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This article stating that Ved Pratap Vaidik was participating in the TrackII dialogue representing RSS and Modi (Ved Pratap Vaidik met Hafiz Saeed in same trip, confirming my suspicions about his interview) was apparently originally published in Manorama but isn't accessible anymore. Only copy seems to be in Kashmir Watch, which some people couldn't access. Duplicating it here for the sake of record.

Money matters

By Kallol Bhattacherjee

Focus on trade likely to be the defining feature of Modi's foreign policy

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched down in Bhutan on June 15, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was hosting a special Indian guest and his companions in Islamabad, who had come for a Track II dialogue. While the Prime Minister's Office is tight-lipped about editor and columnist Ved Pratap Vaidik's visit to Islamabad, he is believed to have gone to Pakistan as the representative of the RSS, tasked with dispelling misunderstandings about the Sangh Parivar and its south Asian agenda.

Vaidik had travelled to Lahore on his own to meet Sharif in May last year after the Pakistani leader won the elections. In return, Sharif, reportedly, rewarded him with rare access and contacts, which he used extensively during a trip to Pakistan early this year to convince its leaders that Pakistan can do business with India under Modi.

Najam Rafique of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, which is hosting the Track II dialogue, told THE WEEK that Vaidik represented not just the RSS, but also Modi. “Vaidik is visiting us as an emissary of the Indian prime minister. On June 23, he is addressing an in-house meeting at ISSI. The agenda is how to revive the Pakistan-India dialogue process and what issues are to be taken up. The Indian side is resisting to discuss Kashmir,” he said. Sources in Islamabad said the Modi government's focus was on trade, especially getting the non-discriminatory trade agreement ratified by Pakistan. Rafique, however, said it might not be easy and would require some arm-twisting by India. “The Pakistani side is insisting that Kashmir should be on the table during the Track II dialogue. But, there is a widespread understanding that trade has to come first,” he said.

Given the sensitivities involved, not all details are on public domain, but Union Minister Arun Jaitley's comment about a possible dialogue with separatists in Kashmir has added to the sentiment that the Modi government will manage south Asia unconventionally, with a surprise cast of characters, if necessary. Darakhshan Andrabi, leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Socialist Democratic Party, who is lobbying Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for creating an alternative political platform in Kashmiri politics, said the Track II dialogue with Pakistan was aimed at attempting an enabling condition for going ahead with other aspects of life, like trade and development.

Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran said the Modi government's emphasis on trade with Pakistan, the rest of south Asia and the major world powers could well be the defining feature of Indian foreign policy under Modi. “Allowing Pakistani banks in India and the State Bank of India to operate in Pakistan and granting non-discriminatory market access to India by Pakistan will add to India's growth economy status. Much of our diplomatic stalling of the last five years happened because the world, after celebrating our economic growth for some time, suddenly started perceiving us as a low-potential economy hobbled by a weak political structure. India's diplomacy will change dramatically if Modi can create an impression by his initial deals in south Asia and Japan that India will prioritise trade over other differences, whether big or small,” he said.

These priorities will be reflected in External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's foreign trips as well. Swaraj, fresh from her tour to Bhutan, accompanying Modi, is expected to leave for a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 26, carrying forward the Look East dynamic of Modi's foreign policy. Already, the Bhutan visit of Modi is being interpreted as a message to China not to snatch away India's partners in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

Saran said the September session of the UN General Assembly, which Modi was likely to attend, would give his team another major opportunity in perfecting its trade diplomacy. In Washington, DC, the United States India Political Action Committee, the organisation that facilitated the pre-election US visit of Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, is doing unofficial groundwork for Modi's visit. “We are excited about the defence IT sector as a new area, as India plans new investment zones in defence production,” said Sanjay Puri of USINPAC.

An immediate challenge for Modi will be in breaking ice with Italy, which is taking advantage of the football season by selling T-shirts with the names of the Italian marines charged for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast. “The European Parliament will be headed by Italy from September and there is a possibility that tough Italy-India ties might hurt India-EU ties,” said a European ambassador.

The Modi-Swaraj-Doval team has begun with an intense plan of action. But, given the uncertainties in the world of diplomacy, it may also need some luck to succeed.

The gambit

Modi's tenure has begun with a bang:

* Neighbouring heads of state at the swearing-in ceremony
* First foreign visit to Bhutan, emphasising its significance
* Back-channel talks on with Pakistan
* Hosted Chinese foreign minister and Russian deputy PM
* Talks scheduled with Bangladesh PM
* Interactions being worked on with leaders of the US and Japan
* Renewed focus on trade diplomacy

-Source: The Week, India-
Print Version

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Disclaimer: I see Kashmir as a part of India as a geographic reality. If it becomes free, I will see it as free. I refuse to cater to bullshit that treats Kashmir as a separate country before it becomes one. This goes for separatists who don't like me calling Kashmiris Indian and this goes for nationalists who don't understand why I put a high priority on the rights of Kashmiris in Kashmir. For me Kashmir is India, rights of Kashmiris are rights of Indians, and that is that.

I believe Kashmir must have the right to determine its destiny - including making horrendous mistakes (which is how I see the separatist cause) if they are determined to do so.

As far as my opinion goes (not that anyone is asking) a free Kashmir is a myth and if Kashmir separates from India without war, it will either be a part of Pakistan or worse a puppet government of Pakistan (think Taliban conquest of Afghanistan), which will hardly be the nirvana separatists are peddling it to be. Kashmiris as puppets caught between the separatists and the state (and the separatists are winning). Taken to its logical conclusion, Kashmir will eventually likely be a part of China as their fee to Pakistan for safe passage through Balochistan on their way to the sea. That is the only way Kashmir can exit India through methods they are currently using.

India is paranoid and resistant to giving Kashmir any leeway for fear of losing it altogether, replacing a courageous political solution with the application of force to impose an indefinite limbo. This is not good for Kashmiris and it is not good for the Army either. You simply cannot turn a region into a massive prison and then also expect there will be no jail breaks. Nor can you expect an Army to live among people and have enemies among them. They are not police. Not in function, not in training and not locals themselves. Soldiers will break and kill innocents and brothers-in-arms and commit suicide. People will get cabin fever and make desperate attempts for freedom that have no sanity to them.

What Kashmiris need to realize is that India and Pakistan got their freedom not through struggle, but through the collapse of the British Empire. India may be on the way to collapse, looking at national data on many fronts, but that collapse is unlikely to be fast enough to force India to give up Kashmir in the near future. All the protesting is only going to keep the state tightening controls at every opportunity to make it harder to defy the state, increasing the claustrophobia.

The separatists want this prison so that their demand for separation is not forgotten. The Indian state wants this prison for control. The Army wants this prison to use the jail breaks to keep AFSPA alive (and get rewards for dead militants), since they too do not have the option of exiting. The only person who doesn't want Kashmir imprisoned is the Kashmiri who wants freedom.

Kashmiris are shown the carrot of a free Kashmir where no bad things will happen and the stick of human rights abuse and an emotional frenzy triggers a highly predictable cycle of protests, abuses and more imprisonment. I wouldn't be surprised if corrupt people in the Indian Army were paid by separatists to kill a few people to keep people protesting. Rewards for Army, rewards for separatists.

There are things India needs to do. The first being to stop coddling/fearing the Army as if they cannot or will not do their jobs without impunity for a few crimes on the side. More importantly, India needs to create opportunities for freedom for Kashmir. How can Kashmiris experience more of life doing what they want. There need to be protocols that recognize the unrealistic duration of time they have been living with heavy security and extra efforts to create protocols that don't confuse bullying with security.

Kashmiris need to realize that they are being used. There is no Nirvana. There is no freedom to be had like this, only a well designed prison. A peaceful Kashmir suits no one except them. Kashmiris need to engage more with their present than their past. However much they avenge the past, it cannot change. The need is to work on their present and ensure a better future, which conflict cannot provide. To refuse to risk life and limb and sanity in hate and conflict. Do all protests have to stop? No. But the protest must have a goal achievable by protest. If you must face a gun, then the need is to face it in order to secure something for yourself. Random anger spilling on the streets is a very high risk for no gain and plenty loss.

Should the dream of a free Kashmir be given up? I'd like to say yes, but Kashmiris are not asking me. In my view, if Kashmiris really want freedom, then the best way would be for separatists to enter politics and contest elections on the promise of a plebiscite. Even Indian freedom fighters participated in government in the British Raj, not just protested. Educated professionals, industry, prosperity, accountable leaders who believe in their freedom to take over. If "all" Kashmiris want freedom, it ought to be a breeze to get elected and then for the elected leaders to negotiate with India for a plebiscite, which kind of makes it difficult to say that the ones wanting to separate are a minority, which is how it appears at the moment.

If India refuses, such an elected leader could even appeal to the UN for intervention with very high credibility through the very nature of being elected. So far, even if the claims of Army forcing people to vote were true, there seems to be no indication that people wanted a pro-freedom government - even as a compromise. If separatists campaigned and won on the promise of a plebiscite, it would be clear and as good as a plebiscite on the need for a plebiscite, so to say. It would be something no one could dispute. This could help bring about a new plebiscite, even if Pakistan does not fulfill its original deal on PoK.

This will also force separatists to put their money where their mouth is instead conning Kashmiris for an unending propaganda war. It will prove the truth or lie of the claim that "All Kashmiris want freedom". It will also give the elected state government a lot of leverage during negotiations with the center on the AFSPA and many other things. A shift from arbitrary claims of support to democratic representation. Not to mention it would force India to address human rights issues on an urgent basis if they want the people to keep believing in them. More importantly, it will be an irreversible step toward solving the problem.

On the other hand, I think if it comes to a plebiscite, there should be an agreement before the plebiscite on whether it should be held for all of J&K state (which reduces the chances of separation) or for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh separately, with each choosing their destiny. Finally, the result of the plebiscite, if it happens or the failure to prove its need should be the end of the conflict.

All that said, freedom means the right to choose for yourself, even if the choice is a horrendous mistake. You simply cannot imprison people "for their good" and call it a good thing.

What about the Pandits?

What about them? They too should be a part of this to whatever extent they wish. It is not like the way we are proceeding is easy for them to return. No matter how unjust it is, it is impossible to move the clock back. It has to move forward. It is not even as if Kashmiri Musims are safe either. There will be a point, whether as part of India or free that they will have to decide if the risk of return is worth the reward of it. Kashmir is hardly likely to be completely safe in the near future.

Freedom, in my view is less about the name of the country you belong to, and more about if you can live freely. Content, happy people cannot be bothered to come out on the street and protest, whether in India or free. Indian government should stop this colonization method they use. Not just in Kashmir. People are dropping out of believing the state all over the country. Be it militant movements or Maoists or non-violent protests or anti-project movements or anti-rape protests or anti-corruption protests or whatever. The belief of Indians that the state can be trusted to rule them is at an all time low. India has to start listening to people and to serve them instead of control them, and Kashmir is as good a place to start as any.

I don't think Kashmiris can be free without letting go of hostility  however much injustice causes it. Even if India set them free right now, anarchists are not suddenly going to become creators. All it would be is a vacuum for the biggest gun to claim as their property and a new cycle of the same story.

Protests are an expression of anger. Freedom has to be a strategy.

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So a team came across the border and killed Indian soldiers. How many soldiers killed? Whether the killers were Pakistani Army or terrorists? Who said what and what to outrage about?

The usual flurry of activity continues unabated. As a citizen of India, my concern is less with all these things and more with the reality being presented.

A few months ago, the news on this front was a similar raid and beheaded Indian soldiers. Last week we were talking about Chinese incursions. Last month too. The Chinese are walking in, taking out a surveillance camera. Then they came in and warned us to vacate the Chumur area.

Each time, the dialogue is easy to derail in a country fixated with political blame games.

To me the situation is more worrying.

What the heck is the Indian Army doing?

With the amount of troops we have posted in Kashmir, how is it that these incursions happen, let alone manage to kill our soldiers? I am not very romantic about Armies. They are no more or less important than the many other ways Indians must participate in the country as a whole. The kind of romanticism and worse, coddling of the Army is driving me nuts.

The flat out question here is how are these intrusions happening and what actions were taken after the past intrusions. Whatever the answer is, WHY ARE THE MEASURES NOT WORKING?

We can outrage about Pakistan and China, but at the end of the day, we cannot ask them to defend our borders for us. We can blame terrorists, but we cannot rest with simply allocating blame, if the measures against them failed. And this is a huge failure if entire teams get ambushed, tents get pitched, camera gets removed, Chinese troops come with eviction orders. What the hell is the Army doing there that these things happen?

Worse, what is the media doing by treating the Army like some freaking victim of abuse by Pakistani regulars or irregulars? Pakistan is a hostile border. This is not news. So why is PAKISTAN expected to keep our soldiers safe, and why are our soldiers not able to manage their own security? Why are we talking about strong messages to either Pakistan or China as our sole responses to this crap? It would make sense if the intrusions were detected and prevented and we were talking about diplomatic relations. If the intrusions succeeded, is it not important to first ask how that happened? It is hardly an isolated incident.

This is incompetence, and the worse we shield the Army with our sympathy and anger at politicians on behalf of Army soldiers, the more we are ENABLING the lack of efficiency.

But who cares? The "ruling party" wants bilateral relations to showcase, the "opposition party" wants incompetence of the ruling party to showcase. Everybody and his cousin wants to appear to be "on the side of the Army" and "appreciating their sacrifices". No one wants to be the unpatriotic chap who will ever imply our Army isn't shining. Who cares if a few continue to die and provide headline fodder?

5

On the 24th of February this year in Pakistan, a Hindu girl Rinkle Kumari went missing from her home without clothes, money or even footwear. The next her family heard of her was when MNA Mian Abdul Haq called up her family to inform them that she was with him and she had converted to Islam and that her new name was Faryal and that she had married a Muslim boy called Naveed Shah.

She was produced in court, where she clearly spoke of kidnapping and intimidation and forceful conversion and marriage in the presence of the judge and her family. Ordinarily, this should have been a clear indication for her to be restored to her family and criminal proceedings to be started against her supposed husband who had kidnapped her, the MNA who was making a travesty of the law in the country he was sworn to serve and matters should have been about proving guilt.

However, Pakistan is no ordinary country. In an appropriately bizarre decision, the judge remanded her to police custody and set a new date for a hearing. In police custody, she was allegedly tortured and threatened. In the next hearing, her family and any Hindus were kept out of the courtroom. The police refused to file a case. To make a long story short, Rinkle Kumari is in her "married" home. Justice has been thoroughly subverted by the judge supposed to uphold it. Law has been abandoned by those supposed to protect it and the rights of citizens are devastated by an elected representative. The family has nowhere to turn to. This story is repeated in many ways with other Hindu girls, Christian girls.

Fairly normal for Pakistan from the sound of it, so I am not going to make any stupid arguments about what has already happened.

What I am interested in is the future. The past has already happened, but every moment is a choice in moving ahead. With this in mind, I want to say a few things.

The weakest sections of society are the alarms of a country. They are indicators that something is wrong. Their weakness makes them succumb first, but make no mistake, the rot is attacking the whole country. A chain breaks at its weakest link, then at the next weakest link, then the next weakest link, till the few strong links surviving are rendered meaningless because there is no chain anymore. Much as nationalists secretly believe, this breaking cannot be arrested after only the undesirable links are gone. To save the chain, breakage itself must be stopped.

To begin with, I want to address the issue of religion. This is clearly a situation of religious chauvinism. A few things to consider here are if they really believe in Allah, then who is anyone fooling here? A thought for the supposed Muslims supporting this travesty is the question of who is really guiding their actions in the name of religion? Can they put their hands on the Quran and say that Rinkle Kumari has been treated as a wife should be as per Islam? If she had converted to Islam willingly, why was she surrounded by gunmen instead of sitting peacefully next to her husband on her own?

It is a thought worth thinking about deeply, because ill treatment of women is a growing epidemic in their country (and yes, India too, if it makes anyone feel better - as though having company in a gutter makes you smell of roses). These are crimes of opportunism. A person without respect for women is soon going to run out of "ideal" victims, and spill over into society at large as they get bolder. It may today be Rinkle Kumari, but tomorrow it can be anyone, of any religion, because treating women like possessions is an attitude, not specific situation.

To Islamic leaders. It is easy to mobilize people in the name of religion. To sanction the "conquer" of "enemy" "women" like possessions. There were practices of killing women after losing wars with Mughals that were unprecedented on the Indian subcontinent for fear of the kind of treatment minorities in Pakistan are getting today. There is an ugly tendency to harm the women of perceived enemies that has not even spared other Muslim women when deemed as enemies, as the rapes immortalized in Bangladesh's birth. I don't think this is the kind of reputation Mohammed or Allah wanted you guys to earn. With time, every predator is prey, and such actions continuing unchecked seed the future.

The culture of xenophobia goes with devastating its own minorities. The worship of power for its own sake is destroying the weaker people regardless of religion. In both our countries, I must add.

Thought for the PPP and Pakistan's government. Your name and reputation is under considerable damage, and sooner or later you have to face citizens in elections. Something a friend once reassured me when I lost hope on justice for the weaker sections of society comes to mind. He had told me that the vast masses have no voice, no power, but the one thing they do have, their vote, they wield to devastating effect when it is time. It is worth thinking about what is being offered to the country if an elected representative of the people is himself destroying them.

But then, how does being elected help either, if the leaders are led by the nose by whoever makes the loudest noise? Where is the point where a leader leads action to create a change for the better? How many times has that point been passed till it has been rendered a joke?

There has always been rivalry between India and Pakistan. I think Pakistan needs to try to rival India's recent epidemic of politicians experiencing jail facilities. Nothing like a political party to throw out the rotten apples and hold head high again, and nothing more empowering to the people to know that powerful people harming them will be brought to justice. That their country cares.

And then there is the thought of the "Hindu factor" and India.

India is committed to being committed to being committed to talking. The dossier Raj is alive and well, and the tendency to not piss off Pakistan is getting dishonest. If there is to be a friendship between the two countries, then friends also speak up when things are going wrong. Otherwise, it is the same old goody goody half-trust facade that will suspend briefly after terror strikes. India's silence on the situation in Balochistan is deplorable, but considering the Kashmir skeleton in our closet, understandable. However, if we persist in calling Gilgit as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, then what explains our silence during the recent slaughter of Shias there? Or on the plight of Hindus, when our countries were separated on the basis of religion?

But beyond that, there needs to be serious and quick reform in our policies for asylum. Hindus from PoK who migrated back here are still in a citizenship no-man's land. Hindus from Balochistan who asked for asylum here are on tenterhooks. Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh are pickled into supposedly temporary camps in Andaman and Nicobar at government expense. Seemingly forever, I might add. We simply are clueless about what to do with people coming into the country.

On the other hand, illegal migrants from Bangladesh being cultivated by politicians as vote banks are thriving. Clearly, the message seems to be the usual one for our country - do something illegal and present us fait acompli and we will sanction it as a favor if you vote for us. Go by the book and rot in limbo or worse, get refused.

India has historically been a refuge for people far and wide. Educational refuge because of our ancient institutions, economic refuge for our natural resources and political refuge for an inclusive sanctuary to the persecuted. Be it the ancient Parsis or Jews or African tribes or something as recent as embracing the Tibetan refugees to the point they could secure a government in exile. Heck we even absorbed religion, practices and language from our conquerors. Our political paralysis is destroying our ability to assimilate people. In my eyes, this is a grave loss, because the legend of India is its ability to easily absorb influences and people and evolve - a living culture.

This current cluelessness needs to change. We should readily have offered to support those in trouble we have cultural links with, at least. Whether it is a policy of granting asylum to all, or at the very least those persecuted for reasons with origins in India - including religions like Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmadis, or even Christians from Pakistan with ancestors from a united India for example. If a person is unsafe for reasons that are tied to India culturally or historically, then India must find it in her heart to embrace them. To retain something precious of who we are.

A good time to start would be now, by offering asylum to Rinkle and other Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis in Pakistan. This is not only about sanctuary, but the pressure of losing minorities on record for reasons of human rights abuse. Whether the offer is taken up or not, the fact that it is made itself will add a layer of political protection.

With our ambitions of superpower come responsibilities of nurturing our people, inside India, or wherever in the world they are.

When I wrote my post on Kashmiri Pandits, a friend responded privately with a nugget of political insight – before the ethnic cleansing, Kashmiri Pandits did favor independence over merger with India. If that is true, then Pakistan did Kashmir a grave disservice by sponsoring the butchers who devastated them and turned them firmly pro-India.

That got me thinking about the the differences between Pakistan’s supposed support for Kashmir’s freedom, and its actual actions.

Please note, in the following observations, I have no particular opinion on what “should” happen with Kashmir, though I do see a disadvantage for India, the region and the world if Kashmir becomes independent and a target for Pakistan’s strategic depth. Not to mention, I am convinced Pakistan will not allow an independent Kashmir beyond getting it to separate from India.

Here is why.

1. When India and Pakistan got independent, Kashmir also became independent of sorts. It successfully negotiated its Stand Still agreement and while we can argue intent till the cows come home, the basic fact stands that the supposed “occupation” of Kashmir by India came after the occupation of Kashmir by Pakistan.

2. Regardless of whether the occupation was valid/popular or not or when it was signed, another fact that cannot be disputed is that it was a reaction to the Pakistani invasion/occupation and based on the understanding of a merger with India, unlike Pakistani occupation, which violated a Stand Still agreement they had made with Kashmir.

3. While there are no doubt many Kashmiris who fought for independence from India, militants from Punjab, Pakistan cannot be called Kashmiris.

4. Pakistan has initiated two “sly captures” of Kashmir territory since, which certainly cannot be called an indigenous Kashmiri independence struggle, since they escalated into wars between two armies.

5. Militants with pro-Pakistan agenda, comprised of Pakistanis (and other nationalities, trained in pakistan) have outnumbered and indeed hampered Kashmiri militants (who received far less assistance).

6. The ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits also came at a time when the voices in Kashmir demanding independence from both countries gathered momentum. If we add this insight that influential Kashmiri Pandits supported independence for their own reasons, it translates to not only an ethnic cleansing, but also a weakening of the political voice for independence (as opposed to merger with Pakistan – which the Kashmiri Pandits didn’t want).

7. Pro-independence separatists and moderates who have no specifci pro-Pakistan agenda have a disconcerting habit of turning up dead, being blamed on Indian Army and then being found out as work of militants or the unseen “hand”.

8. Rallies in Pakistan demanding conquering Kashmir from India via jihad have few Kashmiris – largely Punjabis.

9. Every conflict Pakistan has engaged in has been about land – specifically control over land and denying its citizens control over their land – be it the Balochs, be it the Bangladesh, be it the Taliban prop-up in Afghanistan (against both Soviets and later Afghans themselves) or be it Kashmir.

10. Pakistan’s idea of independence can be understood from Azad Kashmir, where freedom means political leaders must swear allegiance to Pakistan to have the rights to come to power.

11. Muslim Kashmiri who does not want to be identified points out that Kashmiri Muslims who are pro-India also get killed and many have migrated out of Kashmir too – which is even more ignored than Kashmiri Pandits.

12. He also points out that the area of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan has been heavily resettled by people loyal to Pakistan. Sunny Singh says something similar too – ‘azad’ Kashmir has been re-settled by Punjabi primarily ex-military personnel as part of a policy of demographic shift in contravention of a UN directive – while Pakistan publicizes demands for a plebiscite, it has itself violated conditions for it – conditions that were likely to lead to a “1947 like” result for independence.

Stray observations. I don’t believe for a minute that if Kashmir becomes independent, it will remain independent. It will either be attacked and absorbed into Pakistan, or it will become a puppet state like Afghanistan under Taliban – the dirty work and plausible deniability terrain.

Whether this means Kashmir should not be given independence? I don’t know. Having a potentially hostile neighbor cannot be reason enough to deny the right to self-determination. But this question gets muddied if we look at experiences of other territories of interest to Pakistan. Would it be human rights to leave them at the mercy of such? I don’t know that either.

I do know that there are atrocities happening in Kashmir, which are totally unacceptable as a long term state of existence (or short term for that matter) and they need to stop. My article on AFSPA talks about that.

I do think that unless there is a space for feeling safe created, Kashmiri responses are going to be ones of panicked escape. It could be from the frying pan into the fire, or it could be from hell to paradise. We don’t know. What I do know is that even if we were to give Kashmiris freedom (or not), the desperate, survivalist state of mind and the resultant domination of public space by reactiveness (pro or anti India/independence/Pakistan will be detrimental to everyone’s interest, in every condition. This protection of human rights is as necessary for us as a democratic country, as it is for a thoughtful, responsible solution for Kashmir to eventually emerge.