|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Indian government must deepen democracy in J&K: Report
December 17, 2006 20:58 IST
Describing Tamil Nadu as an example of successful democratic integration, an UK-based Minority Rights Group International has criticised the Indian government for its 'failure' to replicate it in other conflict-prone states like Jammu and Kashmir.
'The Indian government did evolve institutional and ameliorative strategies to address the problems, but these were vitiated by the compulsions of competitive policies', the report by Maya Chadda stated.
'One broad conclusion is that while democracy can be a solution to ethnic conflicts, it can also be a source of problems. The answer to this paradox is to deepen democracy further. The process of deepening worked reasonably well in Tamil Nadu. Although, Tamil Nadu is by no means an ideal case of good governance, it is nevertheless a good case, within the Indian context, of conflict prevention via protection of minorities.
'This study thus demonstrates the need for an inclusive process of accommodation politics in line with commitments to protect minorities, including the weakest and most disadvantaged', it says.
The study examines India's policies and practice towards minorities, and the violence in Punjab, the Kashmir problem and the Naga issue.
The report said the 1990s saw some clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Tamil Nadu but these are rare.
'Tamil Nadu has done more than most states to integrate minorities into the normal processes of party politics. A vigorous voluntary sector combined with flexible leadership, generally non-interfering central government and broadly shared state benefits were the elements of successful Tamil integration', it reads.
Unlike in Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland, the central government delivered on what it promised: autonomy and the sharing of power and office based on a general policy of non-interference.
The state-level political parties, for their part, delivered participation, inclusion, distributive justice, minority protection and economic welfare, fulfilling the second condition for ethnic peace.
'Although Tamil Nadu has a long way to go in many aspects of good governance, such as transparency, it has an enviable record of anti-poverty programmes, literacy and rural uplift. Also, its political alliance system ensures representation for, and grants minorities access to, the state', says the report.
The report said 'clearly, the principles of ethnic accommodation which turned Tamil Nadu away from separatism did not obtain in Kashmir, instead, Kashmir turned to violence'.
Quoting several observers, it said violence led by JKLF all but ended in 1992 and in the next phase, it was dominated by the Hizbul Mujahadeen which reflected more radical views, although they too were rooted in the Valley.
From 1993 until 2003, the insurgency was driven first by Afghan and then Lashkar-e-Tayiba elements representing the uncompromising Islamic fundamentalist forces across the border in Pakistan.
During this phase, attacks on minorities - Hindus and Sikhs - increased.
Referring to Punjab, the report observed scrupulous observation of the provision of autonomy and rights, meaningful participation, inter-ethnic peace and justice brought an end to militancy in the state.