri society, they need to impart behavioural training to their men, follow Retd. General Hasnain’s doctrine “Heart as Weapon”, understand local culture and sensitivities, accepting past mistakes sincerely and most importantly keep Human Right violations in check. If they have to transform society then they need internal transformation also.

Lastly the question remains, does these programmes exist because of Government apathy or really to win the mind and hearts of people or merely a tool to keep the past behind the veil?

(Saqib Hassan is a student of public administration and can be mailed at shiekhsaqibhassan@gmail.com)





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