What next after PM’s call to Kashmiri youth to foster bond of trust

PM’s appeal was very significant because of the current situation in the valley and its demographic composition

Arun Joshi

A question has cropped up, what now after Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly addressed the youth of Kashmir and assured them that they will not have to undergo the miseries experienced by their parents and grandparents. Actually, the contours of the question are, how will PM follow up on his promise to the youth in the Valley where shades of armed militancy continue to appear every now and then in. the form of the gunbattles between militants and security forces.

PM had made this call on Sunday while addressing all panchayats across the country from Palli village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba district. It was his first visit to J&K after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

The PM’s appeal was very significant because of the current situation in the valley and its demographic composition, and also why did he refer to the parents and grandparents of the youth. First thing first, the situation if looked at in realistic terms tells that the people driven by their economic needs and prospects of earning after years of shutdowns and other disruptions in life are happy that there is an uptick in economic activity. The tourism sector is in a boom, and as per the estimate of the Union Territory administration, articulated by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, more than eight million tourists have visited the Valley in the past few months, superseding all previous records. This sector alone touches the lives of seve4ral  thousand people across the Valley. Tourist footfalls, even if it is stated or not voiced, depict a sense of normalcy. There had been a longing for normalcy over the past three decades.

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Having given this spring board to the youth, who constitute nearly 42 percent of 70 lakh population of the Valley, PM must have had some plan in his mind that he might be thinking as a follow up to his words directed at the  Kashmiri youth urging them to “ trust my words” that “ I will ensure that you don’t have to undergo the difficulties and traumatic experiences that your parents and grandparents had to face,” These words were deep in meaning and these also held out a promise, as he declared “ I will make this happen for you ( youth of Kashmir), and therefore the subsequent action to becomes necessary. The words of PM, that too, in  J&K,  always need to be respected and honoured.

PM has to initiate the consequential actions to give real meaning to his words and translate the same into the real trust-building exercise between Kashmir and Delhi. This calls for a dialogue with the youth, and that is not an easy thing to do because so far the Government of  India has not undertaken any serious initiative in fostering dialogue with the stakeholders in Kashmir.

It can be construed, though it is in the realm of unpredictability that PM may engage the youth in a dialogue on his own. There is a clue to all this in Home Minister Amit Shah’s speech in September-October in Srinagar wherein he rejected the suggestions to hold dialogue with Pakistan and instead insisted that he would hold talks with the youth of Kashmir. PM has given substance to the whole concept by making a direct appeal to the youth, who are faced with the acute problem of unemployment and for them, employment means government jobs only.

There is a need to unveil India as a country of their own in which they can progress and prosper, for this PM alone can take the initiative which will take his promise to the logical conclusion.

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