So if Army gives in to political pressure, the much debated (and rightly criticized) Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) may be lifted from some areas of Kashmir 'where militancy has gone down'. I don't want to go in a debate about AFSPA. On one hand Army claims that it needs such a law to fight militancy and on the other there have been very serious charges of rape and killings against not only Army but some of the para-military forces as well.
I think I can predict how it will pan out. PM and Congress will say
it is sensitive to the people of Kashmir and this is a step in right direction. BJP will criticize Government and say it is appeasing
separatists. Omar Abdullah will thank PM and say 'let us give peace a chance'. PDP will criticize Govt. and say this is a half step and it is not acceptable to people of Kashmir till other demands are met. (I think in PDP's opinion only thing acceptable to Kashmiris is making Mahbooba Mufti the CM). Separatists will say something or the other depending on which faction of Hurriyat they belong to!
But does any one care how will the citizens of India's North Eastern states react to this? For those who don't know, people
across the North Eastern states have been protesting against AFSPA since decades. Mostly the protests have been peaceful. Irom Sharmila who has been protesting since a decade has become a face of protest against this law and so are those Manipuri rape victim women who have protested nude outside Assam Rifles camp.
So shall we now go and tell Irom Sharmila that her 10 years long protest is useless because it was not accompanied by violent and continual stone pelting by her people? Shall we tell those women that their modesty is lesser than their Kashmiri counterparts (and I am not even talking of Shopian where people kept on insisting that two women whose bodies were found in a river, were raped by Army, despite repeated investigations which proved otherwise). Shall we tell the citizens that unless they pelt stones on security forces they won't even be considered seriously even for talks?
I am not against repeal of AFSPA from Kashmir. I am against unequal treatment which always favors Kashmiris.
How much ever they may be pelting stones on police, Kashmiri youth still flocks for Police jobs. They may rebuke PM grandly that they need independence and not education or jobs but how many of them leave an opportunity to get a Govt. job. They may question India's democracy but conveniently forget that their 'leaders' who live in posh colonies of Srinagar are given security by Indian Govt. only and that if they are able to voice their opinion freely it is because of India's democracy only. I am not saying that everything is hunky-dory with Kashmiris but I believe that they behave like the spoilt brat who gets bigger pie of everything as compared to his seedha-sadha sibling.
It's time Central Govt. considers North Eastern states as integral part of India and its people equal citizens of country, apart from when talking to China.