Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: The Kashmir problem needs a political solution, not a military one

A selection of readers’ opinions.

Valley crisis

I abhor acts of violence or hostility against Kashmiris (“Ensure that Kashmiris are safe in your states, Rajnath Singh tells CMs”). Then again, being as Indian citizens, they must have the same Constitutional rights as the rest of the population in the same country. So, abolish Article 370 and look at Jammu and Kashmir as one among the other Indian states. Then, people will see them as Indians and not as trouble makers. And ill-treatment of our jawans will not be tolerated. The so-called liberal media should teach people of the state to better behave nicely with our jawans, who put their lives on line to save them.

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Taking action

General (retd) Hooda said so much without clearly saying what should or can be done (“DS Hooda interview: ‘The image of youth tied to jeep doesn’t define the Army’s approach to Kashmir’”). Of what use is his expertise in Kashmir and ant-insurgency operations? What is the point of keeping military there in the line of danger at such an enormous cost to the country? Enough of the soft approach. It’s been over 70 years. Now it’s time for the hard approach. – Bala Reddy

***
Hooda is spot on as far as the role of Army is Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, barring two or three recent incidents that are unacceptable and condemnable. However, paramilitary forces and the local policy are not trained to handle such situations. I have seen them creating hostile situations and resorting to ruthless retaliation and destruction of property, beating children even old women when provoked by a small number of agitators who could have been controlled in other ways. – Raja

***

The solution to the Kashmir problem is not military but political. If we think the Army alone can solve the crisis, we are wrong. The Army can only help create an atmosphere in which the political process can begin.

Insurgency cannot be fought if you don’t have the support of the locals. If locals are against the Army, its an indication that we are losing the battle. We are right now in a situation where we are loosing the support of the locals, which is worrying.

The government needs to re-examine its Kashmir strategy. It should give directions to the Army to completely strop infiltration, bring the state police and CRPF under the direct command of the Army, and also undertake confidence building measures in the Kashmir valley. We need strong welfare scheme for residents and initiatives that will help engage the youth.

We should also stop back-channel discussions with separatists and look for ways to isolate them. No more special privileges for them. Stop discussing Kashmir with Pakistan. Once the situation slightly improves, move the controls from the Army to the state government . Also, Opposition parties need to be brought on board.

As far as the issue of the Kashmiri youth being used as a human shield is concerned, it should be read as something the local commander did to deal with the ground situation. Had he not done that, there would probably had been a blood bath. I am sure the Indian Army does not handle every situation like this. Having said that, the Army should try and avoid taking such measures as it creates a negative image, which can hurt its fight against insurgency. – D Ghosh

Triple talaq

Whatever be the real motives of BJP, if the author genuinely cares for gender equality, he should applaud the BJP’s push against triple talaq (“Love in the time of triple talaq: BJP’s new love for Muslim women is based on an unrealistic fantasy”). The author questions the BJP’s assertion that Muslim women voted for the party on this issue in the Uttar Pradesh on grounds that the party has not been able to back it up with data. By the same logic, the author too has not been able to debunk BJP’s claim. – Subhasis Ghosh

***

The media and the government have depicted triple talaq as though it were the most serious problem on earth. The reality, however, is different and something the common people do not understand. This article explores the many facts that need to be understood by the masses, irrespective of religion, in the interest of the nation. – Mohammad Suhail

Business school

Despite regular reports like this, schools continue to fleece us in all possible ways (“Act like educational institutes, not commercial establishments, CBSE tells schools”). I just spent about Rs 7,000 on books for my Class 7 child, apart from an annual fee of Rs 40,000 per student. Are schools held accountable for what they do with this amount? – Geeta Lama

Mythology debate

This article has no relevance to what Devdutt Pattanaik has said earlier on his TV shows (“Why is Shiva represented by a sexual symbol, asks a new book”). We watch his programmes without fail but are most disappointed by this article. Practical and logical writers like Ajit Vadakyil, among others, have referred to the Shiva statue to a meteorite stone, the fundamental source where life came to earth and the manifestations thereof.

After going through various sources of information, I have understood that ethical people across the world follow Vedic practices by default, simply because they are flawless and a careful alignment of logical solutions to live a sustainable and blissful life. If this context keeps changing with time, it will loose its relevance. – Sarvanan Sanjeev

Cow vigilantism

Sad to see even the police entertaining such people (“Watch: Self-styled cow vigilante Sadhvi Kamal praises Alwar murder-accused, promises quick release”). Where is our country headed? – Aji George Joseph

Bitter pill

Is the move to impose generic drug names going to be another demonetisation programme (“Indian government may ask doctors to prescribe medicines under generic names. Is it practical?”). After playing with people’s money, the government now wants to play with their health.

Instead of coming out with such foolish ideas without understanding their implications, the government should focus on making public hospitals more efficient. Make sure they’re stocked with all medicines. Improve the quality of medical colleges across the country. Increase the number of seats so that we can produce more doctors.
The pharma industry is already damaged by price control and such a move can wipe out the entire industry. – BN Swamy

***

This requires a rethink as such a move would have serious consequences on the work force. Secondly, a generic brand will have no accountability on adverse effects.

If pharmaceuticals lose interest in this business, what will happen to doctors? Why is the same yardstick not being used for IPL, which is purely a waste, and why are liquor and cigarettes not banned? The government ultimately plans to propagate Ayurveda.

Sweet memories

What a nice article (“A love for sweets and fascism: The history of Bombay’s iconic cake shop Monginis”). I spent many years as a student and then a young professional in Mumbai in the 1960s. Monginis was an Elite restaurant at the time and we went there for pastries, cold coffee and sandwiches. – SG Deolalikar

***

This is a well-researched and entertaining. It was like a delicious slice of cake. Thanks for the good times. –Jayraj

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