New Delhi: Former Jammu and Kashmir interlocutor Wajahat Habibullah has called the Pulwama terror attack, which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF men last week, a “failure in policy”.
In a veiled reproval of the government, Habibullah, who has also been the chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities, added that such failure was ultimately a test of those who fashion the policy.
“The polarisation within the state between the two major communities will deepen, with the risk of descending into communal violence in Jammu that has been contained for now,” he told News18.
Commenting on reports that the Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber picked up the gun because of ill-treatment at the hands of the armed forces, Habibullah said this explanation was not new.
“Burhan Wani, otherwise a promising student, took to terrorism after his brother was killed in an encounter with the security forces. And the handling of the disturbances after the elimination of Burhan Wani without simultaneous outreach to the youth, for which the J&K government has blueprints, has only exacerbated the tension. A sharp escalation of recruitment in terrorist ranks despite increased elimination by 'Operation All Out' is borne out by statistics. Thus, for every terrorist eliminated, we have been creating more even from among the educated and well-off,” he added.
The former interlocutor also called the government’s attention towards the Army’s Operation Sadhbhavana, a programme for outreach which has worked successfully in Ladakh and the areas along the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu.
“Unless we move rapidly in that direction, I dread to anticipate the future for Kashmir and specifically its relationship with the rest of the country, which can only be even further embittered,” Habibullah said, adding that it was imperative to also move quickly to restore governance to an elected government “which it can then encourage to engage with disaffected youth, by promoting economic and social activity”.
“The infrastructure for this exists and needs to be activated. The state has its own bank, the J&K Bank, which can design projects to engage qualified young persons, of whom there are many, in investment thus generating employment,” he said.
He also called upon the government to address the issue of Pakistan at the earliest. “It will be strengthened in doing this if it can marshal the support of the Kashmiris in this,” he said.