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From Kashmir to Cauvery - India’s internal pain

From Kashmir to Cauvery - India’s internal pain

Riots and clashes in the Kashmir valley over the issue of PoK and the ongoing brushes with the military personnel and the administration have shaken the bottom-most roots of peace and harmony. Politicizing such riots are more than the violence itself as it distorts the actual ingredient and motives of the involved factions. Students are pelting stones at the police forces for a particular price. Separatists are adding fuel to the riots by shouting anti-India slogans and pro-Islamic fundamentalist actions.

Back in the southern part of India, the month of September witnessed mob attacks and violent eruptions in parts of Karnataka and Tamilnadu over the issue of sharing the Cauvery river water between them. Tension began with the Supreme court order of releasing fifteen thousand cubic feet of water from Karnataka reservoirs for irrigation purposes in Tamilnadu. Farmers and vested political factions in Karnataka’s delta region indulged in strikes, riots and Hartals in protest against the decision of the state government to follow that S.C. order. As a reactive retaliation, attacks on Karnataka registered vehicles began in parts of Tamilnadu too.

What exactly is the reason for such mob violence and rioted incidents in a country of 1.2 billion people of various sects, castes and religion? What is the political structure that keeps them all together at some point while the same triggers animosity among them at other times? Do politicians form the basis of such riots or stay behind the issues that burn and really sore the internal peace and harmony? Even though these questions warrant a large book of complete analysis and examination, I would put some of my quicker thoughts on this internal matter in a small treatise like this.

It is the administrative laws that keep the pressure in cool among the stakeholders of India’s enormous wealth of resources are expediently shared and organized. The fluctuation and miscalculation of demands based on historical facts and also using the current status quo are found to be major factors in distorting peace and order, creating ups and downs in the peoples’ relations resulting into acts of violence rather than yielding actions of desired, favorable effects.

Kashmir issue was dated back to the days of India’s independence. In August 1947 itself, Pakistan government was charged for coercing Kashmir Pradesh to join with Pakistan. After independence of both India and Pakistan in August, On October 27, 1947, Kashmir acceded to the Indian Union despite all coercing efforts of Pakistan. During the prayer meetings of Gandhiji, when scriptures from the Holy Koran were sung there aroused a strong protest from the attendees. ‘cause they believed after separation of Hindu and Muslims as two nations, India need not have to read the Islam holy book. The princely territory of the North-West province was not in favor of India’s accession and began to support freebooters and separatists. The N.W. province remained neutral in their statehood as partly-official part of Indian government but taking unofficial orders from Pakistan. This historical abrasion grew worsen over many decades and forms the basis of all trouble in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

But, that is not the only reason behind current days’ riots or separatist forces. The rest of India has prospered and developed as a whole in industrial, technological terms. India’s global connections have become more fruitful. The people of Kashmir or separatists remain to be in the troubled state of mind witnessing all such developments. The changing political conditions are another factor that isolates Kashmir from rest of the states. With deepened historical wounds, Kashmir is struggling to fight for their real demands of livelihood, peace and harmony in a right approach. She misses to find the right leadership within herself and/or to follow the leadership of India in a suitable manner as well. The political factions and parties are speaking the age old stories that isolate Kashmir from India, and then divide Kashmir into parts. India has its own capacities and disabilities what the other nations have. But she is committed to peace and secularism, equality of religions and above all freedom. Kashmir and her people failed to come out of the historical jinx to collaborate with the rest of India.

The North-west province of Kashmir must go through a thorough mandate of what needs to be done based on what is needed for future. To free Kashmir, it must have to displace the armed forces of both India and Pakistan on her streets. To free Kashmir, it must have to shun violence and ban violent outfits. Kashmir would then become a holy land shedding its fragrance not only throughout India, but throughout the world.

The Cauvery river water dispute is also an historical issue as the sharing of water between the two states of Tamilnadu and Karnataka began during the 1950s when Tamilnadu requested water from Karnataka for the first time to overcome drought in its delta region. As the years go by, Tamilnadu witnessed drought conditions and water scarcity owing to industrial development and population explosion. Karnataka had also seen similar kind of growth and started building dams to store more water than it was done previously. Governments of two states began to debate and meet each others at all levels to come out a formula kind of an agreement to specify volume of water to be released from the dams of Karnataka to Tamilnadu based on criteria such as rainfall, storage capacity, irrigation needs and pottage requirements.

But, the formula never came as an accurate remedy for all seasons. The changing rainfall and drought conditions began to threat both the states. The reservoir at Mettur Dam in Tamilnadu that taps water released from Karnataka became a dam of importance for both Karnataka and farmers of Tamilnadu. Agriculture lands in Tamilnadu wait for water to get released from this dam every season during the month of June. The North-east monsoon during June-August plays a vital charger for this game of water storage and release in the dams of Karnataka and Tamilnadu as well.

When the governments meet and decide a fix for this problem, the issue grown into a perennial problem as it began to create a hapless feeling among the people of Karnataka who sensitized the issue. When the case of the river water sharing been brought to High courts of the respective states and the Supreme Court in New Delhi, both the governments started flexing up their muscles to get their rights in place. Tamilnadu claims that it has a right to use the Cauvery water as it flows across the state naturally before flowing into the Bay of Bengal. Karnataka claims that it has every right to store water for their use at present and maintain that it is their privilege to store water for their future uses also since the river is originated in Mount Coorg in their state. However, it is the Cauvery River Water sharing tribunal, the designated committee and the Supreme Court which issues order every year to Karnataka to release a specific quantity of water to Tamilnadu. The government of Karnataka has overridden this order many times and releases only lesser quantity of water which Tamilnadu has to manage with. The demand for the quantum of water by Tamilnadu and the release of water by Karnataka were never in sync and always in disparity. The courts, tribunals and even the Prime minister and the chief ministers of the states need to interfere in this matter to settle the dispute on the quantity and timing of the release of water. As a result, the bureaucratic system of river water sharing (RWS) has not been vindicated and it has become rather an issue of river water management (RWM) for both the states.

Riots and attacks surface whenever this sensitive issue takes an ugly turn. The Supreme Court order on 5th September forced the Karnataka government to release 15K cft of water to Tamilnadu. The people of Karnataka and some local parties came out to streets in protest against this order. Lorries and buses were gutted. Similar kind of rioting occurred in Tamilnadu too as retaliation. Transportation was cut between the states and official business was shut down.

The Cauvery supervising committee formed recently has failed to come out with an amicable solution for suggesting any useful and acceptable quota of water to Tamilnadu. Karnataka believes that the situation is grim and expects a near shortage of water for its needs.

Sensitive issues like Kashmir and Cauvery river water sharing must be dealt cautiously by a clear mandate from the people of the concerned regions even though the governments are trying to go with the historical flow of events and actions, and based on scientific or logical figures and conclusions. Setting aside all such factors, it must be the people who must answer to the critical questions upon which the decision about a concrete resolution must be passed. Violence, rioting and vandalism are not the answers we seek from people of the trouble states. We have far better questions about resolving a crisis for which we need better answers. Natural, climatic and demographic conditions partake a crucial role in both the issues of Kashmir and Cauvery river sharing. Excess of influx of military or separatist militants will harm the normalcy; Excess of rain in Karnataka will cause flooding in the capturing areas; Calculations and formulae will not work during adverse times.

Thus, these two issues draw to a clear-cut conclusion that lies in the hands of poor people who are being targeted whenever any altercation occurs. The top-level decisions remain merely to be temporary directions mostly taken after enough damage has been caused. The apprehension of ordinary people over the escalation of violence leave them in a precautionary state of mind which when disturbed by any superior authority, tend to erupt like a volcano. Stone throwing might be a violence of smaller magnitude, but the thoughts pouring inside as an outcome of such acts could be much larger than a terror in future. Vandalism and burning the neighboring states’ vehicles might just be seen as an act of wreckage, but the permanent sore and dissonance it causes in the mutual relationship between the states could be larger than separatism.

To evade any kind of such untoward possibilities, there needs a change of mind in the people of concerned territories. Humanitarian thought and action for the betterment of all must be a priority; neither narrow-mindedness nor external matters should dominate in their lives. Peaceful living shall be in the hands of people not with army personnel or militants ‘guarding’ every household.

For the issue of Kashmir, an amicable solution based on inclusive talks and needs of people, political factions, governmental terms of acceptance should be arrived at. Brining them all to the same table is a difficult action even though one could arrive at a theoretical process of resolving the issues. To ease out the process, the following must be done at first:
1. Short-list the stakeholders (discard mushrooming parties’ opinions and views)
2. Vacate the army installations and deployment of security personnel
3. Seek for a public mandate with the consent of short-listed stakeholders.
4. Establish a government of peace for peace. (peace is not an isolated issue, rather an integral part of everyone’s life)

For the issue of the Cauvery river water sharing between states,
1. Allocate separate quantum of water for agricultural purposes, drinking purposes and industrial purposes.
2. Release water to Tamilnadu based on these categorized needs every season
3. Store water in reservoirs based on the same categories in both Karnataka and Tamilnadu

Civil disobedience does not admit of any violence or countenancing of violence, directly or indirectly. A dissolute character is more dissolute in thought than in deed, and the same is true of violence. – Mahatma Gandhi

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